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Old 04-29-11, 01:57 PM   #1
cooleric1234
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Copper Triangle Gearing

I'm planning on doing the Copper Triangle this summer and I'm wondering if I need to get a mountain rear derailleur and 11-32 cassette (I'm using Shimano). I currently have a compact crankset (50/34) with 11-28 cassette. Here's a little bit about myself:

My tall at 6'5" but reasonably skinny at 185 lbs (hoping to get it to 180 lbs by the event). I played competitive sports (basketball and volleyball) so I'm athletic but was never great at endurance. I've been cycling for a few years now. I've done Squaw Pass (last fall), Lookout a few times, and the >30 mile loop around Deer Creek Canyon. Of all those High Grade road gave me some difficulty in one stretch where it got steep. I was just about to get off and rest but knowing how steep it was I knew it would be hard to start again so I pushed through. It got easier off shortly after that. The other rides I handled fine. They weren't easy but I didn't feel like I was going to die. I'll be down about 10-15 pounds from when I did High Grade last, but I am recovering from shoulder surgery. I hope it won't impact my training (I'm cleared to ride now) but it may.

Any advice on how the Copper Triangle compares?
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Old 04-29-11, 02:54 PM   #2
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You'll be fine with what you have. There are a couple short steep sections on Vail pass, but if you pushed yourself through High Grade, you can do that on Vail too. You have lots of time to train. Continue riding long climbs.
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Old 04-29-11, 05:37 PM   #3
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the shoulder may complain more than the legs due to the rough road from construction this summer
==================================
The Colorado Department of Transportation will be re-paving the section of State
Highway 91 from Copper Mtn to Leadville this summer. As part of this project
they will be adding additional shoulder width to make the road safer for cycling
traffic. The project is scheduled to start beginning of June, and will continue
throughout the summer, and most likely part of spring/summer of 2012. Work days
and hours will be Monday thru Thursday, 6:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Fridays 6:00 am
to 12:00 noon. There will be no work on weekends and holidays. Cycle traffic is
not recommended during these construction times, but is not prohibited. There
will be delays up to 20 minutes, with only one lane open during majority of
construction. Also, please be aware that even during non-construction times the
condition of the road surface might be in a state of disrepair.
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Old 04-29-11, 11:00 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input. I guess I'll be regretting the aluminum bike purchase instead of the plush carbon :-) I'll be almost 5 months post-op at that time so hopefully it won't be too bad. I've just got to get out there and train now so I'll be able to handle the climbing without problems.
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Old 04-30-11, 08:10 AM   #5
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You'll be fine with what you have. There are a couple short steep sections on Vail pass, but if you pushed yourself through High Grade, you can do that on Vail too. You have lots of time to train. Continue riding long climbs.
agree, you're fine with what you have.
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Old 04-30-11, 08:35 AM   #6
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I'm planning on doing the Copper Triangle this summer and I'm wondering if I need to get a mountain rear derailleur and 11-32 cassette (I'm using Shimano). I currently have a compact crankset (50/34) with 11-28 cassette. Here's a little bit about myself:

My tall at 6'5" but reasonably skinny at 185 lbs (hoping to get it to 180 lbs by the event). I played competitive sports (basketball and volleyball) so I'm athletic but was never great at endurance. I've been cycling for a few years now. I've done Squaw Pass (last fall), Lookout a few times, and the >30 mile loop around Deer Creek Canyon. Of all those High Grade road gave me some difficulty in one stretch where it got steep. I was just about to get off and rest but knowing how steep it was I knew it would be hard to start again so I pushed through. It got easier off shortly after that. The other rides I handled fine. They weren't easy but I didn't feel like I was going to die. I'll be down about 10-15 pounds from when I did High Grade last, but I am recovering from shoulder surgery. I hope it won't impact my training (I'm cleared to ride now) but it may.

Any advice on how the Copper Triangle compares?
Only you can really say what gearing you need. It's your legs and your body that have to deal with the terrain. That said, there is nothing wrong with using an 11-32 or 11-34 (easier to find). It doesn't make you a lesser cyclist - just a wiser one

Think of it this way: An 11-28 is good if you only want small jumps between the steps on the gears...most of them at the high end of the range. An 11-32 has a 28 tooth gear in it but it has a couple of gears below that one with the gearing balanced more towards the low end of the range. Better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it

And an 11-32 is sooooo useful in Colorado. Mt. Evans?
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Old 04-30-11, 08:42 AM   #7
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Only you can really say what gearing you need. It's your legs and your body that have to deal with the terrain.
True, but not having done that ride I'm not sure what I can handle. I guess I could go "pre-ride" Vail pass and see how I do? Of course, in the actual event that comes at the end, after 60 miles of riding.

I wouldn't mind having the option of having that gearing, but the only concern for me is the cost right now. I don't really want to go spend a bunch of money on a derailleur, cassette, and chain if I don't need to.

Thanks for the input all, if anyone else can chime in the more the merrier!
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Old 04-30-11, 04:41 PM   #8
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True, but not having done that ride I'm not sure what I can handle. I guess I could go "pre-ride" Vail pass and see how I do? Of course, in the actual event that comes at the end, after 60 miles of riding.

I wouldn't mind having the option of having that gearing, but the only concern for me is the cost right now. I don't really want to go spend a bunch of money on a derailleur, cassette, and chain if I don't need to.

Thanks for the input all, if anyone else can chime in the more the merrier!
A Deore rear derailer can be had for around $30 on-line. A 9 speed cassette can be had for $20 at Performance (house brand) and a Performance house brand rear derailer can be had for about the same. A cheap chain and a little bit of garage work, and you'll be off and running. On the plus side, you'll learn how to swap a derailer if you've never done it.
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Old 04-30-11, 06:13 PM   #9
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A Deore rear derailer can be had for around $30 on-line. A 9 speed cassette can be had for $20 at Performance (house brand) and a Performance house brand rear derailer can be had for about the same. A cheap chain and a little bit of garage work, and you'll be off and running. On the plus side, you'll learn how to swap a derailer if you've never done it.
I don't think doing the work would be a problem. It just so happens that I picked up a CAAD9-1 on an incredible deal last year. If there's such a thing it's too much bike for me but it was the only one in stock in my size and heavily discounted. Call it OCD but I don't think I'd like to mix Dura-Ace with Deore, if I did it I'd want to do it right and get Deore XT and a 10 speed cassette and chain.
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Old 05-02-11, 08:17 PM   #10
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At a slightly overweight 180-something, I did it with a 36/23 bottom gear. I concede that I was cramping near the top of Vail pass (didn't stop for more water & electrolytes at East Vail), but I made it. Two more teeth on the cassette cog would not have been regretted.
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Old 05-03-11, 07:02 AM   #11
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I don't think doing the work would be a problem. It just so happens that I picked up a CAAD9-1 on an incredible deal last year. If there's such a thing it's too much bike for me but it was the only one in stock in my size and heavily discounted. Call it OCD but I don't think I'd like to mix Dura-Ace with Deore, if I did it I'd want to do it right and get Deore XT and a 10 speed cassette and chain.
Well, if you are going to go OCD then go all the way. XT doesn't mix with Dura-Ace...XTR does XTR derailers can be had for relatively cheap on Fleabay from time to time. Go to the swap meet in Boulder this spring and see what you can find. Your knees with thank you...in about 20 years
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Old 05-03-11, 10:33 PM   #12
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I also think you'll be good with the setup you have. Last time I did this ride I did it counter clockwise, starting at Copper Mtn, to Vail then Tennessee Pass, it was so fun!!! Start early, riding in lightening on this route is no fun.
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Old 05-09-11, 11:03 AM   #13
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34-28 should be just fine. The short steep on Vail Pass (right after the underpass) will be a grind no matter what gearing you have. Pre-ride it and enjoy - although there is likely several feet of snow on Vail Pass right now.
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Old 05-09-11, 12:49 PM   #14
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Thanks for the input all. I looked at an online calculator and it looks like the difference between 32 and 28 as the biggest cog would translate to a difference of just under 1 mph at the same cadence or a cadence difference of about 10 rpm at the same speed. That seems noticeable at the low end but not drastic. I think I'll just save up, try to keep climbing before the event, maybe pre-ride it if I can (I haven't been there, is that section along a bike path or frontage road or otherwise doable when not part of an event?), and make the change before the event if I feel I really need it or otherwise just go with what I have.

Now, if I ever get crazy enough to try Mt. Evans...that might be a different story
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Old 05-09-11, 04:25 PM   #15
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The entire Copper Triangle is totally rideable w/o the event, the roads are safe. I think I've done it 4 times, doing it again in a couple of weeks. The ridiculously steep section is very very short, and can be walked if needed, I bet you won't be the only one. It is on the bike path between Vail and Copper.

That route is absolutely gorgeous, by the way. Don't psyche yourself out about it, tons of people ride it, and there will be support. Train for climbing, the distance, and altitude if possible, pace yourself when you do it, and have fun!

Mt Evans doesn't have anything steep, the crux is there's not enough oxygen up there.
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Old 05-09-11, 07:27 PM   #16
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I do that Vail section at 71yo and don't walk a bit. Personally, I think Vail to Vail Pass is more difficult. But, I don't walk that either.

The most dangerous part is all the flatlanders bussed to the top of the pass screaming down without any skills and little control.
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Old 05-09-11, 08:01 PM   #17
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DnvrFox I love the Avatar. Last fall I was riding and got a goathead flat in my tire (new bike, hadn't got gatorskins yet). Then, like an idiot, I walked my bike over to the grassy area nearby so I could sit in comfort and repair the flat. Well, about 10 feet into it I noticed that I now had about a dozen goatheads in each tire. Goatheads and wind seem to be the major cycling negatives in the Denver area :-)
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Old 05-09-11, 08:13 PM   #18
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DnvrFox I love the Avatar. Last fall I was riding and got a goathead flat in my tire (new bike, hadn't got gatorskins yet). Then, like an idiot, I walked my bike over to the grassy area nearby so I could sit in comfort and repair the flat. Well, about 10 feet into it I noticed that I now had about a dozen goatheads in each tire. Goatheads and wind seem to be the major cycling negatives in the Denver area :-)
7 goatheads at CC S Park last week. Fixed things up, and 6 miles later another flat. Called the rescue wagon.
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Old 05-09-11, 08:22 PM   #19
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7 goatheads at CC S Park last week. Fixed things up, and 6 miles later another flat. Called the rescue wagon.
Yeah, after my last experience I started carrying two tubes and air cartridges now. I know everyone here seems to recommend the GP4000's but my gatorskins have worked very well so far and I'm sticking with that.
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Old 05-09-11, 08:29 PM   #20
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Yeah, after my last experience I started carrying two tubes and air cartridges now. I know everyone here seems to recommend the GP4000's but my gatorskins have worked very well so far and I'm sticking with that.
Well, I had GP 4000's on this bike - but they go right through the Gatorskins on my other roadie. My LBS guy says, and I agree, nothing stops a goathead eventually.

I have tried Armadillos also, they go through that. Goop will only hold about 80 lbs - enough to get you home, but it is not a riding pressure.

I always carry 2 tubes, a pump and a patch kit. Sometimes I just get tired of fixing flats from GH's - 4 this year so far.
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Old 06-10-11, 03:43 PM   #21
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You'll be fine with what you have. I'm from MO and do that route every summer. The climb up 93 is moderate and steady. The "climb" up Tennessee is very mild, considering you're already in th 10,000ft elev. range coming from Leadville. Battle Mtn gets you because you don't really expect it to be hard and it's not really but, it's just that you don't think it's going to be what it is. Vail is the hard one, mainly because you're basically climbing from Minturn on. The hardest part is after you go under 70. You kind of get your rhythm thrown off and then it steeps up for the finish to the pass. It'll be a workout but, very doable. The road work on 93 might be an issue. A year or two ago they were repaving 24 from Leadville to Tennessee Pass and that sucked for about 5 miles. That kind of stuff beats you up more than the climbing. Good luck and report back.
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Old 06-10-11, 03:47 PM   #22
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Thanks, I will. Did lookout this past weekend. Took me about 31 minutes from pillars to sign, pretty poor compared to my racing co-worker but I feel alright. Plan on tackling Deer Creek soon then doing that twice. That ought to be a good start to training :-)
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Old 06-19-11, 07:04 PM   #23
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I think I agree with everyone that I'll be alright with the gearing I have. I did High Grade yesterday and was able to keep my cadence up around 80 rpm and felt fine. Plan on training more obviously but at this stage I think that's a good sign.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/9...kVC9ylIc;email
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Old 06-19-11, 10:01 PM   #24
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Yep, you'll be fine. I have a similar time up Lookout and just did the Sunrise Century 75 mile course this weekend with a compact 50/34 11-28 with no trouble. Total climbing was only about 400' less than the Copper Triangle. One caveat though, I have also done High Grade with a 53/39 11-25 without too much trouble (definitely not at a cadence of 80 though! ;^)
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Old 08-07-11, 03:57 PM   #25
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So I did the ride fine yesterday. I rode with a couple of friends who weren't as strong and we stayed together until Vail pass. We took some good time at the rest stops (skipped the first one) so I was pretty fresh once I hit Vail. We started the ride just after 6:00 and were at the second to last rest stop at mile 65 at around 11:20. At that point we split apart and decided to regroup at the top. I hit Vail pretty hard then, passed hundreds of people and got passed maybe half a dozen times. After I went through the underpass and turned up the 12% grade that was pretty tough, but it was brief. I found that I couldn't handle mashing, I like to spin. So I had to go in the oncoming lane and stand and pass all the people going really slow or I felt I'd lose all momentum and not be able to stay upright (I don't know how those people did it). My heart rate went really high but I knew that it would be brief.

At any rate, after waiting 45 minutes at the top for my buddy my wife called and said she was looking at him at the finish line. I guess we had a miscommunication. Oh well, the brownies at the last rest station were AWESOME, thick, moist and chewy but not too much so, and filled with chocolate chips that still had some shape and hardness.

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/104645346

Now, Mt. Evans...I'm not sure I'm ready for that with an 11-28.
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