Did the Natural Bridge Granfondo in VA, this past Sunday and got a 9th out of 22. Only 14 finished, with 8 DNF's. Scenery to die for, but a really hard ride. First climb was average 11% with 15% steps, about 3 miles long. After that, up and down, rollers and a whole lot of remaining steep climbs.
We had Hunter Allen give us a preview, but must admit the difficulty kind of surprised me.
30 years ago, I could climb that with a 42/18, this time around a 39/30 was not enough in some places, the joys of old age and a few extra pounds.
So, Campy compact crank set 34/50 is on the way, to use with a 12-30 cassette. One bike will be set up as the climbing bike. Not a nice feeling, but have to put the ego in my pocket.