London 100 climbing issues, advice needed; and a story.

by bikeboy76   August 6, 2013  

So I finished the London 100. Having finally found the Excel centre and been overjoyed at the sensation of lifting a 5.2kg bike on exhibit, and after a rubbish hot nights sleep at a local hostel; I got up at 4:30am and found my way to the start. The first sections through London were on wonderful cool open empty motorways with only marauding groups of fast riders appearing on the right, I tried to get a pull out of them for a couple of miles before getting dropped for another group.

The trouble started when I got to the first of the big climbs, pushed but had to take it down to my smallest gear. I was suddenly suffering. I struggled on but decided the trees were inviting me to stop and have a pee. Well it turned out I really didn't have to go and when I got back on a bit more collected it turned out I was near the top. Things got worse at Leith Hill were I had to stop twice. Once on the straight lane upwards when I had gotten down to 7kph with head and heart thumping. It was at this point that finishing the course became the priority not keeping my target; I did wonder why I couldn't and all these other people could keep going. I just could not walk my bike up the hill. It took terrible force to get going and my left shoe would just not clip in but I wobbled back on and upwards to an inviting gravely bend. Others were stopping there. A friendly resident who had seen it all before promised it was only 400m to the top and that Box Hill was a doddle compared. I am not sure that 400m was true but Box Hill was indeed easier. The smooth road surface for the Olympics was wonderful. I did just shift down and stayed left and let everyone else go by, but I promised myself not to stop, and I didn't. The view at the top was majesty but brief. I found mostly there wasn't much chance to watch the landscape, so watching the road surface, picking lines around traffic islands and what kit people were wearing was what I was doing. Especially if there was one jersey going at a similar speed who I kept dropping on the downhill and flat but kept somehow catching up.

After about 20miles my top gear had come loose, the 11T ring spins; I've tried tightening it up as much as possible but sometimes the torsion just sends it spinning loosely. There is a lot I can do with 12T and cadence but every now and again on a fast downhill you still want everything you can get. Even so some hills were so fast you just had to get aero and enjoy the ride. The top speed I got was 73.2kph; which was exhilarating, I was thinking, this was great 'free' speed and I don't have to pedal, but don't crash or you will die. I haven't felt like that since I stopped kayaking, picking lines came back to me quickly. I did wonder sometimes when I glanced over my right shoulder to move across, if there might be someone coming up behind me quickly we could clip wheels and send us both down, but most of the time the people approaching would have an annoying but expensively clicky freewheel noise as a warning.

I had to stop twice more for a couple of minutes each on the long rolling route back to London, my body was now in new territory, I had never done more than 100km or the amount of climbing before and I just had to stop to stretch my back and shake my legs. I felt like I was just going slower and slower due to pain and a stop would speed me up in the long run.
As I was struggling into the last 15 miles there was a guy stood at the side of the road around Henley. He was a big fella, looked like he went to the gym a fair bit and wasn't a cycling type, but he was holding up a hand written sign on cardboard, it read: 'THE PAIN IS LEAVING YOUR BODY.' I looked up at him, he smiled and point to me with a downward swooping finger that said 'yes, you.' I laughed out load as I swished past, but from then on I did think I could control the pains and push on to the finish. My lower left back was a stitch of pain; my right big toe was throbbing, it just flattens itself against my shoe, the force just seems to go through there; the palms of my hands feeling every judder. Coming about the corner at Wimbledon there was a big cheer, I looked around at the gap behind and wasn't in any group, there was 50m either way, and they were just cheering for me, or maybe for my GB kit?

Coming down the hill through Putney on the right of the road and over the bridge I maxed it out again and got really tucked down and though 'Ha, now I am Vinokurov [that fink]' I now recognized every part of the route from the finale of the Olympics. Having lost the use of my 11T ring earlier I discovered that the 12T doesn’t engage until you are under 46kph, that little nugget of knowledge gained made me laugh again.
As we charged north of the river I saw some familiar jerseys that had been dogging me for the last 40miles and I just kept pushing and sped past them. Then as we got onto one of the blue lanes a group started to build along Millbank, a motorbike outrider appeared in front of us and slowed the pace to about 25kph 'uur whats the hold up' (turns out something to do with the pedestrian crossings) but he quickly peeled off. He had build up a group of about 25 riders and there were whoops and a shout of 'Have it Boys!' We stormed through Parliament Square and Whitehall at full tilt. There was a massive crowd cheering the turn at Trafalgar Square and under Admiralty Arch. One final sprint up The Mall to the finish and I felt a bit emotional at the end. The support was wonderful and I though this was all a bit amazing. The event was supposed to be me 'doing' the Olympics course and that is exactly what it turned out to be and I was surprised just how much it had all changed around since the top of Leith hill.
Just as I crossed the announcer said that the 4000th finished has crossed in my group. I though back to the hundreds of people who had passed me every time I stopped for a drink or to stretch my back, or the hundreds who just passed on the hills and was surprised it wasn't more. In the end my time was 6:02:02 (d'oh), according to my computer my moving time minus stops was 5:34:25. Off my target 5h20/ 30kph average but having never covered the distance before factoring in the extra stops was something I didn't plan for.

So now I have the Etape Cymru coming up to finish the summer. But after my desperate climbing performance in London (797m) the Etape (1680m elevation gain) seem like I have bitten off more then I can chew. I am 36 (nearly 37, yep) years old, 90kgs, fittish but carrying a 'desk' belly. There isn't much I can do to loose more weight this year. Can I buy my way to a bit better climbing?
I mostly train in south Manchester/Cheshire, which is quite flat. I finished the Great Manchester Cycle 2013 52miles in 2h26, but that is pan flat. My preparation for that was ideal but I just couldn't find the hours to get enough hill climbing or distance done. I now have a couple of weeks off before the Etape but worry that with my current gears I just can't cope. I wonder what everyone else was using or if I just haven't done enough. My current cassette is 11-25T and needs replacing. I wonder what extra I can fit on the back without changing my derailleur? The Etape has 6 cat1 climbs compared to 1 of Leith Hill. I have to do something or abandon it for this year. Can anyone suggest what cassette I should buy? (Sorry for the long preamble to the question.)

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Tony Martin mashes a big gear so did jan ullrich so I say ride your double if your strong enough to power a 53/11 along the flat.

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
8th August 2013 - 6:26

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Time trials are a little different, I think. And holding Ulrich up as an example of anything is daft. EPO is a helluva drug.

posted by bashthebox [625 posts]
8th August 2013 - 8:33

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I also work in the centre of Manchester (commuting in from Flixton) and have a regular midweek evening ride up to Bury, setting off around 5:45 and getting back home about 9 - 9:30pm. Generally 45 - 50 miles including the commute back home from town at the end. At this time of year it is still light enough at 9:30 or so to warrant this distance, but I'd recommend some precautionary bike lights.

It takes about 40 - 45 minutes into Bury, even with rush hour traffic, and then there are a variety of steady climbs to be found there and thereabouts.

If you're on Strava, have a look at the following segments:

Elton to Affetside via Walshaw
Totty Rd full
Harwood rd to 4 lane ends climb
Tottington Road hill climb
Hare & Hounds to Grane Rd

They are close enough to each other that you can string a few of them together into a decent loop.

I don't claim to be any fantastic cyclist (I have a compact with an 11-28), but a month of these midweek workouts, coupled with weekend rides, meant that my trip last year to the Pyrenees to ride the Tourmalet and Col d'Aubisque was a challenge rather than a killer.

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posted by Timbo13 [272 posts]
8th August 2013 - 9:11

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Mr Will wrote:
Sounds to me like your problem is leg speed. You are not spinning out 53x11 on the flat; sorry but you just aren't - that's knocking on the door of 40mph even at a reasonable cadence.

I agree. To say you need 53/11 is just rubbish. I have a 50/34 and 11/28 and the only time I hit top gear is on a descent, and I can still push that to 40+mph. I never hit it on the flat, even drafting. Perhaps you are much stronger and fitter than me, though.

If you're having desperate trouble on not terribly big hills (sorry) and refuse to change your chainrings or cassette, you should stop riding anywhere that is hilly or else you are just going to be embarrassed.

posted by DrJDog [87 posts]
8th August 2013 - 10:59

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Your problem on ride London is now much clearer mate. You are, as an earlier post rightly suggested, riding anearobically pushing a big gear, hence nothing in the legs when you come to the hills.
I would suggest a lot of base miles on the flat (should feel easy, cadence 90-100 and you should be able to hold a conversation and not be sweating overly), then efforts on the hills. You are right with the gears, 39/28 is only slightly larger than 34/25 which is what I use and have gone over all the climbs in the Lakes on, which are stepeer than anything on Etape Cymru.
So keep your 53/39 Big Grin but go 12-28, will give you more usable gears and a slightly closer ratio between gears. Unless you are Cav sprinting for a win 53x11 just isn't necessary!
Perhaps a computer with cadence sensor and HRM would benefit your training? and it would cost less than a compact c/s Wink
You need to practice climbing both seated (spinning a gear) and also out of the saddle. Gearing down for a minute on a long climb and pushing a bigger gear and lower cadence (70) will also improve your power climbing.
Main problem on a long ride, is your using all your energy pushing on the flats I think. Also don't forget to eat properly on longer rides as this is another commin mistake
ENJOY

posted by alexjones5 [25 posts]
8th August 2013 - 11:20

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DrJDog wrote:
To say you need 53/11 is just rubbish. I have a 50/34 and 11/28 and the only time I hit top gear is on a descent, and I can still push that to 40+mph. I never hit it on the flat, even drafting. Perhaps you are much stronger and fitter than me, though.

If you're having desperate trouble on not terribly big hills (sorry) and refuse to change your chainrings or cassette, you should stop riding anywhere that is hilly or else you are just going to be embarrassed.

Two points, firstly the OP may well be strong on the flat and downhills and may well get full use of his 53/11. I'm considering changing up to a standard chainset myself (or perhaps a 52), since with a tail wind I often find myself on 50/11 on the flat looking for another gear, and I'm not that strong a rider, tbh, just big.

Secondly, he has not refused to change his cassette, that's what he's seeking advice on!

posted by 700c [556 posts]
8th August 2013 - 11:42

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Simple answer is there's no cheap and easy way to change the set up for hills, I reckon the best option is to max out what you can do using current derailleur (28?) Plus new chain (assuming it's required due to wear and / or stretch)

This leaves you with two set ups, one for hills, one for flats to swap at your leisure

Kmc quick link chains best option

posted by 700c [556 posts]
8th August 2013 - 11:53

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Thanks 700c for clarifying some things for DrJDog. I am with you, I want to add range to the bottom end WITHOUT loosing top end speed. There are a lot of people here with an obsession about compacts; I have had one and am quite clear that is not the answer. I too wouldn't like to be in 50/11 with nowhere to go. I am intrigued by his claim to push 50/11 to 40mph, I make that cadence 113? Bit fast really, maybe he could use some higher gears?

Well I have been accused of mashing pedal, riding anaerobically and having a low cadence; and told to stop riding near hills to avoid embarrassment [how rude JD.] I think the improvement and shift in style might be a bit more subtle than some of these words imply. I think my priorities are 1: Cassette 2: RearD 3: Cadence computer, oh and don't forget ride more climbs.

At least one thing it clear, you lot love to talk about numbers.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1189 posts]
8th August 2013 - 18:48

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I agree with you bikebouy76, I can't stand compact chainsets on road. Definitely look at a wider range cassette though, 11-25 or 27.

I work in central Manchester too and can be out in the Goyt Valley in an hour. Another option might be to get the train out to Buxton or Edale and ride back home? During thatr recent #rapharising challenge I was doing extra loops on the way home from work out into the hills round Brickworks, Poynton, Swiss Hill, Goyt Valley etc.

But definitely spin more on the flat - churning along at 60-70rpm is causing you to work anaerobically and therefore knackering you out before you hit the hills.

posted by crazy-legs [489 posts]
8th August 2013 - 19:51

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Feel the need to add my two Penny's worth. A 53x11 is a HUGE gear, most people who I race with And are 2nd cat or above ride either a 50x11 or a 52x12 and can comfortably ride at over over 30mph. Even some of the pro's have switched to compacts for hillier stages. Argument over.
Also how do you climb ? If you try to mash a large gear up a hill then the problem maybe technique as spinning is definitely the key to climbing ! Also could your bike set up be causing the problems ?

Gareth

posted by gazer117 [25 posts]
8th August 2013 - 22:27

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gazer117 wrote:
most people who I race with And are 2nd cat or above ride either a 50x11 or a 52x12 and can comfortably ride at over over 30mph. Even some of the pro's have switched to compacts for hillier stages. Argument over.

Not meaning to be rude, but.. So what? He's stated a preference for standard cranksets and makes full use of them, just because you know some strong riders or pros on compacts does not invalidate his choice

Also a pro has sponsors to supply components and mechanics to swap them according to the stage on the day, most of us don't, so budgets will affect the extent of changes that can be made to components

Of course climbing a steep hill would require a bit less effort on a compact, I don't think anyone's disputing that. Also your point about technique is a good one.

posted by 700c [556 posts]
9th August 2013 - 13:36

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113rpm isn't fast.

90-100rpm is relaxed. 100-120 is pushing on. 140rpm is fast.

You don't need the 11. Apart from the fact that you already know best, so I'm not sure why you are asking for advice really...

posted by Mr Will [88 posts]
9th August 2013 - 15:29

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700c wrote:
gazer117 wrote:
most people who I race with And are 2nd cat or above ride either a 50x11 or a 52x12 and can comfortably ride at over over 30mph. Even some of the pro's have switched to compacts for hillier stages. Argument over.

Not meaning to be rude, but.. So what? He's stated a preference for standard cranksets and makes full use of them, just because you know some strong riders or pros on compacts does not invalidate his choice

Also a pro has sponsors to supply components and mechanics to swap them according to the stage on the day, most of us don't, so budgets will affect the extent of changes that can be made to components

Of course climbing a steep hill would require a bit less effort on a compact, I don't think anyone's disputing that. Also your point about technique is a good one.

Nope not rude at all, I was just trying to show that perhaps the word "Need" a 53x11 was a bit strong as few people use them.

Another thing you could change with no ill effect would be to replace just the 39 tooth for a 38. I Know that's only a 2 inch smaller gear but it may jus thelp that litle bit more.

Gareth

posted by gazer117 [25 posts]
9th August 2013 - 17:27

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Mr Will wrote:
113rpm isn't fast.

90-100rpm is relaxed. 100-120 is pushing on. 140rpm is fast.

You don't need the 11. Apart from the fact that you already know best, so I'm not sure why you are asking for advice really...

I would say different cadences suit different people although I think if the OP runs out of gear he is below a sensible minimum given his modest time for the ride . Personally I average about 87rpm in a TT and only go over a hundred for a bit if I need to downhill so am a relative masher. Some very good domestic TT guys average mid 80s, some much higher.

80 rpm has to be the lowest you would want to sustain on the flat, even a masher like me can raise that to 120 or so going downhill for a bit. So with 172.5 cranks, 11 tooth sprocket and a 50t chainring that is 28.4mph and 42.6mph.

The crux of it as far as I am concerned is that for your next ride to be enjoyable you should take all the help you can get. You are right in looking for a big block, but a couple less teeth on the front and faster moving legs could be the difference between walking and riding up any steep hills, and your legs are going too slow if you are limited on the flat.

Another thing I would consider is the most efficient use of your energy. The fact is that pushing hard downhill is not efficient use of your reserves. Air resistance means it is not worth it. you are better served by getting aero and conserving your energy as soon as it gets steep. Also keep in a group as it will save a LOT of energy. Then you have plenty of energy for the hills where you should sit down and spin.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
9th August 2013 - 17:43

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Cor lots of advice all round. I am similar size to yourself bikeboy and used to really suffer on hills. Also I would ride hard down them and spin out of my 50x11 to try and make up the time I lost on the climb. Changed my ideas now and once I start to spin out I tuck in as aero as I can and rest the legs. On the flat after a big climb spend a mile or so in an easier gear than normal it seems to help get rid of the pain. Then when you get to the next climb you are fresher and ready to attack it. Dont rush to drop all your gears at once just focus on the tarmac ahead of your wheel try to get into a steady cadence and keep going. Often when people see the tarmac disappearing into the clouds they shift to the easiest gear and panic a bit. You obviously have loads of power if you can ride 53x11 hard on the flat so conserve some of it for the hills. Of course a couple of bigger cogs on the back is a good call and I would agree with the 12-30 if it fits. You arent in a Crit race so swap out the 11 for this event and put it back on afterwards. Good luck

Pash

posted by pashda [12 posts]
9th August 2013 - 18:54

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700c wrote:
Also a pro has sponsors to supply components and mechanics to swap them according to the stage on the day, most of us don't, so budgets will affect the extent of changes that can be made to components.

^This, thank you 700c for bringing a bit of sanity to the discussion. I don't have the money to entirely rebuild my drive or a mechanic to swap it out when I need it. Besides I have already explained that I use the high gears and did need them on the very same event most of the time. I need a set up that can cover the flat effectively, but not kill me going uphill. With respect you can't assess that I don't 'need' it and you don't know my cadence; I don't know my cadence.
No matter how much you think a compact is the solution to my problems, it isn't what I asked about. Some of you think the solution for yourself is more important than listening to the problem. And Cav sprints at 110-125, so the guy who said 140 is fast just has no idea what is reasonable.

"modest time" thanks for the back handed complimented.
"Argument over" obviously not...

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1189 posts]
9th August 2013 - 19:28

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Just make a decision already an put us out of our misery

posted by SammyG [295 posts]
9th August 2013 - 20:17

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If you can't climb hills with the gears you have then you need to get fitter on the hills or use lower gearing, you've stated you can't get to the hills so you need either the biggest block you can or smaller rings at the front.

Can you really spin out your top gear on the flat? I really don't understand the reluctance to consider a compact (finances aside) especially if it would appear to be the ideal solution to your problem.

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
9th August 2013 - 20:34

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thebungle wrote:
If you can't climb hills with the gears you have then you need to get fitter on the hills or use lower gearing, you've stated you can't get to the hills so you need either the biggest block you can or smaller rings at the front.

Can you really spin out your top gear on the flat? I really don't understand the reluctance to consider a compact (finances aside) especially if it would appear to be the ideal solution to your problem.

I don't think he will be satisfied until we tell him what he wants to hear. To which end:

1. North Wales is not at all hilly, it's just a long-running joke in cycling clubs around Cheshire & the Wirral.

2. So you can get up the few minor lumps on 39x23 no problem and yes, you'll want, no need the 11-tooth sprocket for the descents so you can drop all the cheeky wheelsuckers drafting behind you.

3. Doubles are what the pro riders use, proper man-sized gears. Compacts are for girls and wimps. And don't get me started on triples! what sort of pervert wants 3 chainrings?

4. I hear Morrisons are doing 5 pies for the price of 4 so stock up now. Start your carbo loading today!

Wink

(sorry, but it's becoming a bit of a joke thread so I thought I'd do my bit)

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posted by Simon E [1916 posts]
9th August 2013 - 21:36

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bikeboy76 wrote:

"modest time" thanks

I'm sorry not meaning to have a dig or anything, it is all relative 100 miles is a decent ride.
The thing is there are a lot of people trying to offer some advice, not even directly to do with compact/std. There is a good chance if you try to take on board some of the suggestions you will benefit as a rider.

posted by ilovemytinbred [164 posts]
9th August 2013 - 22:43

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bikeboy76 wrote:

I live in Didsbury so I know the Wizard, still seems a long way from Deansgate; when it gets to 6:45 you look at your watch and think 'Jeez, I have to get home, its still and hour away.' There is dinner to make and dishes to wash and sleeping and posting on internet forums Wink The weekend is the only hope, but then there is family and friends and alcohol and movies, then it rains. Dedications what you need.

I think youve established a new cassette will help somewhat and that is decided! i changed to 11-28 and now blaze hill is a doddle!
But honestly the above quote is your problem. If you want to climb hills better you can't really buy your way into it. Losing weight and practice is the best idea.

I live in Didsbury and within half an hours ride there is Marple (Col du Mellor), alderley Edge (as mentioned above), Disley (high lane and bakestonedale road)

Within 50 minutes you can be at Macclesfield and head over to Buxton for one hell of a drag.

In fact if you head about 10 mins down the road you have stockport which is built on a massive hill.

I would suggest half hour out to alderley edge/marple, climb some hills, go home.

And eat fewer twixs. Losing weight helps tremendously!!

Oh and Manchester Wheelers are nice people!

posted by smiley_boy2501 [26 posts]
10th August 2013 - 10:28

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It would help if you could get the model number of your rear derailleur. It could be 6500, 6600, 6700 or 6800. If you can't find out, do you know how old it is? All but the 6600 will take an 11-28 cassette, the 6600 has a stated maximum of 27 teeth on the largest rear sprocket. The latest 105 and Tiagra rear mechs will take a 30 tooth sprocket.

Don't let anyone put you off doing the Etape Cymru, I'm really looking forward to hearing how you get on. Your gearing is your choice but remember that low gears do make the hills easier.

There is loads of good advice on here about riding style and the proximity of hills to your home. You are only 14 miles from Glossop which gives you a crack at the Snake. You ought to be able to get up there with your current set up as although it is long it isn't horribly steep. The idea of taking a train is excellent too. Head for Grindleford or Dore and climb your way home over the Peak District.

I like the Peaks because the scenery is so beautiful and because there is always a challenge around the corner but you don't *need* hills to train on. I trained for the Marmotte in North Beds which is on the fringes of the Fens and gets no higher than 100m above sea level. Plenty of riding and some determination will see you a long way.

You don't have to look far to find recommendations that a cadence of around 90rpm is recommended for efficiency on the flat. You can work out your cadence using a table like the one here: http://www.machars.net/bikecalc.htm as long as you know which gear you are in and how fast you are going you'll be able to work it out and get an idea of what 90rpm feels like. For instance, if you have a 16 tooth sprocket, put the bike into 53x16 and hold your speed at 22mph. To find your natural cadence, head for the flat and then hold 22mph in a gear that you are comfortable with then refer back to the chart to find out your rpm.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [307 posts]
12th August 2013 - 14:22

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bikeboy76 wrote:
Maybe I just have to change me.

Honestly, I think that's the solution.

From your description of the ride and how you were feeling it sounds to me like you are biting off more than you can chew.

Yes you need to get your equipment sorted but that's not going to cause a drastic improvement.

Lower your sights in the short term and use the time to do some better training and lose some weight.

Sorry if that sounds harsh but I know a lot of people who obsess about equipment to make up for their own lack of fitness and ability, and in the long run it doesn't help.

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posted by abudhabiChris [499 posts]
12th August 2013 - 16:05

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Bike boy. Well done on your achievement at the London Ride. Especially when you haven't tackled that mileage before. As for your block. I would ditch the 11 and get a 12/26 or 12/28. Especially if you are wanting to keep the double at the front. This should give you enough to play with. I use a standard with a 12/26 and I can cope with most hills (trossachs and lower highlands) and is rare I need to climb off. In reality there isn't much difference in an 11 and a 12 IMHO

Work on you cadance. This works. You will get a good speed going and use up less energy. I was recently at a sportive and 50 miles in was catching and dropping guys who were tearing off at the beginning. At one of the feed stations one guy commented that I just seemed to cruise past him.

Find some hills. Even if they are short sharp climbs that you can do reps on.

When it comes to the etape enjoy yourself, find a group you can comfortably roll with. Tear up your target sheet. Finish the course and then use it as your bench mark for the future.

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posted by giff77 [1040 posts]
12th August 2013 - 19:21

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fyi I put an 11-28 on the rear of my wife's bike and it works perfectly with a short derailleur, even when she had a 53/39 on the front. Shimano always has more tolerance than they say.

posted by drmatthewhardy [299 posts]
12th August 2013 - 21:40

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I've just had a look at my Ultegra rear mech and the model number is embossed on the back of the main body of the derailleur. You may need to give it a wipe to see it. Do have any idea what has happened to your 11T sprocket? Is it engaging the freehub body correctly? Is the freehub body worn or has the ring just come loose? Do you have the tools to take it off and have a look? If you replace the cassette you might as well do the chain as well unless it is nearly new.

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [307 posts]
12th August 2013 - 21:59

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Bikeboy, just wondering how you got on in the Etape Cymru? Did you manage to complete on a standard, and how were those hills?!

Cheers.

posted by 700c [556 posts]
8th September 2013 - 22:29

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oh, Crying I didn't go. First it was going to rain then it cleared up, then I was stood in Sainsburys holding a tub of icecream on Saturday morning thinking, if you put this in your basket you aren't going... I put it in.
I have been very fatigued from work recently, it has been very busy and I am being pressurized on performance [14 seconds average between calls to fill in forms, I've been there since April and am now being compared to all the permanent staff. I feel like I might be on a conveyor to the door.] I have to work alternate Saturdays so a full weekend off is precious. I remember how tired I was after London when I also had the Monday off, I was spent. The Etape has at least double the climbing and I would have had to camp out on Saturday night. I just couldn't stomach the prospect of going into a week of work after that.

After London I did get a new chain and Dura-ace block with 28t ring. I got one decent session of climbing in above Rainow, Macclesfield and found it did really help. I even tried to get up out of the saddle, which is a whole new technique in itself. Even that session was a quarter what the Etape would throw up.
I despaired to find East Cheshire Council had chipped Shrigley Rd. (a guy in black Castelli passed me and said 'what have they done to this road.) and the A34, a fast weekend treat now destroyed. If they will chip a major bypass nowhere is safe.
I wish I could have given my spot away but registration doesn't work like that. I'm not so bothered by the cost as the train and food would have added to it. I have a loan ending in two months, so next year I will be £230 better off ever month. I might become one of those persons with a racing bike (it WILL be a Canyon Ultimate CF SLX, I have seen it, I want it,) and a winter bike.

I did book onto a triathlon in 2009 and pull out of that too cause I can't swim for toffee, but that just made me more keen to cycle. All I have to do is at least bike to work the rest of the year and I will cover 6000km, up from 5kk last year. Probable doesn't seem like much to some of you.

Thanks for asking, it has been cathartic. I have been keeping my posting to a minimum this week as I am only up to the ITT on the Vuelta. I might stir up some threads on aero kit now; and start planning my calendar for 2014. A Monday rest day is in order for the Etape, but I can book off early and put my failure behind me, I just bit off more than I could chew. 18 months ago it took me 1h45 to do 40km around the airport so I've come on a bit. Maybe some shorter warm ups in Cheshire 60miles events and so much more climbing. I'm back in the pot for London again and know what to expect. I found out my time was in the 51st percentile, barely in the top half, just beating Boris won't cut it. And I have to work on the mystery that is cadence... So much to do.

Thanks.

doctor.jpg

Between the S and the LOW

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1189 posts]
8th September 2013 - 23:52

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Yeah I think you may have made the right decision given circumstances you outlined. It's a terrific challenge and if you don't think you'd prepared enough it would have been a horrible experience.

So the etape can be your unfinished business -a target for 2014..

Reassuring to hear you're getting on well up hills whilst keeping your standard, I've seen some 52/36 rings which will fit my crankset and I'm very tempted, might be a good compromise

posted by 700c [556 posts]
9th September 2013 - 20:07

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Unfinished business, yes. Though I don't understand why the estimates of the amount of climbing vary so much, anything from 1680m to 2457m or 3000 according to some. That is a a whopping 190% range in estimates from low to high.

Glad I missed the tacks, having a spare pair of tubes is fine but you don't want to use them. Especially if you only have a tiny hand pump and 80miles to go on squishys.

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1189 posts]
9th September 2013 - 22:52

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