I think it's time for an experiment (of sorts).
Quintalan is basically sitting around Dal, cooling his jets, while I've been leveling Tomakan and Neve. I could send him straight into the Cataclysm zones, but I've been reluctant to do so. It has nothing to do with being put off by the Great Cataclysm Race, but a realization that if I push ahead with Q I'd shelve these other two for a long while.
There's also a bit of a daredevil mentality at work here. Just how hard is it to hop on an 18-wheeler and drive a toon straight up through L85 without stopping to farm heroics?
I've read online a lot of "you can go straight to L85 without stopping, but it will be a bit harder," but exactly how hard is "harder" the posters kind of left blank. When you ding L80, you typically have a bunch of iL187 and iL200 gear, with a mixture of lower level gear thrown in. This is especially true if you've been leveling through instances like I have, and you don't get those questing gear drops to round out your equipment. For example, I only recently replaced Tom's cloak; he'd been using something he picked up circa the last two Scarlet Monastery instances all the way through L66 simply because he didn't get a DPS type cloak to drop that entire time. (Well, one that he won in a roll, anyway.)
What this means is that it's entirely possible Neve or Tom could ding 80 and still have a residual piece of BC gear on them. And those are the toons I'll be taking straight into the Cataclysm zones.
Okay, I'll eventually get around to getting Q to L85, but right now I've got a good thing going: leveling Tom in the early morning, and Neve in the lunchtime (or late afternoon). I figure to ride this convoy straight to L85 and see what happens. I'll make a point of taking a gear snapshot of each toon once they ding 80 and see how things change over the Cat leveling experience.