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What sort of cassettes do pros use during hillclimbs?

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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

What sort of cassettes do pros use during hillclimbs?

Old 12-21-10, 08:17 PM
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baribari
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What sort of cassettes do pros use during hillclimbs?

Can someone tell me what a typical pro setup is for a hill climb, such as in the TdF?

I have to admit some of the mountains around here are tough, even with a compact crank.
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Old 12-21-10, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by baribari View Post
Can someone tell me what a typical pro setup is for a hill climb, such as in the TdF?

I have to admit some of the mountains around here are tough, even with a compact crank.
In the ToC, everyone I saw on the Big Bear climb (including people like G. Hincapie, J. Voigt, A. Schleck, L. Leipheimer, M. Rogers, F. Cancellara, etc.) were using 39's with either a 25 or 27 in the back.

I know that C. Sastre has been known to use a compact on some stages in the TdF.

Guys who ride in the TdF are different than you and I so it might be better to just use what gets you over the hill (or mountain)
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Old 12-21-10, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by baribari View Post
Can someone tell me what a typical pro setup is for a hill climb, such as in the TdF?

I have to admit some of the mountains around here are tough, even with a compact crank.
Is climbing a mountain on a bike ever easy?
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Old 12-21-10, 08:25 PM
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On at least one of the stages in the 2010 Giro, several riders were using compact cranks, and Vino also had a 32 in back! That's some low gearing. But I think the grades were over 20% in some of the ramps.
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Old 12-21-10, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by kimconyc View Post
Is climbing a mountain on a bike ever easy?
That depends on the grade and how hard you ride. One of the trips I rode up Mt. Hamilton, this past fall, my HR didn't break out of zone 2.
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Old 12-21-10, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by kimconyc View Post
In the ToC, everyone I saw on the Big Bear climb (including people like G. Hincapie, J. Voigt, A. Schleck, L. Leipheimer, M. Rogers, F. Cancellara, etc.) were using 39's with either a 25 or 27 in the back.

I know that C. Sastre has been known to use a compact on some stages in the TdF.

Guys who ride in the TdF are different than you and I so it might be better to just use what gets you over the hill (or mountain)



Oh, sounds more or less like a stock double...

I think my bike is a 34-27, but I find to get over the REALLY tough hills I have to switch from regular push down pedaling to full-circle pedaling, which gives me more power but is much more tiring.


Originally Posted by JoelS View Post
On at least one of the stages in the 2010 Giro, several riders were using compact cranks, and Vino also had a 32 in back! That's some low gearing. But I think the grades were over 20% in some of the ramps.
A 32 in the rear would make it pretty easy. Lol. I wonder if my 105 5700 rear derailleur would be able to take a gear like that? I think my old bike had something similar, since it had mountain bike gears.
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Old 12-21-10, 08:32 PM
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55x11s on 20%s but then they're all juiced up.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by baribari View Post
I find to get over the REALLY tough hills I have to switch from regular push down pedaling to full-circle pedaling, which gives me more power but is much more tiring.
In before the "pass the popcorn" reference!
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Old 12-21-10, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by baribari View Post
I think my bike is a 34-27, but I find to get over the REALLY tough hills I have to switch from regular push down pedaling to full-circle pedaling, which gives me more power but is much more tiring.
I always find it more tiring when I put out more power.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by baribari View Post
Oh, sounds more or less like a stock double...

I think my bike is a 34-27, but I find to get over the REALLY tough hills I have to switch from regular push down pedaling to full-circle pedaling, which gives me more power but is much more tiring.
I'm no pro. Not even worthy to be here but there's no qualifying and they let anyone in. Anyway, I have a compact with 12-27 and find it quite difficult on steep climbs around here (like 12-14%). I end up doing around 30 rpm and 5 mph if I'm lucky and sometimes my HR gets rather high and I run out of steam so end up stopping. I just started doing this though and I can tell I'm getting stronger so maybe eventually I'll be fine. However, I've been thinking of getting a 12-32 to give me a bit more on the low end.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I always find it more tiring when I put out more power.


Obviously more power means more fatigue, but in this case I mean that the correlation between fatigue and power changes due to using leg muscles that aren't usually used to generate power.

Meaning proportionately more fatigue for every bit of extra power (while sitting).
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Old 12-21-10, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I always find it more tiring when I put out more power.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I always find it more tiring when I put out more power.
+1...especially launching an attack can be quite exhausting.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:39 PM
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It depends.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by baribari View Post
Oh, sounds more or less like a stock double...
I think my bike is a 34-27, but I find to get over the REALLY tough hills I have to switch from
regular push down pedaling to full-circle pedaling, which gives me more power but is much more tiring.



A 32 in the rear would make it pretty easy. Lol. I wonder if my 105 5700 rear derailleur would be able to take a gear like that? I think my old bike had something similar, since it had mountain bike gears.
You have it backwards. It's regular full circle pedaling.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:45 PM
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Depends on the mountain. In the 2010 Giro, a 39-26 was used on Monte Grappa and a 34-29 on Monte Zoncolan.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by kuf View Post
You have it backwards. It's regular full circle pedaling.
'ankling' is overrated.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I always find it more tiring when I put out more power.
Woosey.
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Old 12-21-10, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by rufvelo View Post
'ankling' is overrated.
not the same thing. he's talking about not usually pulling up, and only pushing down
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Old 12-21-10, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by kuf View Post
not the same thing. he's talking about not usually pulling up, and only pushing down
I get what both of you are saying...can I just say that ' 'ankling' is overrated'
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Old 12-21-10, 10:49 PM
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I hear ankling gives you cankles
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Old 12-21-10, 11:03 PM
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Jens Voigt uses an 11-11-11-11-11-11-11-11-11-13
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Old 12-21-10, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by kuf View Post
You have it backwards. It's regular full circle pedaling.
If you've got the energy and stamina to CRANK the pedals 360 degrees the whole time, feel free to do so.

But MOST of the power in the pedals comes during the downstroke.

Pedaling in smooth circles is great, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about brute force cranking so I don't have to stand up in order to get the same wattage.

Personally most of the time I'm doing something more like the pistons of an engine. Pushing down and pulling up, and letting the 'flywheel' and my joints do the spinning (just like an engine. and just like an engine, most of the power comes from the downstroke).


But my question is what is a good big gear for an area that's 70% mountains.
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Old 12-22-10, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by baribari View Post
But my question is what is a good big gear for an area that's 70% mountains.
A good gear for a 200+ lb rider with 240W FTP? Or a 145 lb rider with 300W FTP? Or a 140lb TDF domestique with 390W FTP? Impossible to say without some additional info.
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Old 12-22-10, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by baribari View Post
Obviously more power means more fatigue, but in this case I mean that the correlation between fatigue and power changes due to using leg muscles that aren't usually used to generate power.

Meaning proportionately more fatigue for every bit of extra power (while sitting).
You're more likely just going anaerobic to get the extra power. Pedaling in "full circles" is a bit of a meaningless term and generally means you are unweighting the pedal on the upstroke. The vast majority of power still comes from the downstroke.
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