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Reply to West to East or East to West?

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Dan from Coronado,CA on 5/16/2020 9:11:47 PM:
Which is the preferred way to cycle?

Jerry Whittle from Belleville Illinois on 5/17/2020 7:16:27 AM:
I prefer west to east starting at Clinton or Sedalia. It's slightly more downhill especially when dropping down into the Missouri river valley at Boonville. Also there's a much better chance for a tail wind going that direction. In my opinion the only downside is that you are riding into the sun if you like to get on the trail early in the morning.

Doug from Bluffton on 5/17/2020 8:04:11 AM:
Most people ride west to east due to slight elevation drop and normal wind direction.

BikerBoy from Maryville, IL on 5/17/2020 4:03:49 PM:
Buckle up for a science discussion. I am kind of a geek about this! There is an insignificant elevation drop West-East (the grade is a fraction of a percent). You are far more likely to notice the hills between Sedalia and Boonville than any gain/loss of elevation. A bigger factor can be the wind, which is very unpredictable. The textbooks talk about the "prevailing Westerlies", but those are trade winds. Here in the Midwest, we like to be different! Our winds come from every direction, but the most common is out of the South (and bringing up lots of Gulf moisture). Just today alone, the wind shifted from East to Southeast to South and now to West. So you really can't count on a consistent direction. And when the South wind hits the river bluffs along the Katy (Rocheport and eastward), it splits it. So you can have it in your face and a half mile later, it is at your back. If you are interested in wind directions for your area, look up "wind rose", which is a graph that shows the predominant winds for select cities. Here is one for Jefferson City, about mid-point of the trail (scroll down to the bottom). https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/historyclimate/climatemodelled/jefferson-city_united-states-of-america_4392388 As you can see, by far the prominent direction is from the South, followed by the Southeast. Another interesting fact is that the resistance caused by wind is a cube of the speed. So if you are riding into a 5 mph headwind and later it becomes a 10 mph headwind, then you are facing 8 times the resistance, not twice, as you would expect (take the factor and cube it, in this case, 2^3=8). Certainly starting off your day into a strong wind will make for a tiring day. The best way to plan/prepare is to assume that the wind will be your enemy for part of the trip. Also note that the winds in Missouri are much calmer from about June 1 to September 1, as the jet stream moves farther North during the summer.

Dan from Coronado,CA on 5/18/2020 1:27:18 PM:
Thanks to all for the information!