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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This coming weekend, I'm entered into a race that features almost 6000 feet of climbing over 50 or so miles. For me, this will be more climbing than I've ever encountered for a race. I've been preparing for the event the best that I can, climbing with stronger riders, lots of solo training hill climbs, working on improving my climbing technique, etc. My question pertains to my bike. I changed out the cassette from an 11/23 to a 13/26. That provides noticeable relief on the steeper climbs. Would it be adventageous to change the seat height for this event? What about tires? I'm currently using Vittoria Diamonte Pros, but I also have a pair of Vittoria Open Corse EVO-CX or Conti 4000s. Is one better than another for hill climbing and steep downhills?
 

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It really depends on the type of climbs. What is the gradient and length? If they are long, hard climbs the 13-26 would help, but you'd miss the 11 on the downhills. Look at the gradient, compare it to climbs you know and ask if you need the extra little gear. If you can get away with the 11-23, it'll be nice on the downhills. Could you go purchase an 11-26 or 12-27 by next weekend?

Don't touch the seatpost.

I don't know what to tell you abt the tires, other than lighter would be better.

Just have confidence that you've prepared to the best of your ability.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There are three major climbs with a max grade of 15%. One of the climbs is short (less than a mile), but steep. The other two climbs range from 2.5 to 3 miles with the grade ranging mostly from 7% to 13%, maxing out at 15%. The rest of the course is near constant rollers, I have no concerns there. There's not much I can do with the cassette, it's Campy and the options are limited. I think the 13/26 will suite me best as the climbs are more of a weakness versus holding a deep tuck and cornering with the downhills.
 

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kbiker3111 said:
It really depends on the type of climbs. What is the gradient and length? If they are long, hard climbs the 13-26 would help, but you'd miss the 11 on the downhills. Look at the gradient, compare it to climbs you know and ask if you need the extra little gear. If you can get away with the 11-23, it'll be nice on the downhills. Could you go purchase an 11-26 or 12-27 by next weekend?

Don't touch the seatpost.

I don't know what to tell you abt the tires, other than lighter would be better.

Just have confidence that you've prepared to the best of your ability.
The junior sat with us this weekend downhill at 48mph..... at that speed you are better off tucking in anyway.
 

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I don't know about not switching the cassette. I did a collegiate race last weekend with a 550 ft. climb and varying grades between 6 and 10 % (if I recall right). I did it in an 11-23, bad idea. I was left behind. I finished the race in 11out of 27, but if i had a 12-25 or 12-27, I think i would have done MUCH better. you can only make up so much on the flats i think. everyone is flying down the downhill, once you get to 40, you really can't do much pedaling wise even with an 11-23 (or atleast that's how it seems to me). It took me 6 miles to catch the pack after that climb. they had about a minute on me at the top, and I was going about 95% on the flats to catch them.

If I had to do it again, i would have put the 12-25 or 12-27 on there. but that's just me, you may be WAY stronger than me and have no trouble at all.

Good luck to ya!
 

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den bakker said:
The junior sat with us this weekend downhill at 48mph..... at that speed you are better off tucking in anyway.
It also depends on the downhill, obviously at 40+ you're much better tucking, but at 30-35 a big gear can be useful. Also depends on whether you want to win or just finish with the pack.
 

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You'll be fine with 13/26. The main thing is to not blow yourself up which means climb at the hardest pace you can SUSTAIN over the course of the climb. On a course like you described it will break the feild up so follow wheels near the front if you can. I've seen alot of guys fly up the beginning of the climbs and they blow before the top and you end up catching them anyway. You can save energy by getting to the front at the base of the climb and drifting back through the pack over the course of it. You actually will be going a little slower than the rest of the feild which requires a bit less energy. Just don't loose contact with the back of the group if you do this.
 

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I second 12-27 (or as big as you've got).

I second no seat post change.

On tires, I think that the diamantes and 4000s are lighter than the Open corsa--diamante lights are even lighter (but I don't trust "light" versions of tires)--less weight is helpful on climbs (although we're only talking 20-40 grams of difference). I have the 4000s and I love the grip/feel on high speed decents.

Good luck!!
 

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I've seen a few tire tests that compared rolling resistance and the Vittoria's are always near the top, use those. Use the 13-26 and begin the climbs at or near the front, my guess is that there won't be much of a peloton after the 1st climb, 15% is VERY steep. Save all the energy you can between the climbs and ride within yourself as much as possible.
 

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ypu've changed your training and your gears, everything else is accademic now, nothing needs to change, especially seat height before an event (your lookin for trouble with that one...)
 

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unless you are very light and/or very fit, a one mile 15% grade is going to destroy you without the correct gearing. I race a 12-25 everywhere, but when I got to the alps I bring a 27 to get up the 20-30km long climbs over there. if you are ok with sustained efforts over 500 watts for a few minutes, a 25 will likely be ok for you
 
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