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Advice requested: I think I am in over my head... (hills)

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Advice requested: I think I am in over my head... (hills)

Old 06-12-16, 09:37 AM
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Lightchop
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Advice requested: I think I am in over my head... (hills)

I've been biking ~12 miles per day this year, spread out over my typical 15 mile ride, 30 milers, a couple centuries, and rest days. I have signed up for a Gran Fondo in Asheville NC thinking it would be fun. The path rides through the mountains.

Signup page: https://granfondonationalchampionshi...stration-page/
Elevation profile: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/9176154

You can see there are some severe climbs of grade 10-ish.

My usual rides back home (Chicago suburbs) are like most of the midwest - flat. I'd guess the couple big "hills" on my rides are maybe grade 3.

I'm down in Atlanta these past two weeks and have been tracking some of the hilly rides I do down here. There are a couple hills that I used to have to stop on, but am making my way up them nowadays in my highest gear (34/28). And running the math on these, it turns out these are only grade 6 or 7. With a quarter-mile peak grade of 10.6, that I have to get out of my seat for.

I went out to a local trail here in GA (Silver Comet) yesterday to do a century and there is one hilly section that is VERY tough for me, that I was hoping was close to grade 10, but my math comes out to grade 7.

In short, I think I am in trouble for the Gran Fondo.

Given that my body weight will not be changing between now and the Fondo in 6 days, I was hoping to get some advice:
1) I ride a Trek 1.1 that has a compact crank (50/34) and Sun Race CSR86, 11-28, 8 speed cassette. I am considering stopping by a LBS here to see about upgrading my cassette. Could I just jump into an 11-32 or 11-34 while keeping my other components (eg derailer)? The derailer is a Shimano Claris (I think bottom of the Shimano line). Would this make a noticable difference?
2) In events like this with aid stations etc, should I remove my saddle bag? I presume I dont need to be carrying spare tubes, tools, snacks, etc?
3) Tire pressure for something like this - should I get them as firm as allowed?

I've been reading tips like this 5 Tips: Climbing Hills - Century Cycles - Cleveland & Akron OH. I tend to agree with the points, particularly to try and stay seated. Especially given some of these climbs are a few miles, I cant be out of my seat mashing gears.

Any advice would be welcome!
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Old 06-12-16, 10:31 AM
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Well, you're probably going to suffer, that's for sure!

It looks like you have two fairly steep hills in the middle that will be rough with your current gearing and then one longish hill near the end that will be rough with your current hill climbing ability. Nothing like putting the hills at the END of the course, eh?

1. Definitely see if you can get a 32 tooth cog on the back. That will make a world of difference for the steep bits. Maybe consider renting a bike if you can't get the gearing you need? If you have to do a little cross training while you're out riding, well, it's not the end of the world.
2. You should be self sufficient. You have no idea what the rest stops will have or if they will have run out by the time you get there.
3. Yep, pump 'em up.
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Old 06-12-16, 10:45 AM
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Yup. You are going to do some climbing.

I was in the same boat ( Death Ride in CA, 15k feet of climbing and 125 miles) a few years back and I just slapped a cassette with a big pie plate of a low gear on the bike and it was fine. I used 12-32 on a 10 speed cassette. Worked great, especially late in the day with tired legs on the last mountain pass.

My rear derailler is of the mid-cage variety so it worked fine. If you have a short-cage model you may not be able to fit a larger cassette. Also chain may need to be switched out.

You need to carry spare tube, pump or CO2, patch kit, and a multitool at a minimum so you can fix basic problems along the way. Also water and a snack or two in the jersey pocket is recommended. You never know how stocked the rest stations will be.

Enjoy the ride.

Last edited by 1242Vintage; 06-12-16 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 06-12-16, 10:53 AM
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EDIT -- there's the "medio" route, 60 miles and 4900 feet. It's the 100 mile route, with a big loop cut out of the middle. Sounds great! The Asheville area is my favorite place to go ride. And mile 55 to 60 is a long downhill, mostly shallow grades, which are the best type of downhill, with little need for heavy braking.

Get the mountain derailleur and a 32 or 34 low gear--see my comments at the bottom of this post.
Do the 60 mile instead of the 100 mile. That's plenty hard, but since you've done 100 mile rides, you should handle it okay.

Bring a spare tube and pump, and two full water bottles.

(I find these climbing rides to be easier the next time, since I have a better idea of what to expect, and how hard to go on each climb.) And it's a warmup / preview for next year's 100 mile ride, if you want!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About the 100 mile version:

That's a pretty difficult route. I think flatlanders can do long climbs without too much trouble, but long and steep are a problem.


Ridewithgps isn't always accurate on the grade percentages for short distances, but their average grade and elevation gain on longer climbs are usually quite accurate. You can drag to select a climb on the red elevation chart, then click the Metrics tab on the right for all the details.

That's a 100 mile ride, with 8800 feet of climbing.
My rule of thumb on long rides with lots of elevation gain is that each 200 feet of gain is like adding another mile. (Of course, a very flat ride with no wind would be unusual, and a lot easier than a typical fairly flat 100 miles.) So this ride is sort of like 100+44 more miles on the flats. But for a heavier rider, maybe just 100 or 150 feet of gain is like another mile!

I like climbing, and have the right gears for it. But I go for the 65 mile / 7000 feet type of rides. The 100 miles + all the climbing is too much for me.

Some samples from this route:

Mile 17, avg 4.6%, max 6.1%, 400 feet high. That's okay, a steady low gear climb.

At mile 29, a gradual uphill starts getting steeper. It's average 8.1%, max 10.5%, and 655 feet elevation gain.
That's sort of doable with a 34-28, but you could stay seated and use an easier cadence if you had a 34-32.

Mile 33 for 5.5 miles: this looks like a gradual uphill on the graph, but it's really a series of small, but somewhat steep roller hills, one after the other. A couple of these tiny hills would be easy, but this is a lot of them. There's 600 feet of climbing in this section.

Right after that is 7%, 700 feet. Another substantial climb.

...etc...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here in SW Ohio, we have 300 foot hills, and some are steep, 12% or more. Just about any rider that rides a few times a week for an hour or more each could do the local 5% to 6% climbs without any difficulty. But the 7% and 8% climbs are harder on the rider's legs, and they couldn't do those too many times on one ride. The 10%-12% climbs are doable if they are short, 100 feet or maybe 200 feet.

Swap out the rear derailleur.
Some of the riders have had their 12-27 or 11-28 converted to 11-32, or 11-34. It usually requires a mountain bike rear derailleur, and a new chain, but those aren't expensive, and the swap is easy. It's made a big difference on the steeper climbs. They can keep riding instead of being close to stalling out or having to stop during the climb.

Have them use a quick link, like an Sram Powerlink, on the chain, so you can have it easily changed back to your normal flatter riding cassette and derailleur. Swapping is fast and easy.

You'd probably like the change. But you don't have much time!

Last edited by rm -rf; 06-12-16 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 06-12-16, 10:56 AM
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Thanks guys. I'll stop by the LBS tomorrow for a larger cassette.

I really hope I won't need to change much else to get that working.
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Old 06-13-16, 03:24 AM
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Instead of switching out the rear cassette to a larger one I switched the front chainset to a smaller one - it gave me the same effect without having to change any components.
I needed to lower the gearing for a loaded tour in the Welsh mountains.

Not sure if this is an option for you, or a recommended change but it worked for me and was a simple switch.
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Old 06-13-16, 04:44 PM
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He's already got a compact crank, so the only option would be to find a triple, which might require a new front derailleur & shifter.

A cassette and mid cage read derailleur are probably cheaper and easier.

Originally Posted by steve2k View Post
Instead of switching out the rear cassette to a larger one I switched the front chainset to a smaller one - it gave me the same effect without having to change any components.
I needed to lower the gearing for a loaded tour in the Welsh mountains.

Not sure if this is an option for you, or a recommended change but it worked for me and was a simple switch.
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Old 06-13-16, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by steve2k View Post
Instead of switching out the rear cassette to a larger one I switched the front chainset to a smaller one - it gave me the same effect without having to change any components.
I needed to lower the gearing for a loaded tour in the Welsh mountains.

Not sure if this is an option for you, or a recommended change but it worked for me and was a simple switch.
I'm already on a compact (50/34). What did you go to? Oddly, I did inquire about this at the LBS today, and his response to me asking if its worth changing the crank was "at that point you should just get a new bike" !

Anyhow, my ordeal - I went to the LBS to get a mountain/climbing setup. He suggested upgrading the cassette. I asked if there was an 11-34 that would work with my derailer. They didn't offer the 11-34 but had an 11-32 and said it would work. He slapped it on, and I was out the door for $36!!! I was shocked, $25 part and $10 labor. ($1 uncle sam). Cassettes are such beautiful pieces of art, I'm so surprised it was only $25.

Anyhow, back "home" and get out on the road, conquering the hills nicely, I definitely felt the extra gear(s). Only managed 3 miles and didnt get to my troublesome 10+ grade hill because.... I froze up the chain. Picture below.


If you cant make it out - I've managed to get the chain in the large 50 ring on the crank (out of picture) with the large 32 ring on the cassette. This seems to be too large for the chain, and it froze.

So my questions now:
1) how do I fix this? I've tried to switch into the small ring or upshift the cassette to a smaller cog, but its jammed up. I didnt care to try taking off the wheel yet, but I suspect that aint easy!? I decided to come have a beer and type this up instead.
2) Is this setup wrong? ie should I have gotten a larger chain / different derailer? I did determine that it wouldnt let me shift up into the large cog while on the big ring, but somehow later on I managed to get in this mess. I beleive I was already in the small ring 34 & large cog 32 and then changed gears to the big ring 50. But I dont know why I would have done that!

Failing anything, I'll go have a hack after dinner, and if that fails, take it back to the bike shop.

Final thing - if indeed this requires a new chain and/or derailer, I think I will hunt around for an 11-34 cassette. Why not?
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Old 06-13-16, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
there's the "medio" route, 60 miles and 4900 feet....

....

Get the mountain derailleur and a 32 or 34 low gear--see my comments at the bottom of this post.
Do the 60 mile instead of the 100 mile. That's plenty hard, but since you've done 100 mile rides, you should handle it okay.
Thanks rm -rf, Trojan and Vintage.

I have taken your advice. I'll get there. I now think I can make it with the right climbing gears, and while I might start out on the 100-mile route, there is a bailout that I'll have in the back of my head. No shame in that for my first fondo (which just happens to be in the mountains arg!)

btw rm -rf - I just got your username as I typed it out. Many years ago I self-taught myself to do some unix admin in a small tech shop. I was dangerous. The only better commands in my arsenal was "su -" and "chmod 777". The latter fixed everything!
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Old 06-13-16, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Lightchop View Post
I'm already on a compact (50/34). What did you go to? Oddly, I did inquire about this at the LBS today, and his response to me asking if its worth changing the crank was "at that point you should just get a new bike" !

Anyhow, my ordeal - I went to the LBS to get a mountain/climbing setup. He suggested upgrading the cassette. I asked if there was an 11-34 that would work with my derailer. They didn't offer the 11-34 but had an 11-32 and said it would work. He slapped it on, and I was out the door for $36!!! I was shocked, $25 part and $10 labor. ($1 uncle sam). Cassettes are such beautiful pieces of art, I'm so surprised it was only $25.

Anyhow, back "home" and get out on the road, conquering the hills nicely, I definitely felt the extra gear(s). Only managed 3 miles and didnt get to my troublesome 10+ grade hill because.... I froze up the chain. Picture below.


If you cant make it out - I've managed to get the chain in the large 50 ring on the crank (out of picture) with the large 32 ring on the cassette. This seems to be too large for the chain, and it froze.

So my questions now:
1) how do I fix this? I've tried to switch into the small ring or upshift the cassette to a smaller cog, but its jammed up. I didnt care to try taking off the wheel yet, but I suspect that aint easy!? I decided to come have a beer and type this up instead.
2) Is this setup wrong? ie should I have gotten a larger chain / different derailer? I did determine that it wouldnt let me shift up into the large cog while on the big ring, but somehow later on I managed to get in this mess. I beleive I was already in the small ring 34 & large cog 32 and then changed gears to the big ring 50. But I dont know why I would have done that!

Failing anything, I'll go have a hack after dinner, and if that fails, take it back to the bike shop.

Final thing - if indeed this requires a new chain and/or derailer, I think I will hunt around for an 11-34 cassette. Why not?
You discovered the dangers of cross chaining. You should never do what you just did. I discussed this issue with my local bike mechanic recently regarding my wife's bike. She was running into problems cross chaining her 50 tooth ring with her 26 tooth cog. And, she wanted to switch the cassette from a 12 - 26 to an 11 - 32 so she would have an extra gear or two on long, steep climbs. Our solution was to remove the big ring from the triple, effectively turning it into an ultra compact double, so cross chaining (big ring to big cog) would be impossible. Obviously, not a solution for someone with a road compact double.

I suspect in your case, the chain and the rear derailleur are at their limit. Can you push the rear derailleur forward to get some slack in the chain? Can you get the back wheel off? Once you get this problem fixed, be careful of cross chaining. Use the big ring for fast flats and use the small ring for hills and slow riding around town.
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Old 06-13-16, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
You discovered the dangers of cross chaining. You should never do what you just did. I discussed this issue with my local bike mechanic recently regarding my wife's bike. She was running into problems cross chaining her 50 tooth ring with her 26 tooth cog. And, she wanted to switch the cassette from a 12 - 26 to an 11 - 32 so she would have an extra gear or two on long, steep climbs. Our solution was to remove the big ring from the triple, effectively turning it into an ultra compact double, so cross chaining (big ring to big cog) would be impossible. Obviously, not a solution for someone with a road compact double.

I suspect in your case, the chain and the rear derailleur are at their limit. Can you push the rear derailleur forward to get some slack in the chain? Can you get the back wheel off? Once you get this problem fixed, be careful of cross chaining. Use the big ring for fast flats and use the small ring for hills and slow riding around town.
Find a new shop. You needed a longer chain and possibly a longer cage derailleur. The shop that slapped on the new cassette should have checked for proper operation which would include big big and small small. They should also have checked the limit screws on the rear.
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Old 06-14-16, 03:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Lightchop View Post
I'm already on a compact (50/34). What did you go to? Oddly, I did inquire about this at the LBS today, and his response to me asking if its worth changing the crank was "at that point you should just get a new bike" !
Mine was a triple and I went from 48/38/28 to 48/36/24 - took me about 30 minutes to make the change. I guess it's not the same with doubles.
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Old 06-14-16, 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by steve2k View Post
I guess it's not the same with doubles.
A 34 tooth chainring is the smallest you can run on a compact double.

I would second the advice to find a new shop. They should have put a new chain on when they intalled the new cassette because your old chain is obviously too short. But also because when you suggested swapping to a triple they said you should just get a new bike. This shop is more interested in selling you something you don't need than giving you good service.

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Old 06-14-16, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by eastbay71 View Post
I would second the advice to find a new shop. They should have put a new chain on when they intalled the new cassette because your old chain is obviously too short. But also ...
Thanks. I dropped off my bike today, different (and closer) LBS. Getting an 11-34 cassette, new chain, and new derailleur. Get it back tomorrow (Wed).

If all goes well, I am hoping to have a couple rides before the fondo.

No rides today, instead after work, I drank beer, ate leftover bbq and leftover cake. I'll chalk it up to carbo-loading

I'm thinking a couple 30-milers Wednesday & Thursday, and just eat and hydrate well on Friday. 8am start on Saturday.
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Old 06-17-16, 11:41 AM
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Having done a century with 10,000 feet of climbing this year after only getting 65 miles in last year, I can offer some suggestions.
Last year I got to a hill at 65 miles and I had no energy. Had just come down a 3500 feet climb. Gotten to the rest stop and thought I could cut my century ride short and just do the 75 miles which I would be happy with. A few miles later, I had no energy. Hill wasn't steep, but I just felt lethargic. Only found out this year what the problem was. I was riding a 34 / 32 and honestly I can push up any hill with that up to a local hill which gets above 20 percent. The problem was I had no energy, so no gearing would have helped me. I found out my problem this year was hydration. As a bigger guy at 215 lbs, you will need to keep your hydration up. I was drinking one bottle an hour, which for me was not nearly enough. This year I drank around 1.5 bottles an hour and when I got to each stop, I would drink what I had left and fill both (2) bottles up. I did not have a problem this year, though I have trained all winter for this and other rides. Even with 1700 miles in this year, I was good up till about mile 90 and then I was tired. I was able to push on, but didn't finish with much to spare. Compare this to the week before where I did 3000 ft of climbing and completed around 6 hours and felt like I could have done another 25.
So my advice is get plenty of hydration in, get the best gearing you can.
Looking forward to hearing how it goes.
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Old 06-17-16, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Lightchop View Post
This seems to be too large for the chain, and it froze.
OK, so don't shift into your lower gear while in the big chainring, you'll probably be OK. This is probably too late for you, isn't the ride tomorrow?

I switch wheels around and keep the same chain and sometimes experience what you experienced when I'm in the wrong gear with a 32 tooth cog. For me it's because I didn't adjust the B-screw, the chain is long enough and I have a mid-cage derailleur but it's never the end of the world.
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Old 06-17-16, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
This is probably too late for you, isn't the ride tomorrow?
In fact it's today! Haven't been able to sleep well. Alarm is due to go off in 5 hours. Race begins 8am.

got the 11-34 installed and have done some hilly test runs. Only concern is the gap on this cassette, it goes from 26 rings to 34!

now back to sleep....
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Old 06-17-16, 11:45 PM
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a) it's not a race
b) if you need the 34, the gap won't bother you...

Good luck! Naturally, we all expect a full ride report, lessons learned & pictures as appropriate.
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Old 06-18-16, 05:33 PM
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Riding in Chicago as compared to Asheville is like sailing Lake Michigan to the Southern Ocean. No way to compare the two. In Chicago you need only one ring up front and a slow throw cassette with very little difference in gear 1 though 9. In Aheville, you need a granny gear or, at the very least, a somewhat smaller ring gear up front with a very large throw cassette.

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Old 06-18-16, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Lightchop View Post
In fact it's today! Haven't been able to sleep well. Alarm is due to go off in 5 hours. Race begins 8am.

got the 11-34 installed and have done some hilly test runs. Only concern is the gap on this cassette, it goes from 26 rings to 34!

now back to sleep....
This is sooo cool, doing the 100 mile. Epic! Waiting for the ride report.
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Old 06-18-16, 10:36 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by baron von trail View Post
Riding in Chicago as compared to Asheville is like sailing Lake Michigan to the Southern Ocean. No way to compare the two. In Chicago you need only one ring up front and a slow throw cassette with very little difference in gear
Yes, I kid you not, back on my old hybrid around Chicago with 27 gears, I literally never left my big ring! But riding in GA & NC, I see what the other rings are for.

Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
it's not a race
..
we all expect a full ride report, lessons learned & pictures as appropriate.
Well, technically there were 4 timed sections, each ~6 miles, so calling it a race seems appropriate. Of course, for me, it was just a marathon to see if I could finish.

Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
This is sooo cool, doing the 100 mile. Epic! Waiting for the ride report.
So, I’m not sure what form a “ride report” takes, but here goes. I think I’ll respond primarily in the form of Trojans “lessons learned”:

Day started off well. Alarm went off at 5am for the 8am start. Then I realized WTH am I doing up at 5am? So set all 3 separate device alarms for 6-6:15 and got some more sleep. Made it to the race parking by 7:30, got my stuff together, and headed to the start. First point of duty was to grab my timing chip, followed closely by using the toilet (I was hydrating since 5pm previous day).

Got a photo of the start line (see below). Pre-race ceremony included a woman singing of “America the Beautiful” (is this normal?) and then some general race rules – eg don’t crash, share the road, etc. One important thing was they had to make a detour around a bridge out, so the 99 mile journey was going to be more like 100.5 (and of course the detour involved climbing!)

Then off we went. I used RideWithGPS to record the ride. Here is a snapshot of my ride (note the elevation changes!!!)


If in fact this is public (I dont know), you might be able to see and play with all my stats yourself, here: https://ridewithgps.com/users/763059/activities

And the GFNCS website photo showing the AID stations:


First 25 miles felt great. Had lots in the tank, and stopped at the first AID station, and refueled (PBJ, drink, fruit, etc). The timed sections didn’t phase me – or more clearly, I did not alter my pace for timed sections (I was not racing!). Then came that nasty 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] green time trial (only for the 100 milers). First 4 miles were a decent climb, then went vertical (Grade 7-11) for 1.5 miles. Made that without stopping (in my new 34 cog, occasionally dropping to 26 and getting out of my seat), but was exhausted. And was very worried about the next similar hill. I oddly felt better on the second, and the end of that hill came sooner than I was planning (the detour was around marker 20 so the maps were off).

Before the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] AID station, I turned a corner to go up a brutal hill, and I couldn’t get into my small ring! So I pull off, and consider using a multi-tool to screw with the limit screws on the front derailer. But then I (thankfully) realized I could really make a mess of things, so instead manually (hand on chain) switched into the small ring, and decided I’d stop by the SAG at the next AID station. Somewhere before that AID station, I got back in the big ring, and was able to get back in the small, so not sure what was up. But spent a good amount of time at AID #2 , and the SAG twisted some limit screws for me and all good.

I also felt good on T-3 (through mile ~78). Stopped at the final AID station at MM 80. This is when I realized I was out of my own drink mix and had to consume their sponsor stuff (HEED and Endurolyte Fizz). For whatever reason, I could not stomach them. But no choice. Drank a ton, ate another 2 pbjs, fruit, etc and chilled, ready for the headline mountain with 6 mile, ~1500 ft climb.

I had been hovering around one guy who was generally on my pace, and after befriending him on the route, I asked if he was doing the big climb. (I was not fully committed – mind was strong but flesh was weak. In fact my mind mighta been suspect too!). He said he had told himself he was, so I buddied with him.

I had been on a slightly better pace than him for the day (he was arriving to AID stations after me and leaving before me), so he took off and we were to meet on the mountain. I drank some more and got some shade.

The next 3 miles sucked. Its easy to look at that elevation map and conclude "there’s only 3 climbs" but even those small roadbumps on the maps can be 200-foot climbs. I caught up to him at a stoplight, having not seen anyone for 3 miles. I was pretty thrilled to see him. I clipped out about 50 feet from him, and then there was some traffic, and it was uphill so I pedaled up and said hello and went to dismount – when I pulled the ultimate noob trick of being clipped in and falling over onto the curb! Not sure how that happened, I can only guess I had unclipped and then went back on the power and didn’t get back out. Thankfully only a broken ego.

The 6 mile climb sucked. First 1.2 miles sucked. Then I stopped and drank. I was getting low on the fluids – that I hated (HEED & Eurolyte). Another half mile. Stopped in the shade. Drank. This went on for 6 miles. Be it in the 34 cog spinning, or standing on the 26 (standing up on the 34 was futile). My buddy and I changed places every few minutes. I was out of water before reaching the crest and hurting. But I soldiered on and got over. Snapped a photo at the summit (also below). The only remaining trouble was the last climb, which while bad, was particularly bad because I wasn’t convinced I was on the route! The fear of finding out you’ve just climbed 300 feet for no reason was slightly irritating!
Last few miles, downhill, with a breeze, put a smile on my face.

What did I learn? Quite a lot:
1) Bring plenty of your own water mix. I was 2 or 3 packets short

2) I learned I suck on hills. I had been doing 15-mile training runs that had 1400 feet elevation changes (roughly same overall climb as the fondo), but the max grade was only 7 or 8%. While the Fondo definitely had some 15+. Why the RWGPS app says a max grade of 11.4%, I don’t know. But its wrong. Part of why I suck has to be that I am 250 pounds and am riding a 24 pound bottom of the line trek. And in fact, I’ve been in Atlanta for 2 weeks prior to this, eating my favorite places here (burgers, Mexican, bbq, beer, etc) so that number might be 260+! Google tells me a cinder block weighs 28 pounds – so I’d like to see what one of the 150lb riders on their 14lb bike would do if they had 4 cinder blocks strapped to them!

3) I believe rm –rf’s notion that 200 ft of climbing is approx 1 mile. Case in point, coming off of large hills, I found myself constantly on (feathering) the brakes – generally wasting my 1 asset – the potential energy I gained via my weight!

4) I learned I’m decent on flats. I did another century last weekend (old railbed in GA so generally flat) – and both then and here, I felt like a champ on the (few) flats.

5) Make friends at the race. Had I not befriended the guy on my pace, I might have convinced myself to bail before the final climb. We got through it together.

6) Cassette. The gap between 26 and 34 really is noticeable on my 8-speed cassette. I sort of kicked myself when I realized they had to put on a 9-speed derailer (and chain) to get it to work – it would have been a good time to go to at least a 9-speed cassette! I have to think any new bike purchase I do that I should investigate an 11-speed paired with a compact crank. Like an 11-32. Why not? Surely there must be a reason.

7) I learned that in my big/ring & small cog that I spin out when powering-on around 30 mph. I took this to mean that if I found myself coming off a climb and by the time I was in the 50/11 and was already at ~30 – don’t bother pedaling. Though I did get up to 41 mph today (It was early and a good straight stretch on good roads). Not sure how I explain that.

8) Sensitive point – NSFW J - I somehow managed to chafe the end of my private part starting at mile 60. This has happened to be before back in my marathon days, and I learned to wear tight underwear. But I was wearing my padded tight spandex today (under my favorite shorts). Not sure why this happened as it is a tight fit, but upon inspection there is a seam going down the front middle. Hmm, that being said I use these underwear on all my long 60 & 100 mile rides and never a problem before.

9) I nearly paid the $3 for the turn-by-turn directions from RWGPS (3 day trial of RWPGS). But in speaking with a racer the previous night, he said the route was well-signposted and no need. Glad I didn’t pay it, as my intent is to find an app that does power, cadence, gps etc etc etc. I’ll pay for that once it becomes clear what it is. I will say though, that RWGPS is the only free app that Ive found which does a nice job of elevation maps, which I relied upon to boost my confidence in the training days and weeks before. Surely my battery would have died had I had the app display lit / talking to me for 100 miles (8 hours and 44 minutes!). As it was, I ended the ride today and my phone had 20% battery left, with just RWGPS running and display off.

10) Full disclosure – I love RWGPS free app.

11) More full disclosure – I actually did miss one turn when I was by myself for 10 miles – thankfully I caught it as I rode by and backtracked all of 200 feet (of course up a hill!)

12) Learned I need to be more aware of clipping out. What do you do when you clip out and then get back on the power? I don’t really recall, but I think my intent was to pedal with my heel on my right side just to keep moving a bit more. Or should this never happen?

13) After the race started, I realized I had not reset my odometer! Can’t call a Do-Over!!! This has never happened, I am religious about this. Wasn’t too bad, at the first Aid station I just set the odometer to whatever my RWGPS app said. But perhaps I need a pre-ride checklist. Much like pilots have for approach and landing.

14) Wear sunscreen. Though it would have sweated off in the first 10 miles, I got burnt on my arms.

I think that is all. Surely there is more, but I’m a bit sleepy!

And wowza – the results are in. my race result : : Gran Fondo Asheville 2016=

If you look at the Gran Route results, I came in 78[SUP]th[/SUP] out of 100. But that is a bit misleading, as technically I only beat 2 other guys that finished all 4 time segments. Though I find solace in the fact that it also means that most of the other 20 at the bottom bailed on the final hill. I think the guys that skipped #2 bailed by choosing the 60 mile route at the first AID station.

I bet I would have won:
1) Heaviest rider
2) Cheapest bike

Shame there is no prize for this Though after going through 2 new casettes and a new derailer, perhaps it’s not the cheapest bike.

The startline:

Me on the summit:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
GF Asheville RWGPS.jpg (85.5 KB, 127 views)
File Type: jpg
2016-06-18 07.45.05.jpg (101.3 KB, 133 views)
File Type: jpg
2016-06-18 16.15.44.jpg (97.6 KB, 142 views)

Last edited by Lightchop; 06-18-16 at 10:57 PM. Reason: Formatting
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Old 06-19-16, 09:13 AM
  #22  
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Your not in over your head anymore- looks like you chewed that ride up and spit it out

great job and nice write up
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Old 06-19-16, 02:52 PM
  #23  
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Sounds like you did a great job, congrats!
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Old 06-19-16, 06:04 PM
  #24  
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Great review and one That I will use to help prepare for my own hilly adventures.
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Old 06-19-16, 06:22 PM
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Deleted. Didn't read the whole thread

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