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Old 07-21-09, 12:08 PM   #1
SaiKaiTai
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Yeah, you go back, Jack...

... and do it again.

That's right.

Two climbs. So similar, so different. Twin sons of different mothers.
Both are 1.3 miles.
One averages 7.5% with a 12% maximum.
The other averages 7% with a 9.5% maximum

The latter I can make it up...slowly and with effort but after 12 minutes of suffering, I'm there.
The former just kicks my butt. It takes only a minute more but it feels like an eternity.
I usually have to take a stop to get my breathing back under control. It's not asthma-friendly, at all

So, yes, I get my breathing under control but not my HR. Not since my doctor unchained me.
I haven't been able to get up this beast since I got back from vacation in May.
But I figured I could try and spin up this climb a bit more than I was allowed to before (keep in mind that going up a hill like this, "spinning", for me, is doing 60-65RPM instead of 55-50RPM. Using the granny on my bike). I tried last Friday going up between 65 and 70RPM and I was cooked. HR hit 170.. it just wasn't good. The hill had gotten into my head. I was beaten discouraged. Maybe the long slide has begun and all I can do is stave off the decline in my performance as best I can. No!

So, I had to go back and do it again on Saturday. HAD to.
Figuring I was spinning to fast -for me- I tried something.
I used to need my granny all the way up.
Then I could go half way in my next lowest gear, then shift down.
So, I tried in my third lowest gear which forced me to keep a comfortable pace. It was a good start and that pace (as I shifted down when it got steeper) let me go the whole 1.3 miles non-stop. Well, one brief (maybe 30 seconds to blow my nose and drink some water. I don't even count that as a stop) but -wow- what a difference a day makes.

Then it hit me that common thought holds that, if you need to shift 2 cogs in the back, shift one in the front instead. So, I could leave it in the 27T in back and start in the middle ring up front. This is psychologically HUGE for me. And I run a 39T middle. Maybe I am almost ready for a compact. Almost.
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Old 07-21-09, 12:23 PM   #2
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Wow, Mr SKT

From a distance -

You're hitting steep hills
You're getting up 'em
You're getting up 'em better each time you go back (Jack)

Oh, and then there's a whole lot about gear ratios.

I'd say, congrats about the climbing, congrats about the increasing fitness and cardio effects, and forget about the gear kit. (My second best bike has a triple with a twiddle gear that I hardly ever use, my best one has a compact double, and honestly I love the one I'm on and can't really care or notice about the difference)

I hope this doesn't sound dismissive of your interest in alternative kit - I just mean to say that your regular attack on hillls is the main thing. Keep on keeping on, yip yip Yowzah
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Old 07-21-09, 12:23 PM   #3
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I'm not sure I understand what is happening here -- are you saying that by shifting into a higher gear you're finding it easier to get up a hill?
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Old 07-21-09, 02:10 PM   #4
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I'm not sure I understand what is happening here -- are you saying that by shifting into a higher gear you're finding it easier to get up a hill?
Hate to say it but I find the same.

I started road riding with a triple. 52/42/30 and a 12/26 cassette. My steep hills always finished up with me in 30/26. Next bike and a Compact 50/34 and 12/27. Steep hills and I always finished up in the lowest gear again of 34/27.

Recently I put a triple on the TCR and 50/39/30 and 12/27. Now up to about 10%- I would stay in the middle ring of 39 and it was fine. But above 10% and I just could not pull the 39 so used the 30. Inevitably I would finish up in 30/27.

May be in the mind- but as things get tough- I try to make it easier by changing down on gears- till I have none left- whatever gearing I have on the bike. And nearly proved it again as the compact bike now has a 12/25 cassette on it and I struggle up the same hills in 34/25 as I do on the triple with 30/27.

This is fine on the local hills where I know them and they are not too long. However the triple will have a granny ring change when I get back to the mountains. I just know that I will need a 28t granny to get up those slopes.
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Old 07-21-09, 02:35 PM   #5
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Hey 'Geezer, I don't take it as dismissive at all. The whole compact vs triple "thing" is just kind of idle (or not so idle) speculation on my part. Yes, the climb is the thing.

BengeBoy, I'm not sure if that's what I'm saying, exactly, but, yeah, maybe it is.

stapfam - what can I say? You've climbed Ventoux (from the side they're going up later this week?)
I am but a child taking baby steps hoping to get where you are. The extra pounds I carry probably don't help. YOU look like a climber. I don't, believe me

One thing I set up as a goal this year -and have really begun in earnest since my cardiologist set me free- is to attack more. That's means I might fail more, early on, but the rewards will come and I'm seeing that now (and feeling it. and not always in a good way. progress is painful). So, I hit hills -shorter ones that I know I can finish- at a faster pace in a higher gear. I sprint more for short runs. I stand and pedal rather than shift down and do it until my legs start to shake

And bit by bit I see that I am getting stronger and more fit.
My (thankfully short) 15% climb home used to be done seated in as low a gear as I could go (30X27). My HR at the top would be way in the 160's. The other day I hit it hard, standing, using a 39x25. My HR at the top? 158.

To quote another post here: Life is good.
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Old 07-21-09, 03:14 PM   #6
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My personal rule is that I try to stay out of my very lowest gear unless I feel like I am about to die. I am running 9 year old Campy Daytona with a 13 - 29 cassette. If I were buying a bike now, I would definitely go for a compact double.

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Old 07-21-09, 03:24 PM   #7
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Yeah that 29 sounds good but our rules -and the reasons for those rules, I'm sure- are quite different.
Ever have asthma? It doesn't take much to feel like you're about to die, believe me.

Funny thing. I had a Lemond Reno once upon a time and thought of swapping it for a CF bike - the Giant I have now. I was running a 30T in the back so I was climbing OK with a 30x30 and I was worried that I couldn't climb my hills with the 28T that the Giant maxxed out (minned out?) with.
I had the brilliant idea to climb SPR without using my rear 30 and just going with it penultimate low gear. I figured if I could do that, the Giant would work for me. I climbed it fine. Then I found out that that gear on thje Reno was a 27T. Well, heck! If I can climb with a 2t, I can sure do it with a 28. I haven't looked back since.
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Old 07-21-09, 04:14 PM   #8
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Kudos for determination.

Nothing kills the mythical hill beast faster than having at it time and time again.
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