In other words are better trace route times frome various cities over the US mean a host is better than another host that has higher trace route times?Seems like on some hosts I can burst with a download file with wget faster than vs. another host. But when doing trace routes the higher bursting host has worse traceroute numbers.
Traceroute is not a good measurement of speed
Distance is just one of many factors that affects the performance between two hosts on the Internet. Other factors include bandwidth, server speed, line utilization and backbone connectivity.
A wget from multiple locations is your best indication because that is most reflective of the experience people are going to have visiting your website.
Traceroute just shows the path that all packets traverse to get from host A to host B.
Lower traceroutes are good, but they are not necessarily indicitive of good network performance. Traceroutes are ICMP messages, so they are low priority messages. A router is going to answer all other queries and then answer ICMP requests -- so WGET transfers are more indicitive of the cusotmer experience, since they will be answered in the same manner as a browser query.