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My 11-34 cassette is so sweet

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

My 11-34 cassette is so sweet

Old 07-31-10, 09:28 PM
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My 11-34 cassette is so sweet

If you've followed this thread, you know I've been trying to get some lower gearing for the hills around here. It's a long story, but it turned out to be quite simple and my LBS installed a Deore XT RD and a IRD 11-34 cassette yesterday and I tried it out on the climb that was the focus of this effort.

But first some background. This hill is about 3 miles long and averages about 8.5%. The problem is that there's some downhill so the average climbing % is more than that and the last half of a mile ranges from 14-18%. This last part is just a killer and I could barely turn the pedals over with my 34-28 low gearing. (Yes, that is already a pretty low gearing, but there are some of us who aren't that strong and are in that phase of life where we've been losing 1% of muscle per year for a number of years now.)

So, I decided to do a little experimentation. I rode my backup bike with a triple up the hill . The 30-28 low gear seemed to help a lot. I was able to spin (a very relative term here) a lot more and was able to put out a few more watts. The top was a lot more doable and I wasn't on the verge of walking like I was with the 34-28. I was able to cut my time by a little less than a minute.

So, having not bought any bike stuff of any significance in quite awhile, it was an easy rationalization and I got the 11-34 cassette installed.

The ride up my Mt. Doom was quite a bit easier. I was able to keep my cadence above 55 (compared to the low 30's with my 34-28) and I was able to increase my power output. I was able to cut a full two minutes from my best time with the 34-28. Although there was a real benefit at the steep sections, I think that it was equally as beneficial to "spin" in the 8-10% sections. Definite power increase there, too (I have a PT, BTW).

In summary, I'm very happy with my choice. In my mind, I was confident that I had HTFU enough, and going back to a triple did not excite me. (nothing to do with perception; I just didn't like going back and forth between chainrings)

I can't wait to try it on our local mountain (11 miles, 3200 feet) and I'm also targeting a local hill in town that I've only been able to get halfway up. It's a third of a mile at 19%. I need goals and challenges and that certainly is a good one.

It's all good and thanks for reading.
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Old 07-31-10, 09:30 PM
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Good job. Can you post some more details about this ride? Ie, where it starts and ends. I'm in the East Bay area and I'd like to come out and try it. Sounds very challenging!

Bob
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Old 07-31-10, 09:38 PM
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19% is sick. We have a few of those around here but they are very short. You'd be going, what, 2-3 MPH?
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Old 07-31-10, 09:51 PM
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https://www.strava.com/segment_efforts/1662129
Originally Posted by bobonker
Good job. Can you post some more details about this ride? Ie, where it starts and ends. I'm in the East Bay area and I'd like to come out and try it. Sounds very challenging!

Bob
It's out of Orinda. My friends and I do it quite frequently out of Orinda BART. If you want to join us the next time, PM me your email address.
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Old 07-31-10, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by dstrong
19% is sick. We have a few of those around here but they are very short. You'd be going, what, 2-3 MPH?
or maybe 0 mph.
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Old 07-31-10, 10:14 PM
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I'm gonna need one of those 11-34 cassettes now that I've gained 23 lb over the course of my wife's pregnancy. Shaving a couple pounds off a wheelset will never matter to me again.
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Old 07-31-10, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight
I'm gonna need one of those 11-34 cassettes now that I've gained 23 lb over the course of my wife's pregnancy. Shaving a couple pounds off a wheelset will never matter to me again.
Congrats on the baby, I have gained more than my wife has since she got pregnant 6 months ago, she has been calling me fat-ass lately. I need an 11-34 and some hills too, tired of these flats.
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Old 07-31-10, 10:28 PM
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Glad that got resolved. For that hill, are you taling about Toyonal? If so, that's a nasty one for sure.

JB
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Old 07-31-10, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by corbett1010
Congrats on the baby, I have gained more than my wife has since she got pregnant 6 months ago, she has been calling me fat-ass lately. I need an 11-34 and some hills too, tired of these flats.
Tell her to be nice since you're having a sympathetic pregnancy. Congrats on the upcoming addition.
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Old 07-31-10, 10:34 PM
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I just installed a triple on my commuter. These steep hills are so much easier now. It use to be a 52/42. Now it's a 52/42/30.

The lower gear makes such a big difference on the steeper hills. However, I'm running a 11-28 and wish I had some better spacing in the lower gears, like a 12-25.
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Old 07-31-10, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanb715
Glad that got resolved. For that hill, are you taling about Toyonal? If so, that's a nasty one for sure.

JB
See post #4 of this thread
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Old 07-31-10, 10:43 PM
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OK, missed the link. I'll admit to wanting an extra gear or two each time I've ventured onto that (and I've never done it along with all those other cllmbs on the East Bay Death Ride - that just looks brutal).

JB
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Old 07-31-10, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanb715
OK, missed the link. I'll admit to wanting an extra gear or two each time I've ventured onto that (and I've never done it along with all those other cllmbs on the East Bay Death Ride - that just looks brutal).

JB
Now that I have a 11-34, Beaker thinks that I have no excuses for avoiding Marin Ave. (one of the EB Death rides). Little does he know that I actually know my limitations. I think that he wants to get back at me for wrecking his focus when he was going up Marin and I was just taking pics.
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Old 07-31-10, 10:55 PM
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Robo, there's a climb like that here in central PA, it's not steep really, but it's longer and it's a Cat2 climb (by mapmyride)

https://www.mapmyride.com/route/detail/20737170/
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Old 07-31-10, 11:05 PM
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For you folks who aren't familiar with the East Bay, here's the ride that I think is the hardest of the five climbs of the East Bay Death ride. It averages 16.5%, but the last couple of blocks are in the mid 20%s.

https://www.strava.com/segments/518565
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Old 07-31-10, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by eddiepliers
Robo, there's a climb like that here in central PA, it's not steep really, but it's longer and it's a Cat2 climb (by mapmyride)

https://www.mapmyride.com/route/detail/20737170/
Thanks. Here's our local hill. 3200 feet of climbing in 11 miles with the last 200 meters of 15%.

https://www.strava.com/segments/254731
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Old 07-31-10, 11:17 PM
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Congrats on your decision. I'm from S. CA and although I've ridden a little around Orinda, I've missed that climb. I'd love to try that and Marin Ave. one day.
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Old 07-31-10, 11:55 PM
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you guys are nuts! so your chainring is the same size as your cog!?! I'm definitely not a climber, but living in the bay area, every ride over 50 miles seems to involve more than 4,000 of climbing. this year I've climbed mt. tam, diablo, and hamilton, as well as the usual climbs up to skyline blvd and have not climbed anything that steep...nor do want to! my 34/25 is working well for me for my road bike, but I may go to a 34/32 for the cross bike.
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Old 08-01-10, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by RoboCheme
I think that he wants to get back at me
Who, me?





By the way, you have mentioned Marin *twice* in this thread without my prompting. I see more suffering in your future.
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Old 08-01-10, 09:44 AM
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I've got that same setup on my cross bike and it's great...perfect for the 20-25% hills in my hood.
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Old 08-01-10, 09:50 AM
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Ideal, i went with the double on my Allez elite, and luckily i have youth on my side or i think some of the hills in sunny Cornwall that i ride on would have bettered me. I never realized how much of a difference a triple actually made.
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Old 08-01-10, 10:00 AM
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I did the Seven Hells of San Francisco ride a couple weeks ago and one of the older guys there had an 11-34 with a 30t in the front. He was still spinning up the 28% hills. I was stuck zig-zagging up with my 39/27 combo. You should consider coming along on next year's Seven Hells - give those gears a work out.
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Old 08-01-10, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by liquefied
I did the Seven Hells of San Francisco ride a couple weeks ago and one of the older guys there had an 11-34 with a 30t in the front. He was still spinning up the 28% hills. I was stuck zig-zagging up with my 39/27 combo. You should consider coming along on next year's Seven Hells - give those gears a work out.
I'm in Potrero...do you have a link/etc. to where that ride goes?
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Old 08-01-10, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by c0lnago
I'm in Potrero...do you have a link/etc. to where that ride goes?
Here's an article about the ride. There are links to to the route and a map at the bottom. https://www.sfbike.org/main/seven-hel...rancisco-ride/
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Old 08-01-10, 11:33 AM
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Awesome, thanks...sorry I missed it...
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