Let's pretend we have a compact crank
Bear with me.
(Noto Bene: I've always guessed at my gears... well, no more: The Ultegra 10 speed is: 12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,24,27)
One gauge for my improvement is my 1/2 mile climb of Roberts Road.
Way, way back when -like, in January, maybe?- I had to climb this with my custom 30/30
Since I got the Giant, I've worked up to the 27 ('cause it has no 30. what choice did i have?).. the the 24...
Now I start the steepest part of the climb with the 21 and drop back down to the 24 about halfway up.
The 27? Just there for peace of mind and a little extra weight, I guess
But I've heard so much about using a compact crank and how easy it makes climbing (easy? yeah, compared to a standard crank, i suppose).
And here am I using my triple to make it up...well, just about anything.
Well, today, for grins, I went ahead and just used my 39T middle ring -pretty much the bottom of a compact crank- and my 24 in the back (yeah, I had to fall back to the 27 half way up; it got a little stout for me).
HR stayed good all the way up, too.
What's really cool is that it only took me 9 seconds longer over my last personal best with my 30/24.
For comparison: 30/24 = 32.5" , 39/24 = 42.2" and 39/27 = 37.5"
There is a difference. Is 5 gear-inches much of one?
All-in-all, you know... it wasn't really all that tough.
Guess I just have a little masochist in me.