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  • Writer's pictureStars and Spokes

Check out THE ROUTE! 5000 KM in 30 Days.

If you think planning your local Saturday cycle club ride is a faff, try plotting a 5000 KM route across a continent! Thankfully, there are a couple of recognised cross-country routes across the USA, I've selected one called the Southern Tier route - because it passes through all the southern states.

I thought it might be of interest to share it. Within this blog, I've included the route overview and then a more detailed look at each of the sections.

During the ride itself, I will be cycling with a GPS tracker attached, this will update my position every 15 mins - you can watch my progress on the landing page of the website, once I've started.

So here's the route in overview, I'll be tracking from west to east, Pacific to Atlantic.

The Southern Tier route: Doesn't look that far on a map, but it really is.....!

The plan is to cover 5000 KM in 30 days. Once my 3 rest days are taking into account, that equates to 185 KM each day.

Below, I've broken the route down into 7 sections, then done a slightly rubbish summary for each. Much of it doesn't even relate to cycling I'm afraid! Enjoy!

Section 1: California and Arizona, coast and desert.

Summary: Departing the beaches of San Diego, the surfers soon become a distant memory. The road climbs almost from the off, once that's finished it's then on into the remote deserts of California and Arizona. This section ends in the city of Phoenix, where hopefully they have air conditioning.

Section 1: San Diego Surfers are soon replaced with lots of desert, before Phoenix is reached

Section 2: Welcome to the Continental Divide. All uphill.

Summary: This section can be summarised by 'riding a heavy touring bike uphill for several days in a row, up big hills'. As an extra treat, this also coincides with the hottest temperatures of the ride, into the mid 30's (that's 90 degrees F for American viewers). The main pass over the Continental Divide will be topped in this section, at 9,000 ft it is three times the height of Ben Nevis.

Section 2: Hills, hills and more hills. On into New Mexico I go.

Section 3: Cycling across Texas, which is 3 times the size of the UK!!

Summary: Think cowboys, cattle and really long, straight roads. And Country & Western music. And guns. Looking at the elevation profile, this section is surprisingly rolling. Wind is going to be big factor for this exposed section, if it is a headwind I think I might cry...

Section 3: Texas is massive! This isn't even all of it.

Section 4: More of Texas, see previous summary about it being 3 times the size of the UK!

Summary: Texas just keeps on rollin'. By the end of this section, I arrive in the Deep South. Assuming that I haven't been shot.

Section 4: Texas. Told you, it's massive.

Section 5: Into the Deep South, Louisiana action.

Summary: The amount of hills decreases, the humidity increases. The alligator threat also increases significantly at this point. Music wise, less Country & Western, more Blues. Will probably be eating deep fried catfish on the daily by this point #AthleteDiet

Section 5: Into the swamplands of the Deep South

Section 6: Deep South (continued)

Summary: Tracking the Gulf of Mexico coastline through Mississippi and Alabama. The going will be properly flat by now, but the humidity will be 80-90%. Which is a shame, because I will only have 2 sets of cycling clothing with me for the entire trip. On the plus side, southern hospitality is supposed to be second to none - so I might even get my fried catfish for free!

Section 6: Tracking the Deep South coastline.

Section 7: Florida, the final state!

Summary: Heading inland for the final section, through Florida to reach the Atlantic. At which point I will likely launch my bike into the ocean, never to ride again! I'm giving this leg the catchy title of, 'final stretch section of glory and celebration'. Although, at 500+ KM, it's quite a long final stretch.

Section 7: The 'Final stretch section of glory and celebration'

And so that's it. Simple. Land in San Diego, point the bike east and pedal solidly for a month.

Why put myself through this madness? It's all in the name of charity, of course!

(PS: - to become a fundraising legend!). Thank you.

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