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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 07-03-06, 02:37 PM   #1
grahny
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Century Gearing

I'm going to be doing my first organized century for the LIVESTRONG Challenge in September and am just curious as to what long distance riders use for typical gearing.... other than you crazy fixed/SS folks out there ... I've done 60 mile flat rides with a mile 8.5% grade climb at the end no problem and I'm running a 38/46 cyclocross crank with an SRAM 12-26 cassette.

I'm sure it depends on the course itself (duh), but what have others experienced for as a typical course, especially for these charity type rides? The route isn't posted yet for the ride I'm going to be doing unfortunately. I'm not really concerned about it... I'm my biggest competition and stuff like this drives me to better myself... I'm just curious as to what other's have seen and what kinds of gearing they've used.

-Steve
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Old 07-03-06, 03:19 PM   #2
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The 46 seems low, if you want to hammer down the hills. I tend to just coast, so if your happy with it then I say go have fun.
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Old 07-03-06, 03:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grahny
I'm going to be doing my first organized century for the LIVESTRONG Challenge in September and am just curious as to what long distance riders use for typical gearing.... other than you crazy fixed/SS folks out there ... I've done 60 mile flat rides with a mile 8.5% grade climb at the end no problem and I'm running a 38/46 cyclocross crank with an SRAM 12-26 cassette.
I did all of my charity centuries (2x Multiple Sclerosis 150 in New Hampshire, 1x NYC-Boston AIDSride, 1x MS150 Great Mass Getaway in Boston) using a $400 hybrid bike so I'm probably not the best reference; but I can say that most charity rides were relatively moderate challenges, structured to make you feel like you earned something at the end of the day, but aren't so daunting that you would think twice about coming back the next year. They felt kinda tough on a hybrid, but I imagine that they're infinitely easier on a good road bike.

(fwiw, the old hybrid had a 42/34/24 crank with an 11-30 cassette, my current touring bike which I've been using brevets that have proven to be far more daunting than any charity course uses a 52/42/30 crank with an 11-32 cassette. The granny on the tourer sees a lot of use on brevets. Less so on other centuries)
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Old 07-03-06, 04:23 PM   #4
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I'll just say that the granny ring can be useful after all. I was in the process of finding a double crank to replace my triple prior to my last ride. I wanted to go lighter and besides, I never used the granny ring, I mean, never.

Then I recently did this century ride where it was virtually all climbing, the most serious of which began 2/3 of the way through and without that granny I'd have been doing some walking for sure.

Needless to say, I'll hold on to that triple!
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Old 07-03-06, 04:59 PM   #5
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Yeah, I think I'm going to try and change out the 46/38 for a 50/34 and use the 12-26 cassette... I'm hitting up the mechanics in the other forum for some opinions there too... I think that combo will give me what I'm looking for and suit me well on a century as well as the other type of riding I do.
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Old 07-03-06, 05:41 PM   #6
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I usually want to save my legs more than usual in centuries, so I might drop to my granny instead of staying on my middle ring.

The one I did recently had about 5K of climbing, with a couple half-milers at more than 10%.
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Old 07-03-06, 06:40 PM   #7
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If you are planning on doing a lot of drafting you might want to go with some higher gearing otherwise you're going to be spinning like mad trying to keep up. If you don't care, I'd go for the highest "low" gear that gets you up the steepest grade on the course. OK maybe one less 'cause you might be a little more tired.


FWIW I run a compact (50/34) with 12-27 for most long/climbing-intensive rides (>100 miles or >8000' of climbing). I'll be doing the Death Ride on July 8 with that combo; I've ridden several century+ rides (including one double century) all with over 8000' of climbing. But that's just me. Your legs and lungs are different...
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