Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Gearing and power for climbing Alpe d'Huez

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

Gearing and power for climbing Alpe d'Huez

Old 07-05-12, 11:09 AM
  #1  
milkbaby
blah blah blah
Thread Starter
 
milkbaby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 2,520
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Gearing and power for climbing Alpe d'Huez

To be clear, I'm asking about a simulated climb of Alpe d'Huez on an indoor computrainer. Can a crap cyclist like me complete it without falling into a coma by the end?

The lowest gearing I'll have is 39x25 on 700x23 tires. Guesstimate of functional threshold power of around 225 watts (3.8 watts/kg) based on road TT and online calculator, not powermeter so totally unscientific.

They have a setup for two people to ride it simultaneously side by side, and most of my friends are probably slower than me but probably have climb friendlier gearing (guessing 34x27). Will we get killed attempting this ride? Since it's on a trainer and not on the real mountain road, would it be better to ride on my MTB with wider gearing?
milkbaby is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 11:36 AM
  #2  
tombailey
awaiting uci approval
 
tombailey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 961

Bikes: Fuji Roubaix RC 06

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If it gets too hard then either stop or change settings on computrainer to make it easier.
tombailey is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 12:06 PM
  #3  
RollCNY
Speechless
 
RollCNY's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Central NY
Posts: 8,788

Bikes: Felt Brougham, Lotus Prestige, Cinelli Xperience,

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 89 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
A little research suggests that it is a little over an hour climb, with the worst of it in the beginning. Give it a shot.
RollCNY is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 12:36 PM
  #4  
Beaker
moth -----> flame
 
Beaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 5,913

Bikes: 11 CAAD 10-4, 07 Specialized Roubaix Comp, 98 Peugeot Horizon

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Seems like you're over thinking this for something that involves climbing on a trainer in your garage. Why would you think that gearing you'd need for the road would be anything like gearing you'd need on a trainer? It'll just be about whatever resistance it's going to put on your wheel to force you to generate a target wattage.
__________________
BF, in a nutshell
Beaker is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 12:48 PM
  #5  
datlas 
Beyond Bogus
 
datlas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Malvern, PA (20 miles West of Philly)
Posts: 28,289

Bikes: 1986 Alpine (steel road bike), 2009 Ti Habenero, 2013 Specialized Roubaix

Mentioned: 386 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8529 Post(s)
Liked 92 Times in 55 Posts
I have a friend who climbed it 6 times in a row (all in 1 day) last month as part of a fundraiser. I believe he used a compact crank and did fine with it.

Oh, wait...you are not talking about the real thing....never mind.
__________________
Originally Posted by RUOkie View Post
never underestimate the idiocy of BF.
Originally Posted by rjones28 View Post
Addiction is all about class.
Originally Posted by seedsbelize View Post
Better to just stay out of the 41
datlas is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 01:29 PM
  #6  
sbxx1985 
Senior Member
 
sbxx1985's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Colorado
Posts: 11,994
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1186 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
Seems like you're over thinking this for something that involves climbing on a trainer
This.
sbxx1985 is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 01:41 PM
  #7  
RoboCheme
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Moraga, CA
Posts: 1,701

Bikes: 2008 Cervelo RS, 2011 Scott CR1 Elite, 2014 Volagi Liscio

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
In May, I actually climbed the real thing on a triple with a 12-25 cassette. My FTP based on my PT is about 220 watts. I was nearly at my limit on the steep bottom section (11-12% for two miles), so I think that you'll be toast trying it with a 39-25.

At least, you'll avoid the Walk of Shame unless you consider stop pedaling to change the gearing the equivalent of the WoS.
RoboCheme is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 01:56 PM
  #8  
ColinL
Two-Wheeled Aficionado
 
ColinL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Wichita
Posts: 4,903

Bikes: Santa Cruz Blur TR, Cannondale Quick CX dropbar conversion & others

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
it's technically possible to climb that since not that long ago TdF riders were using 52/42 with a six speed freehub and a max of 20T. 42x20 is a hell of a lot of gear by modern standards, and while those guys were hard men they were also riding at really damn low cadence.

that's the theory at least. in reality, there's no way in hell I could do it with 39x25 and I very much doubt the OP can either.
ColinL is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 02:20 PM
  #9  
milkbaby
blah blah blah
Thread Starter
 
milkbaby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 2,520
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
LOL... I probably am overthinking it! Luckily since it is only simulated on the computrainer, I guess I won't slide backwards at any point and can just stop pedaling. They keep track of all the ride times and have some prizes for the people who participate. I prefer to wait until next year if I don't have a chance of finishing rather than failing totally; I'd rather skip it than be totally unprepared and poop out. It is pretty cool as they project video of the actual ride up Alpe d'Huez that advances at the simulated speed that you are riding.
milkbaby is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 02:30 PM
  #10  
ColinL
Two-Wheeled Aficionado
 
ColinL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Wichita
Posts: 4,903

Bikes: Santa Cruz Blur TR, Cannondale Quick CX dropbar conversion & others

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
you can use an online computer and I bet it will plot something way under 60rpm for your gearing and estimated power. probably 30ish.

like I said, that used to be just the way it was.
ColinL is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 02:43 PM
  #11  
Velo Vol 
VFL For Life
 
Velo Vol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 33,410

Bikes: Velo Volmobile

Mentioned: 579 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9854 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Be careful. If you blow up on the climb you'll have a long, humiliating walk all the way back to your La-Z-Boy.
Velo Vol is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 07:21 PM
  #12  
Dalai
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 2,137
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Alex Simmon's wrote an interesting blog article on the W/Kg required to ride Alpe d'Huez with chart estimating time.

http://alex-cycle.blogspot.com.au/20...r-mortals.html

I rode Alpe d'Huez twice last August (trip report in my blog). For gearing, I had specifically fitted a bigger cassette 13-29 for the trip, still using standard 53-39 on the front.

- The first afternoon on arriving in France when it was in the high 30's celcius and should have waited, but I wanted to open the ledger straight away! So hit the base of Alpe d’Huez in the 26 with no warm up and no plans to use the ‘emergency’ 29 as I’d never needed a 29 before… First couple of km’s are the steepest and tough! Suffered in the heat and sensibly finally shifted to the 29 after 3km in. Got to the top with no idea of my time as I first stopped at the banner in the village which was the weekly timed finish, not the TDF finish further up.

- Second go later in the week I tipped the odds in my favour; by warming up riding the flat road to Le Clapier first and hitting the climb in the morning. Although it was my fourth day on, I paced it well and was able to keep a steady power output. I also dropped into the 29 from the beginning this time and only using the 23 or 26 on the less steep hairpins. Ended up with a time of 58:40 321.9 Watts (78kg) including slowing to walking pace for ~150 metres as they had a market in the village just as you arrive!

Last edited by Dalai; 07-06-12 at 12:54 AM.
Dalai is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 08:11 PM
  #13  
rdtompki
Senior Member
 
rdtompki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Hollister, CA
Posts: 3,957

Bikes: Volagi, daVinci Joint Venture

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Your profile doesn't indicate where you live nor do you describe your climbing experience. If you live in Florida, you're probably hosed. If you live in Colorado, no sweat I would think. From some of the responses I would think you need to be very comfortable climbing 10+% in the gearing you propose. If not, you'll probably suffer.

Of course depending upon trainer calibration, etc., you might be able to spin up at 12 mph. when you're done, post stats and pictures.

Last edited by rdtompki; 07-05-12 at 09:27 PM. Reason: more useless commentary
rdtompki is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 08:32 PM
  #14  
Drag
Cardiac Case
 
Drag's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Dropped... about 5 miles back...
Posts: 2,894

Bikes: Trek, Cannondale, Litespeed, Lynskey

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
Seems like you're over thinking this for something that involves climbing on a trainer in your garage.
I think he needs to pay some people to scream, wave flags, and run around him in circles in a devil's outfit.
__________________
TITANIUMDIVISION
BF Great Lakes Forum
Drag is offline  
Old 07-06-12, 12:02 PM
  #15  
merlinextraligh
pan y agua
 
merlinextraligh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Jacksonville
Posts: 30,338

Bikes: Wilier Zero 7; Merlin Extralight; Co-Motion Robusta; Schwinn Paramount; Motobecane Phantom Cross; Cervelo P2; Motebecane Ti Fly 29er; Calfee Dragonfly Tandem

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 873 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
it's technically possible to climb that since not that long ago TdF riders were using 52/42 with a six speed freehub and a max of 20T. 42x20 is a hell of a lot of gear by modern standards, and while those guys were hard men they were also riding at really damn low cadence.

that's the theory at least. in reality, there's no way in hell I could do it with 39x25 and I very much doubt the OP can either.
Being a fat old guy from Florida, I'm no climber.

The time I climbed L'Alpe, I had a triple and enjoyed it, but I've also done HC tour climbs including the aubisque in l'etape, with a standard double and 12/27. Based on that I'm certain I could climb it with a 12/25. I'm also certain I'd be out of the saddle cursing my gearing choice for the first 2 km.
__________________
You could fall off a cliff and die.
You could get lost and die.
You could hit a tree and die.
OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.
merlinextraligh is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
mas354
Hybrid Bicycles
1
06-11-17 07:20 PM
SesameCrunch
Folding Bikes
5
06-20-10 07:13 PM
UniGeezer
Mountain Biking
18
10-27-09 02:06 PM
grantpodelco
Introductions
6
04-29-07 04:46 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.