As I've started tackling areas with more and more hills to improve my climbing, I've started finding myself on relatively small 8-10% grade hills fairly regularly, where I'm in my easiest gear but still struggling fairly hard to keep myself moving up the hill -- I still make it up and haven't walked up a hill yet, but I definitely get the HR going pretty well and can usually feel the muscle fatigue. If it gets really rough, I've been switching to a higher gear, standing, and mashing my way up the hill, but am pretty sure this isn't the greatest habit to get into, especially with a knee that's been bothering me. Hence my question:
I currently have a compact double on my bike, 50/34 in front, and 12-25 in back, giving me a smallest gear of 34-25, for a gain ratio of 2.6 (Shimano FC-R600). Should this be sufficient and do I just need to improve my hill training, or should I be seriously contemplating an eventual conversion to a triple chainring? I'm not terribly worried about bike weight, and if this gearing should be sufficient, I can definitely 'HTFU,' as they say in the road forums, and keep working at it. But really I want to know if I'm doing something stupid by sticking with the compact double. Thanks for your expertise!