The Tour Logs provide specific details about each day's ride, which will hopefully be of use to others in route planning and actual cycling. As you might expect, some of the aspects given are rather subjective, and, as such, should not be relied upon totally. In addition, while I tried to be consistent in categorizing physical and climatic features, 40 months is a long time and I may not have labeled certain facets exactly the same way from the start to the end of the Tour. An appropriate amount of leeway should be given when using these data, therefore.
The various items are:
Start to Finish:
Flat < Light Rolling < Moderate Rolling < Heavy Rolling < Hilly < Mountainous
Flat: Very few locations on our planet are actually flat, but this is used when no noticeable hills are present (excluding an occasional rouge hill or a man-made version, such as a highway overpass.)
Light Rolling: A continuous series of inclines/declines each usually with a change in elevation of <100 meters. Slight increase in effort required on inclines. May include an overall gain/loss of elevation over distance.
Moderate Rolling: A continuous series of inclines/declines each usually with a change in elevation of <100 meters. Noticeable increase in effort required on inclines. May include an overall gain/loss of elevation over distance.
Heavy Rolling: A continuous series of inclines/declines each usually with a change in elevation of <100 meters. Significant increase in effort required on inclines. May include an overall gain/loss of elevation over distance.
Hilly: A continuous series of small climbs/descents, usually with a change in elevation between 100 and 300 meters. May, or may not, be separated by short, flat valleys. The most tiring type of terrain, in my opinion. May include an overall gain/loss of elevation over distance.
Mountainous: One or more climbs & descents with a change in elevation >300 meters. Rarely used, except in the earliest parts of the Tour, instead being replaced by actual heights of climbs and descents.
Combinations: In cases where two of these categories are combined, the one listed first is the more common or important. So in Light to Moderate Rolling sections, Light Rolling is predominant, while in Hilly to Heavy Rolling sections Hilly is more important. A combination section can refer to a terrain that is intermediate between two categories, or alternates between the two over short distances. Therefore, Light to Moderate Rolling may indicate an average terrain between light and moderate for a long section, or alternate short sections of light and moderate, each with light the more common type.
Actual climbs/descents: The elevation change of individual climbs are given, such as; 780-m climb, or 350-m descent. This is measured from the perceived base of the climb to the summit, and are generally fairly accurate, given the uncertainties of determining the actual base. Isolated climbs/descents between 100-300 meters are labled "small climbs/descents."
UPDATE: This is obviously a little confusing. To make things easier, I have now included the actual daily ride profiles in the Tour Log sections. (With a huge Hat Tip to RideWithGPS.com) To see the day's route profile, click the Profile icon:
The maximum elevation reached by cycling for each day. I used the altimeter function of my cyclocomputer to determine elevations, and therefore accuracy depended on weather changes, and my ability to find periodic locations with points to recalibrate. In mountainous areas, I was more diligent in keeping track of elevations, and so values in those areas are fairly dependable, while in areas such as continental plateaus, with high elevations, but little variation, there may be significant error. Areas where the elevation was <300 meters were not measured. The current selection of small bike-friendly GPS units were not yet available when I was planning the Tour, so I, unfortunately, wasn't able to use one.
Unless otherwise stated, all roads are solid-surfaced roads in reasonable condition.
The quality of gravel and dirt roads, of course, change frequently, for many reasons, and so what is reported on this site should only be used as a guide.
For gravel or dirt roads, the condition of the surface is estimated, from good to bad, as:
Excellent < Good < Fair < Poor < Very Poor/Terrible
Excellent: Smooth and hard, capable of fast travel. May in fact be better than some poor-quality surfaced roads
Good: Fairly smooth and hard, with occasional potholes, obstacles, loose gravel, sand, or muddy sections, which may usually be steered around. Speed of travel slightly reduced
Fair: Surface dominated by potholes, obstacles, loose gravel, sand, or muddy areas, which require a noticeable effort to avoid. Road often shows a long, narrow section with a surface similar to the good category which may be utilized for a considerable distance. Travel is slowed considerably.
Poor: Surface dominated by potholes, obstacles, loose gravel, sand, or muddy areas, which are usually impossible to avoid. A definite struggle to proceed. Travel slowed significantly.
Very Poor/Terrible: A surface not even deserving the designation "road." May require walking over/around long sections of the worst areas. Travel severely restricted. Often inspires more "colorful" descriptions
Combinations: Similar to the combinations described in the Terrain section, combined road surface categories can refer to a surface that is intermediate between two categories, or alternates between the two over short distances, with the category listed first being more important. So, Poor to Fair gravel in more often poor than fair.
The highest temperature I observed during each day, as measured by my cylocomputer. This may be inaccurate from time to time, as I usually only recorded temperature at whatever time felt like the hottest part of the day to me. I made every effort to measure the temperature in the shade, though it was not always possible to do so.
Cloudiness is given by a rather self-explanitory scale as:
Sunny < Mostly Sunny < Partly Sunny< Partly Cloudy < Mostly Cloudy < Cloudy
Other, special categories are also self-explanitory: Overcast; Foggy; Hazy; Smoky
Precipitation is described individually (light rain; thunderstorm; light snow, etc.)
Wind strength is categorized as:
Mild< Light< Moderate< Strong < Very Strong
Mild: Almost not noticeable, with little effect on travel
Light: Distinctly noticeable, but with only a slight effect on travel
Moderate: A significant effect on travel, either positive or negative.
Strong: Effect on trees, signs, and dust easily seen. Very tiring when headwind, or helpful as tailwind.
Very Strong: Dominates the landscape when present. Joyous when tailwind, when headwind usually requires cutting the day's ride short by a significant amount
Wind Direction is describes as either headwinds, crosswinds or tailwinds. Obviously wind direction is often not constant, being affected by weather changes, topography and changes in the course of the roads being used. The descriptions given refer to the typical directions felt over significantly long portions of the day.
Combinations: Similar to other combinations, the category listed first is more important. Moderate to Light Tail-Crosswind is more moderate and from a direction closer to tailwinds than crosswinds.
Winds which are sporadic are labeled as occasional, all others should be assumed to be relatively constant.
= Free Camping - Tenting in any suitable "undeveloped" location. Ideally in a place with privacy and quiet, located as far from habitations as practicable; may require fence-hopping though that is avoided whenever possible.
= Campground - Tenting in a commercial site, park, or similar established location. Used only when necessary, due to general level of noise.
= Other - Guest house, rest house, dormitory, hostel, accommodation on boats, or any similar type lodging without private bath.
= Private Home - A room in a family's house. Look carefully, as there is only one occurrence of this throughout the entire Tour
= Hotel - Any commercial indoor lodging with private bath; Entire range of expense scale used at times, but most frequently mid-range.
General description of the day, significant sights, health, and other personal thoughts