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  1. #1
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    Lake Chelan Washington - Ride Report

    Here is a link to the event:

    http://www.centuryride.com/index.php?page_id=236

    The weather was excellent with a cool morning start warming up to a mid afternoon high in the low 80's. Not a cloud in the sky and the air was crystal clear. The ride was very well organized and supported and I was on the road by 7:15. My goal was to complete the first 2 loops for a total of 70 miles which would be my personal best. The big question for me was not the distance but how well I would do on the big climb at the end of loop 2.

    Here is a link to some photos:

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...&id=1136965785

    The first loop was 30 miles though wine country on the foothills just north of Lake Chelan. We gained about 1000 feet in the first 6 miles which got everyone's heart started. Some nice switchbacks followed by rolling hills and another short climb. A longer rolling decsent through a mix of vineyards and residential areas brought us back to the city park where we began.

    The second loop was 40 miles and headed through scenic rock outcroppings and great views down to the Columbia river. The roads were smooth with wide shoulders and very light traffic. A nice tailwind made swift going but when the loop turned back it became a headwind. Spent about 5 miles or so in the drops to save energy for the climb ahead. We crossed the river and then began the long climb out of McNeil Canyon.

    The sign left no doubt of what was ahead.

    The first four miles of this 2,200 ft climb were 7-9% with a few false flats. Very manageable - hard going at times but I was still able to maintain a decent cadence. I took short breaks every 10 minutes or so, gulping mouthfuls of warm gatorade, but also enjoying the scenery. So far so good.

    Pretty soon the road turned up sharply and the last mile and a half was 12% or more. Although familiar with similar grades on my local rides the length of this hill was far beyond anything I had experienced. It became harder to keep a reasonable cadence and so I alternated standing with sitting. When it became more and more difficult to turn the cranks without exceeding my anaerobic threshold I was forced to take more frequent breaks. I decided to walk while taking these breaks in order to keep making progress. At one point the SAG wagon stopped and asked if I was ok - not sure what to think about that....

    Slowly but surely I make it to the summit by alternating walking and riding. Cycling shoes aren't the best for walking and my feet were starting to burn. A couple of times I was tempted to just point the bike downhill but I stuck it out and made the summit!

    The ride down as exciting with a top speed of 47 mph - the road had wide sweeping turns, wide shoulders and virtually no traffic to speak of.

    The last part of the ride involved a 7% climb of 400 ft up out of the river valley back to the lake level. I was concerned that another hill would leave me gasping on the side of the road waiting for the SAG wagon but to my surprise my legs had recovered enough to maintain a very comfortable pace.

    What I learned:

    - I accomplished my goal of completing both loops for a total of 71 miles and over 5000 ft of climbing.

    - I feel that a century is in my reach - certainly so if the course does not involve as much climbing.

    - My current gearing (triple with 30T front and 25T rear) is adequate for my local hills with similar grades but for a long climb this steep I really need at least a 28T if not a 30T cassette.

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Congrats on the ride- For a first "Longer" distance this sounds like a good one to do--And you managed it.

    But on that climb- Gearing will help. Not certain if you are 9 or 10 speed. but a 28T on either will help- as will a 12/27 cassette. If you can get to that 1 to 1 ratio (Or close to it)then you can climb a mountain----any mountain- But it will still take practice.

    One thing you have not mentioned is Food and drink. High 80's point to plenty of liquid needed and I reckon on at least 1 litre of water per hour at a far lower temp. And feeding- Start before the event does, and don't stop snacking throughout the ride. Whether that be Energy bars or just Cereal bars or high in carbo-hydrates doesn't matter. Just make certain that you enjoy it.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  3. #3
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    Nutrition was not an issue - the ride was well supported and I kept well hydrated and fueled both before and during the ride.

    I have a 9 speed cassette (12-25). A 28 only gives me a 12% lower gear and I am not sure that is enough. I am thinking of getting one of Sheldon Brown's Century Specials (13-30) for such situations but I am not sure I want to be swapping cassettes all the time depending on the ride. Some questions:

    - Do any of you change cassettes depending on the terrain?

    - Would a 30T rear cog work with a Ultegra short cage derailer (I promise I won't use it with the big chainring!)

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    a 30t would normally require a long or Medium Derailler and if the range required on the crankset is too high then the long or medium will be required.

    And the problem with the wider range cassettes is the jump through the gears.

    Depends on the chainrings but it is possible to fit a 26t as granny. If you currently have a 52/42/30 then it could cause a problem going from the 42 as the jump for the legs would be too much. Although if you need low gears- when you have to change to the 26 on steep hills ---you need it. However if you have 50/39/30 then not so much a problem.

    But can assure you that as the hill climbing legs and lungs come in--28/28 is small enough. I have a triple 50/39/30 and use a 12/25 cassette. If the ride is going to be "Extra" hilly or steep then i change to a 12/27- but it does have to be really lumpy as I normally use the other bike with a compact crank of 50/34 and 12/27 cassette.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  5. #5
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    It is a 52/42/30 crankset. Not certain if the rear derailler arm is medium or short. It is a stock 2002 Lemond Beuenos Aires (Reynolds 853 steel frame with carbon fork).

    I sure like the step sizes on the 12-25 and would hate to give that up for everyday riding.

  6. #6
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    John,

    Good job!
    Sounds like that long hill was rough. I know what it's like to climb continually for a long time. Stopping is allowed.
    As far as gearing is concerned - with a 30 ring and a 25 cassette you need to go about 7mph to maintain a only a 70rpm cadence.
    With a 28 it's only 6.3mph - you probably know how hard it is to even keep up that. For me, below 70 RPM and I am relying on pure pushing leg strength because I find it hard to get much more out of the pedal stroke - it is no longer smooth - which means I develop even less overall power.
    BTW - I do change cassettes, I have a 12-15, 16-27 and just got an 11-28 for my birthday. I will be using that one for an upcoming century with 10K ft of climbing, with the big climb which is 2800' over about 9 miles at about 25 miles into the ride.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  7. #7
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    Thanks - yes, cadence is crucial. Focusing on really applying force throughout the entire pedal stroke helped but it took a big toll on the engine.

    I think my rear derailler has a medium length take up arm/cage from the looks of it. It makes sense given the fact that it is a triple front and a short cage in the rear would not take up enough chain slack in the worst case.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnTP View Post
    - My current gearing (triple with 30T front and 25T rear) is adequate for my local hills with similar grades but for a long climb this steep I really need at least a 28T if not a 30T cassette.
    My new bike came with a 50/39/30 triple and a 12/27 cassette. My old bike has a 30T granny ring with a 12/28 cassette which was assembled from two separate cassettes. I didn't want to lose any low gearing with the new bike, but I could not find a 12/28 cassette. Instead, I replaced the 30T granny ring with a 28T granny ring, and it works well. It will probably be less expensive than replacing a cassette. One of the posters here replaced his 30T with a 26T as I recall. Anyway, replacing the 30T ring is an option you can consider.

    By the way, congrats on the nice ride!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the ride report! I've had this ride on my list but never made it that far. It's great to see you went for the big climb, and even greater that you had a successful day.

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