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  1. #1
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    pikes peak gearing?

    Moved to Colorado Springs 6 weeks ago, and am planning to make my first attempt at pikes peak (before the race/ride on August 24th). The climb is 20k long, and goes from about 7,000 feet of elevation to 14,000. I have a compact crank and an 11-27 cassette now, and it works well for most climbing around here, but I have never done a single sustained climb like this before. I have done rides of up to 6,000 feet of climbing over 35 miles, but that is the most climbing I have done in a single ride here, and none of that got me much above 7,500 feet of elevation.

    Has anyone here done the climb, or of you haven't, still have any recommendations for what would be reasonable cassette for a (formerly sea level) midpack cat4 racer with a compact crank?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tyrell's Avatar
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    Try it first with what you've got and then make adjustments from there if necessary.

  3. #3
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    you make it sound so simple

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    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    can you get a 28 on there? beyond that you might need to change the derailleur. if it were me, and either a race that mattered to me, or a regular ride I could do, I'd make the adjustment. If it's a one off ride make do.

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    ^^ agree.

    I haven't done Pikes Peak but I've done Mt Evans a few times, which is just as high. I hear Pikes Peak is much harder b/c it's steep (9%) up high, whereas Evans is mostly 5% above 12,000'.

    Expect to be riding much slower than usual at high altitude. Everyone is different in how they react, personally I drop about 20% of my home-level watts, and you might fare even worse, since you aren't acclimated to the front range elevation completely yet. A low gear would let you spin more.

    Another option if it's a one-time deal - rent a bike with a triple.

    Also - since you are new here - watch the weather forecast and be prepared to reschedule or bail if there are thunderstorms. I would go ahead and head up with a 30% or less chance, with the idea that you will turn around if it looks bad. And do turn back before it starts raining/hailing/thundering, by then it's too late and you are in danger.

    Have fun, I saw some pictures, it looks spectactular!
    ...

  6. #6
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I did Mount Lemmon as part of a training camp this year. The climb is 26 miles with a few miles above 7000 feet. Once we got to 7000 feet, power was limited due to altitude plus the fatigue equaled suffering to the max. And it was not that steep - 5 to 7%. I used a compact and 12/27. I would suggest as low a gear as will fit on the bike.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  7. #7
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    after reading a few reviews of the climb, and comments here, i ordered up an apex rear der with longer cage, and 11-32 cassette. thanks for the input! if the weather agrees this saturday, i'll be on the slopes.

  8. #8
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Make sure you start early in the morning to avoid storms. I'm not positive of when they arrive on Pike's, but for many of the fourteeners, you're looking at about 11am-12pm (snow in August). You want to be back below 12k before that nonsense starts. For my Mt. Evans assaults, I would always be rolling by 7am. I recommend that you bring a pack up with you that has a jacket, tights, heavy gloves, and whatever you like to use to cover your ears in cold weather. Maybe shoe covers too. You'll be wet at the top, it's cold, and you're looking at a long time coasting.

    I recommend you start w/out food, then just fuel the ride as needed so you don't waste energy digesting.
    Last edited by waterrockets; 08-04-14 at 09:14 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member HOWSER's Avatar
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    Good to see that this race is still going on. I did it back in the mid 90's. Had just got into town the evening before and the altitude difference (from MO) really stuck it to me. Very cool event for sure!

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    wait...you didn't have a support car for your climb? my wife has promised to tote all of that for me, and a large number of sticky bottles.

    good advice, through...i'll make sure to pack it all in the car so it will be there for me at the top. or i can just load up the bike at the top and stay in the toasty car all the way down.

  11. #11
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    the gradient will not be the biggest challenge. The gradient combined with the altitude at the top will be. Especially if your rate of climb is too fast. Altitude sickness could easily rear its ugly head.

  12. #12
    gmt Grumpy McTrumpy's Avatar
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    I did Everest Challenge with a 53-39 and 11-32. No need to change the derailleur as I was using a 7900. I just put a shim under the B screw. I'm not certain a compact would have helped, since I didn't really feel overgeared during the high altitude steep parts. I just felt mainly tired.

    A compact might have made it feel easier but I am betting I would have also gone slower.

  13. #13
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    altitude will probably be an issue, but I have lived here for almost 6 weeks now, and have been getting in a lot of climbing in my rides. i still have never been at that altitude before, much less climbing at that altitude, so I have no idea how this will go, but i'm sure i'll be up for a nap afterwards.

  14. #14
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorthings View Post
    wait...you didn't have a support car for your climb? my wife has promised to tote all of that for me, and a large number of sticky bottles.

    good advice, through...i'll make sure to pack it all in the car so it will be there for me at the top. or i can just load up the bike at the top and stay in the toasty car all the way down.
    I have had that support, but I've done it enough times that my girlfriend (now wife) wasn't going to make herself available each time I decided to ride up it. It's pretty fun to gather a few friends and all just go assault one of these climbs together.

    I've done it a few times with a guy who was getting 5th on it in P/1/2 (finished ahead of Alexi Grewal back in the day). That was frustrating to have him just ride away, but he'd come back down every fifteen minutes or so. Anyway, we would both have packs with clothes and food. We'd come off the top of Mt. Evans quickly to beat the storms, then eat everything in sight down at Echo Lake.

  15. #15
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    although the support was offered, she's not much of an early riser, so i may have to fend for myself anyway. the packing list is appreciated.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Wylde06's Avatar
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    One of these days I will find out what its like to climb more than an overpass.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wylde06 View Post
    One of these days I will find out what its like to climb more than an overpass.
    c'mon out this saturday.

  18. #18
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wylde06 View Post
    One of these days I will find out what its like to climb more than an overpass.
    It's a lot less fun than it looks like on TV.

    But the descent part is fun!
    cat 1.

    blog

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