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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings -

I am riding in a mountainous century (Mt. Shasta Super Summit - 135 mi/16500' climbing) and was hoping for a few suggestions to my setup to help me get through. I have a stock Madone 5.2 Performance with compact gearing (11-23 in the rear - I think). So what is recommended for a cassette? 12-25 or 12-27? DA or Ultegra or SRAM? Also....will a lighter wheel really help that much (I have the stock Bonte's on it now)? I'd be willing to invest in a wheelset if it really makes a difference - otherwise, I guess I'll just change the cassette and go for it.

Opinions appreciated....
 

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Depends on you and your condition. I'd probably want a triple. What's your small ring? How steep are the steepest climbs on the ride? How steep are the climbs you regularly ride? How does your present gearing handle them?

A lighter wheel will will make almost no difference. Lower gears will. I'd want to have some serious bailout gear available. If you don't want to change the crankset/bb to a triple, maybe switch the inner ring to the lowest available (a 34 if you have a 36 now), and get the biggest cog your derailleur will handle.

But again, it depends on you.
 

· smell my finger
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gearing

Your Madone stock should have the 12-25 cassette with the compact set-up. You can change to the 12-27 and that would make a difference. Other than that, saddle time and climbing my friend....you can do it.
 

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Agree with what was said. If you have the stock 5.2 Madone compact 50-34, chances are your stock casette is a Shimano 105 12-25. I'd put on a Shimano 105 12-27 cassette just for some peace of mind. (LOL, as just said above). Any weight reduction will help some in climbing, doesn't matter if it's from the wheels or anywhere else. If there's good ride support, try to take the bare minimum of food, drink and repair tools.
 

· Anti-Hero
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Typically, lighter is better for climbing, *BUT* I wouldn't worry too much about it unless you don't have any extra weight to lose off of yourself.

Component brand won't make a difference as long as everything is in working order. The compact chainrings with a 12-27 is not a bad combo for most climbing unless you're carrying some gear or you are gonna hit some really steep pitches.
 

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Laugh people but I put on an XTR rear Der and run an 11 - 34 cassett for the hills, Der works with the Shifters and the small up fron 34 rear is about teh same gear inch as a granny or tripple.. I like this set up and have used it for years of hilly rides..

C
 

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MT Road said:
Laugh people but I put on an XTR rear Der and run an 11 - 34 cassett for the hills, Der works with the Shifters and the small up fron 34 rear is about teh same gear inch as a granny or tripple.. I like this set up and have used it for years of hilly rides..

C
I'm not laughing, I've done that very thing. But that was with my 9-speed road bike. Not sure because I'm not doing 10-speed, but is there a 10-speed 11-34 the OP could put on?
 

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You should use somewhere between an 11-21 and a 12-27, depending on your level of fitness. As for weight, yes, I would advise losing 5 pounds before the ride.
 

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The gearing you need depends on your fitness, pedalling style and how long/hard the ride is.

We sort of know the last one, well I have ridden similar rides and up Mt Shasta, but we don't know the first two. So it's not possible to make a useful recommendation.

I know that I would not do anything special for gearing for that ride. But I am a strong climber who has done a bunch of similar rides and races, and I normally run a 50/34 and a 12-27 cluster. The climb up Shasta isn't steep- I think there is one short 10% section but the average is lower, like 7%, and it is a pretty even grade. But it comes at the end of the ride when you are tired.

If this your first big climbing ride I suggest being conservative with the gearing. Having low gears that you don't need is a lot better than needing low gears that you don't have.

BTW, if you run a 50/34 and 12-27 with a standard road derailleur, the chain length has to be just right. It's out of Shimano's official wrap spec but it will usually work. A road triple derailleur will let you go larger.

Don't worry about the wheels; it's not a race so saving 30 second isn't worth the expense.
 

· Colorado Springs, CO
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This sounds like a grind...I would:

1) swap out the cassette to at least something like a 12/28. That way you don't have to change the rear DR. But, you'll have to get a new chain (which may not be a bad thing)

2) Get your wheels looked at. Hub service. Truing. Bringing the wheels back in line and possible bearing replacement may be all you need to get the extra amount of juice out of your wheels. But, then again, I remember getting a pair of Mavic Krysirium ESs and that REALLY made a difference to me.

3) How's your connection to the pedals? Do you need new cleats to make the connection nice and solid, just like new?

4) Driveline maintenance - clean rings, cassette, chain.

5) Engine maintenance - you might want to increase your fat and carb intake over the next few days. Like and extra piece of bread at each meal and maybe some meat with more fat content in it. Don't go overboard, but think of eating a bit extra like charging up a battery. Limit the alcohol consumption leading up to the ride too. Get some good night's rest leading up to the ride also.

6) Remember that it is OK to stop and catch your breath. Doing these types of climbs on Ride The Rockies and Bicycle Tour of Colorado (6% - 7% - 8% for 4, 6. 8, 10 miles or more), when I started to poop out I started a half-mile of pedaling then stop and 30 second rest, then go for another half mile and repeat. Granted this type of approach was at the end of the ride day after pedaling for 40 or 50 miles and having to do that last push over a pass at the end of the day, but I felt like I had a new pair of legs after each of these short breaks. Take your time out to squeeze off a picture or two.

7) Eat on the ride. Hydrate on the ride. Any type of cycling is a losing battle from a energy and fluid acquisition standpoint. The best you can do is to slow down the loss. But then again, don't hurry the loss by not taking in enough.

Have a great climb!
 

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wim said:
I'm not laughing, I've done that very thing. But that was with my 9-speed road bike. Not sure because I'm not doing 10-speed, but is there a 10-speed 11-34 the OP could put on?
Neither am I. In the past I've run an 11-32 with a compact 34-50. I've got a 12-28 on right now, which is still much appreciated on steep hills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanx for the replies....I guess I should have elaborated a little:

First, I'm already in "decent" shape - having just completed a 2x metric century last weekend and a couple other centuries this summer, I'm not worried about the distance - just the climbing and gearing required.

Second - I'm also not looking to shave ounces from the bike if I could easily shave pounds off my midsection/gut - I'm 5-10" and 150 lbs, and workout 6-7 days a week (riding, upper body weights, & Karate). However, I don't mind spending some $$ on a worthwhile upgrade (ie better/lighter wheels - which also translates to better hubs).

Third - my bike has a 50/34 front and 11-25 rear gearing now.

Fourth - the ride in question is 135 miles and 16,500' of climbing (nothing too steep from what I can tell), and can be found here: http://www.shastasummitcentury.com/

After a little research, I'm looking at getting a SRAM cassette (OG-1070), since they offer a 11-28. The LBS indicated that I'll need to add a link to the chain, but I was ready to replace it anyway. I tend to keep the bike in top mechanical shape, with frequent trips to the LBS - just saves me from unpleasant surprises while out on a remote solo ride or in the middle of an event. The wheels and hubs were just looked at before the 2x metric - with the rear wheel being replaced under Bonte's warranty.

Thanx for the suggestion/reminder about my cleats - they definitely need to be replaced.

I also appreciate the comment about stopping to eat/take pictures. I think that is my biggest weakness with my "big" rides so far - I tend to skip the food stops. I did better at hydration last weekend, but still found myself too dry at spots out on the course.

Hopefully I'll be ready, and if not, I'll learn and prepare better for next year. Watch for pictures and a ride report right after the weekend of 8/3.

Bruce in Redding, CA
 

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It all depends on GRADE

From your description of your experience, I'm not sure you need any gearing changes from your current set-up. I think the real issue is the extent of steep grades in the ride. If it's correct that the climbing is an average of 7% with only occasional 10% pitches, your 34/25 ought to be a fine climbing gear. Extended pitches of 12%-14%, or more, might warrant a gearing adjustment, but not the mostly 7%, with some 10%. You are the best judge of what you are climbing now... What are the grades of the hills you're riding comfortably now?

PS Do a ride (or two) with 10k+ feet of climbing between now and the big day...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
PdxMark - I think you have hit the nail on the head, in that I do not know what grade I'm currently riding when I head out on my local rides (any recommended software to use for a "Mac guy"). I feel ok, and need to vary the in/out of the saddle position for extended climbs - but seem to get by. With the ride only 10 days away, I'm going to try to get out on the actual course and make the final climb this weekend. Won't be 10k worth, but it will put me up to the highest elev. I'll see the following weekend and check out what I have to look forward to.

Bruce in Redding, CA
 

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nor_cal_rider said:
PdxMark - I think you have hit the nail on the head, in that I do not know what grade I'm currently riding when I head out on my local rides (any recommended software to use for a "Mac guy"). I feel ok, and need to vary the in/out of the saddle position for extended climbs - but seem to get by. With the ride only 10 days away, I'm going to try to get out on the actual course and make the final climb this weekend. Won't be 10k worth, but it will put me up to the highest elev. I'll see the following weekend and check out what I have to look forward to. Bruce in Redding, CA
One bike doodad I like alot is a Specialized bike computer with the elevation & grade function. I've tried mapping software, but it's a pain. The Specialized computer (at least it used to) will tell you elevation climbed AND current grade. The current grade is an average, but that's OK. It's averaged over a fairly short distance...a hundred yards or less. You'll learn what 4%, 6%, 10%, etc. feel like. From that, you can gauge effort for an organized ride based on their measured grades. I mostly ride fixed gear. I am HIGHLY grade sensitive. 7% is a pretty easy hill.
 

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You can use Google Earth to determine percent grade (Free from Google). Find the section of road you're interested in and use the "Ruler" tool set to "Path" mode to determine the distance of your climb. (You just click points along the road to establish segments. In Path mode it will automatically add your segments together to give you total distance from the beginning of the first segment to the end of the last). Once you have your distance determined, place the cursor on the fist point and write down the elevation. Then place your cursor on the last point and write down that elvation. The difference between these elevations will be your elevation gain. Divide your elevation gain by the distance to get your percent grade. YOU MUST USE THE SAME UNIT OF MEASURE FOR BOTH ELEVATION GAIN AND DISTANCE. Example: Say you've established the distance of 1.8 miles, and an elevation gain of 550 feet. Multiply 1.8 miles x 5280ft to change your distance to feet - in this case 9504 feet. Then divide 550 feet by 9504 feet which gives you a percent grade of 5.8%.

Correction: You can preset the units of both distance and elevation to the same units, so that you don't have to make the conversion.
 

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PdxMark said:
One bike doodad I like alot is a Specialized bike computer with the elevation & grade function. I've tried mapping software, but it's a pain. The Specialized computer (at least it used to) will tell you elevation climbed AND current grade.
Along the same lines- VDO MC 1.0 (wired) and MC 1.0+ (wireless). They run about $100 and $130 respectively. I don`t know what features the Specialized has, but the VDOs have current, average and max grade and settings for two different wheel sets. They don`t offer a cadence readout though- I don`t care about that but you might. Good luck on your climbs.
 
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