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Old 09-17-06, 06:31 PM   #1
jppe
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Grandfather Reigns!!!

We completed the Bridge to Bridge ride today which is 101.8 miles and finishes at the top of Grandfather Mtn. Next to Mt Mitchell it is probably the second toughest ride I do annually.

Perfect day for riding-60 degrees to start and probably in the mid to low 70's at the top of Grandfather under gorgeous skies. A little breezier than perfect but it could have been much worse!

I didn't have a record time but I finished in around 6hr 30 mins which was probably my second best time on that ride. I stopped one time where my wife and son met me at the 70 mile mark and I restocked on fluids and bananas. I stopped a couple mins longer at the 70 mile mark than normal just to work out some cramping issues and looking for encouragement that it would be OK if I didn't finish!! My wife simply said that she would see me at the top........

I had been dreading the 2+ mile climb up Grandfather but with the compact crank and the 11/32 cassette it wasn't as bad as I had feared. However the last couple hundred yards took all I had.....

Unfortunately several guys in my bike club were either involved in crashes or had mechanical problems and were unable to finish. I saw 2 guys on the side of road holding chains that had broken......

Here are some pics:
At the top of the 12 mile climb up Hwy 181
Looking down on the last few switchbacks at the top of Grandfather
Leading the charge up the last 200 yards with a group I had been riding with
100 yards from the top
Side view 10 yards from the top-I was hurting!! The picture just doesn't show how steep that sucker is.
My sag crew-wife and son


Edit:
I just saw the results and the first place finisher was 51-52 years old. Hooray!!!! Another victory for the 50+ crowd!! Unfortunately the second place finisher was a good cycling friend and he has won it before. He was only 20 seconds behind. I would have enjoyed seeing them paired up climbing Grandfather....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Hwy 181.jpg (36.1 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg Switchbacks.jpg (84.2 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg Climbing Grandfather.jpg (56.7 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg Climbing Grandfather 2.jpg (64.7 KB, 40 views)
File Type: jpg Top of Granfather.jpg (63.8 KB, 43 views)
File Type: jpg Jeri David Joe.jpg (54.7 KB, 60 views)
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Last edited by jppe; 09-18-06 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 09-17-06, 06:53 PM   #2
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"Grandfather Reigns!!! "

Shucks.... I knew that.

Nice pics by the way..... always enjoy seeing others rides.
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Old 09-17-06, 07:07 PM   #3
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Nice Job!! May I ask what the breakdown is of your gearing in the 11-32? Secondly, did you find it necessary to use the 32? What cassette gear did you use up most of Highway 181. Thanks for your response.
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Old 09-17-06, 07:46 PM   #4
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A nice weekend's work jppe. Great pics as usual. I liked your wife's response "See you at the top". Were those chains broken climbing? Besides the banana stop, what other food did you take along?
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Old 09-17-06, 08:44 PM   #5
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Great ride report and fantastic pics!!
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Old 09-17-06, 08:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jppe
I had been dreading the 2+ mile climb up Grandfather but with the compact crank and the 11/32 cassette it wasn't as bad as I had feared. However the last couple hundred yards took all I had.....
What's the grade on that climb? Sounds like a very tough sucker! And how's that 11/32 cassette (and what I presume must be a long-cage derailleur) working out for you?
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Old 09-18-06, 03:56 AM   #7
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Way to go JPPE! One of these days I'll be able to ride 50 miles, but probably never on a Sunday--- until I retire! I'll be in Ashville this weekend for a wedding. I hope to ride with a couple of nephews. I'll get a chance to compare NH hills to NC hills.
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Old 09-18-06, 05:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikerJoeP
Nice Job!! May I ask what the breakdown is of your gearing in the 11-32? Secondly, did you find it necessary to use the 32? What cassette gear did you use up most of Highway 181. Thanks for your response.
I'm using a 9 speed Shimano XTR Mtn bike cassette with a 50/34 compact crank and the gears are 11,12,14,16,18,21,24,28,32. The 21-32 are Titanium and are on a cluster. It's pretty expensive but I wanted to save a few grams. The knock on the XTR is that there have been issues with warping the gears with Mtn bikes from shifting. I'm not "loading" the gears as heavily on my road bike when shifting so hopefully I'll have better luck. On a training ride I used a 12/27 rear cassette and climbed 181 mostly in the 34/24. I don't think I ever got in the 27. However, yesterday to avoid cramping plus I'd ridden with the front group for 60 miles I probably did most of it in the 34/28. I like the 12/27 cassette better for road riding but knew I'd need the 32 for the last mile at Grandfather. I almost put in a second wheel in my wife's vehicle with the 11/32 but opted to just use it for the whole ride. I did not use the 32 anywhere but the last mile.

"Were those chains broken climbing? Besides the banana stop, what other food did you take along?"

Most of the chains were broken climbing. We were talking on the way down about how they were probably 10sp, more narrow chains-just guessing on our part. For food, I use bananas and Lance round peanut butter crackers. The crackers are super as they have salt and peanut butter but they are really dry!!!

What's the grade on that climb? Sounds like a very tough sucker! And how's that 11/32 cassette (and what I presume must be a long-cage derailleur) working out for you?"

Hwy 181 is not that steep-probably averages 6-7%. The first mile of Grandfather probably is 8%. The second mile probably averages at least 10% with sections 12-15%. There are folks at the top yelling and hollaring and you wouldn't believe how much that helps to keep the pedals turning over.
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Old 09-18-06, 05:42 AM   #9
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Here's a picture showing some of the folks on the rocks cheering cyclists on at the top.
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Old 09-18-06, 05:58 AM   #10
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Here's a picture showing some of the folks on the rocks cheering cyclists on at the top.
Is that an ambulance in the background? Seems appropriate!
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Old 09-18-06, 06:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jppe
Here's a picture showing some of the folks on the rocks cheering cyclists on at the top.
JPPE, this is a great picture, for it truly shows how steep a hill is. If we could all take pictures of our hills in profile, we could then really brag about how tough one climb is over another.
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Old 09-18-06, 06:58 AM   #12
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What an animal! Kudos for a great ride. It sounds like an incredibly tough one.
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Old 09-18-06, 09:01 AM   #13
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jppe - Your really are an inspiration. Another tough ride into the books. Great report and wonderful pics. Since riding the MS tour last weekend, this weekend was designated for work around the house. Got out for a short ride yesterday afternoon and of course at 5:30 this morning.
Congrats Again!!
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Old 09-18-06, 09:32 AM   #14
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Great job, jppe! Sounds like a ride to be proud of!

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Old 09-18-06, 11:24 AM   #15
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Thanks for the definitive response!! Again, congrats on a very strong ride.
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Old 09-18-06, 01:47 PM   #16
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Jppe.

The 11/32 is the 9spd I use on the mountain bike and I am only 147 lbs. Strong legs but on mountain bikes- when you need that gear you need it. I no longer use XT cassettes as on the Tandem we bend the 28 sprocket. Never bent the 32 but the 2 occasions we used a 12/34- we did not even get to the hills before we bent the 34. For strength I always use LX but XTR are probably worth a try sometime.

Now on the chains. 9 spd remember- I have always used the XT grade of Chain and never broken one. Just before our Big ride on the Tandem in 2004- I was recommended that I use a Dure-ace/ XTR chain as they are better. Ran it in for 100 miles and started the ride. 5 minutes into the ride and the Dura-Ace chain broke. Did not chance refitting it and put on the chain that I had replaced it with till we could get a replacement. This chain had done a full 18months riding on the Tandem and was about to do its second 100 miler. It lasted.The Broken Dure ace- when I looked at it had broken a side plate. On top of that- 5 other side plates were about to let go. I had bought another dure ace chain and was carrying this as a spare. It went onto the Mountain bike as that does not have the strain put on it as much as the Tandem. That must have been in spring 2005. I do check my chains for stretch and change them as a matter of course every year on the Tandem and 18 months on the Mountain bike. So the second Dure ace chain went on the mountain bike in spring 2005. There I was on December 12th 2005 on a ride to get some snow pictures for the forum and the Dure-ace chain broke.

I did not notice any improvement in the Dure-ace over my usual XT although there may have been some difference in weight. I do push the chains to the limit, in particular on the Tandem, and I am afraid that my experience of Dure-Ace chains is that they are not man enough for my use, even on the solo, and I will not be using them again. On a road bike- you will not have the stress put on a chain or cassette that I put mine to, but I will always put adequate strength over lightness any time. Plus the fact that XT are cheaper. Mind you- That XTR rear cassette does sound as though it is worth a try.
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Old 09-19-06, 07:45 AM   #17
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As one who lives in the flatlands and has yet to do a century, I stand in awe and admiration!
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Old 09-19-06, 03:27 PM   #18
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Great pics and a great story. Holy Cow! Winner was just over 5 hours for 101 miles of hills! THAT is riding! Sorry to see that one of the riders passed away during the event (heart attack).
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