Magnus Bäckstedt, 195cm, 90kg

Climbing Tips for the Non-Climber

Climbing Tips for the Non-Climber

by / / 189 posts

I’m a non-climber who enjoys climbing. I’d enjoy it more if I was good at it. And “enjoy” might be too strong a word, “tolerate” might be better. But dragging 89 kilos up a volcano gives one time to contemplate the cycling life .

Let us define non-climber. It’s someone either too fat, too big (gravitationally challenged) or a fast- twitching sprinter. Not liking to suffer does not make you a non-climber. As the moto camera drifts down the peloton on the Ventoux, it’s still the guys at the back who are dying the worst. Finishing within the time limit for the non-climber requires a trip deep into the cave-o-pain.

For the cyclist, the power-to-weight ratio (watts generated/body weight in kg) is king, especially when the road goes up. A large improvement in the power side of the formula is tough, we have already chosen our damn parents and cursed inheriting their vestigial hearts and lungs. Yes, this number should be honed to its finest edge, it can be nudged up but not a lot.

The weight side of the equation is completely changeable and under our control.

Lose some weight, you fat bastards. Yes, I’m talking to you. The most important thing to improve climbing, by far, is to lose some weight. Do you need dramatic proof? Put a known weight (2 liter bottles of water) into a knapsack and do a regular route. The hills will be bad, very bad. Now imagine losing that same two or four kilos. The difference can be just as impressive. When I’m at a decent riding weight, climbing out of the saddle for extended periods is not a problem. I’m still slow but gravity is not demanding I put my ass on the saddle. Losing body weight is free; one looks better on and off the bike. Your friends will hate you. What is the down side? Oh right, it takes self-control and not drinking as much alcohol as life requires.

Don’t carry extra weight on the bike. If you really don’t need a second large bidon, don’t carry that 0.8kg. That’s more than the difference between super-light climbing wheels and regular road wheels. For reasons I’ll never understand, a bike that is one kilo lighter seems noticeably faster than the one kilo saved from a bidon. So yes, N+1 can be invoked but it’s much cheaper to just leave that second bottle at home.

LeMan said the key to climbing was to relax…easy for him to say when he had the heart and lungs of three Velominati. But Rule #10 is Rule #10 so meditate on relaxing while dancing uphill. Find a little rhythm. Click up into a longer gear, pop out of the saddle, shift back down, park it back in the saddle.

Find a gear you can turn over comfortably. As we all know, Dr Ferrari was the one to get Lance to spin up climbs. It’s tough to know where the EPO stopped and the spinning started but it did seem to work for him. While some may argue for climbing in the big chainring, for us non-climbers, climbing in the saddle and spinning a gear will get us up faster and with less collateral damage.

The best part of climbing as a non-climber is that we are out there, doing it. The Stelvio, hell yeah, it’s going to take a little longer to get up there but we will do it. We don’t stop, we don’t put a foot down. We suffer like you-know-who on you-know-what but we still do it with a stupid smiles on our faces.

 

// Technique

  1. and that was clearly a reply from me to the wrong post.

    @Ron – see my f’d up post above regarding Maggie’s helmet

  2. @KW

    @TommyTubolare

    @KW

    “I wish I had become serious about riding 10 years ago. I’m saddened to think of all the miles I missed out on. I guess I’ll just have to catch up.”

    The quote above looks familiar? Don’t do the same stupid mistake twice. But I can tell you just by ditching cheese you could enjoy a glass of a good beer every evening and you’ll be fine. Either that or you can continue your bad habits to be a good guy from Wisconsin. The choice is yours.

    I didn’t own a bike 10 years ago. It’s hard to be serious about something you don’t participate in.

    I’ve never been one to subscribe to the “You can’t eat this or that” school of thought. All things in moderation, my friend.

    Trans-fats in moderation? Added sugar in moderation? Heroin in moderation?

    No thanks.  All three will fuck your shit up, even if you’ll get arguments from some quarters.

  3. Observations on today’s hills: Pushing a descent while you still feel like throwing up from the uphill you just finished is kind of exhilarating. Then misjudging a downhill hairpin bend in the wet, sliding on the muddy, leafy shoulder and ending up wedged against the barrier is significantly deflating.  The bike’s ok, though!

  4. @Marcus I fail to see what a triathlete who is not you and is wearing Bonts has to do with this article.

  5. @Nate

    @Marcus I fail to see what a triathlete who is not you and is wearing Bonts has to do with this article.

    I think he is taunting me because I like Magnus and Magnus is a triathlete. That is how Marcus shows love.

  6. @andrew

    @KW

    @TommyTubolare

    @KW

    “I wish I had become serious about riding 10 years ago. I’m saddened to think of all the miles I missed out on. I guess I’ll just have to catch up.”

    The quote above looks familiar? Don’t do the same stupid mistake twice. But I can tell you just by ditching cheese you could enjoy a glass of a good beer every evening and you’ll be fine. Either that or you can continue your bad habits to be a good guy from Wisconsin. The choice is yours.

    I didn’t own a bike 10 years ago. It’s hard to be serious about something you don’t participate in.

    I’ve never been one to subscribe to the “You can’t eat this or that” school of thought. All things in moderation, my friend.

    Trans-fats in moderation? Added sugar in moderation? Heroin in moderation?

    No thanks. All three will fuck your shit up, even if you’ll get arguments from some quarters.

    Do you make everything you eat from scratch? I hope you haven’t eaten any processed food lately, or eaten in a restaurant,  because I guarantee you’ve had trans fat and added sugar.

    I’m not naive enough to think that it’s reasonable for me (I can only speak for myself) to completely eliminate ALL bad things from my diet. My goal is to limit them as much as I can.

    And when did I mention anything about drugs? My comments were about food and drink.

  7. @Gianni

    @Nate

    @Marcus I fail to see what a triathlete who is not you and is wearing Bonts has to do with this article.

    I think he is taunting me because I like Magnus and Magnus is a triathlete. That is how Marcus shows love.

    Magnus is a triathlete now?  Unwelcome development, this is.

  8. @Mike_P

    @Chris

    @norm It’s going to be a bit different from last year when the temperature hovered around zero for the whole ride and the snow was being blown horizontally on the higher ground. Probably more reminiscent of the the London Cogal.

    Have a good one.

    Can’t identify his helmet but can tell you he’s riding a hand-built WyndyMylla Massive Attack 62cm frameset which is currently for sale at their workshop in Surrey.

    Hard to miss those, Mike! I know they are going for something new, but ouch, that font they use just isn’t workin’ for me.

  9. @McTyke

    The most important attribute for climbing well up significant mountains like the Stelvio, assuming you’re in reasonable physical shape, is MENTAL STRENGTH. You’ve got to accept that you’ll be going up an 8% gradient (+/- a few percent) with no respite for two to three hours. That’s a long time! So, you’ve got to settle in for the duration, enjoy the constantly changing views as you slowly progress up the mountain, and relax as much as possible. One of the most common problems people have is developing knee pain from pushing too high a gear. I used my lowest gear (34×30) for much of the Stelvio ascent during the Raid Dolomites last summer and I’m not a bad climber (173cm, 63 kg).

    Hell yes! If you are used to going fast, or going fast is one thing you love about cycling, long, steady gradients are definitely hell on Earth.

    I have commented that if I ever run afoul of the law (or get caught, I should say) the worst punishment a judge could hand out is not to impound all my bikes or put me in jail or community service. It would be to make me ride around on my bikes at something like 5kmph.

    I think this is why I don’t fancy long loaded touring – I don’t think I could handle slow climbs with four panniers. That said, I have done some light touring and absolutely dug it, so who knows…

  10. @Ron yea I agree. Almost trying to be too edgy.

  11. @KW

    @andrew

    @KW

    @TommyTubolare

    @KW

    “I wish I had become serious about riding 10 years ago. I’m saddened to think of all the miles I missed out on. I guess I’ll just have to catch up.”

    The quote above looks familiar? Don’t do the same stupid mistake twice. But I can tell you just by ditching cheese you could enjoy a glass of a good beer every evening and you’ll be fine. Either that or you can continue your bad habits to be a good guy from Wisconsin. The choice is yours.

    I didn’t own a bike 10 years ago. It’s hard to be serious about something you don’t participate in.

    I’ve never been one to subscribe to the “You can’t eat this or that” school of thought. All things in moderation, my friend.

    Trans-fats in moderation? Added sugar in moderation? Heroin in moderation?

    No thanks. All three will fuck your shit up, even if you’ll get arguments from some quarters.

    Do you make everything you eat from scratch? I hope you haven’t eaten any processed food lately, or eaten in a restaurant, because I guarantee you’ve had trans fat and added sugar.

    Essentially, yes, though I don’t mill my own grain.  Minimal processed food (and when then traditional, organic processes), no food with added sugar (or HFCS etc) as an added ingredient; trans fats are easy to avoid (living in Europe helps), even in restaurants if you’re selective, and though they do like to add sugar to things, a little communication goes a long way.

    I’d challenge anyone here to go 21 days without eating anything that lists any kind of sugar as an added ingredient, as well as avoiding alcohol.  Buy raw food and switch any cow-dairy to goat or sheep milk (and cheese if you must).  Changed my life, and I believe added sugar will be up there with cigarettes and trans-fats in 5-10 years.

  12. @McTyke

    The most important attribute for climbing well up significant mountains like the Stelvio, assuming you’re in reasonable physical shape, is MENTAL STRENGTH. You’ve got to accept that you’ll be going up an 8% gradient (+/- a few percent) with no respite for two to three hours. That’s a long time! So, you’ve got to settle in for the duration, enjoy the constantly changing views as you slowly progress up the mountain, and relax as much as possible. One of the most common problems people have is developing knee pain from pushing too high a gear. I used my lowest gear (34×30) for much of the Stelvio ascent during the Raid Dolomites last summer and I’m not a bad climber (173cm, 63 kg).

    Thanks for the heads up. I guess a better granny gear is in order for the Stelvio. I can handle the steady 5-6% here on Maui but 8%  for many hours will require something better. And losing some weight.

  13. @andrew

    At 1.88m and 67-68kg, I know it’s not really my weight holding me back, just as-yet insufficient heart-lung training. But I’m always a little surprised that despite feeling like I’m dying on hills and that butterflies must surely be able to rest happily on my spokes, I do ok compared to others who ride around here.

    Bastard! You pro skinny bastard! If you don’t feel like dying on the hills you “probably aren’t riding hard enough”

    and refined sugar is POISON, no minerals, no vitamins, no fibre, no fucking good.

  14. VERY well written, thank you. This is the part of my love of cycling that I’m dreading, really. After over four months off the bike due to injuries, ilnesses, and accidents – okay, the accident was the catalyst, but the injuries and ilnesses came shortly after – I’m really looking forward to getting on my climbs again.

    And losing weight. I’m working on that one now. I’ve already lost almost 12kg since the ill-fated (for me, anyway) 2nd Annual Bay Area Cogal – for which I weighed in at 104kg. I’m hoping that by the time the next Bay Area Cogal comes around, I’ll have lost another 12kg. Current goal is 84kg, but eventual goal is 80kg.

  15. @Xyverz That is a goal worth a whole lotta respect. Do this and I am inspired to start losing with you.

  16. Am I the last to get to the top of this steep article?  No one had the power to wait?

    I love-tolerate climbing, perhaps precisely because I’m so crap at it. Purest form of challenge: wind, road conditions, none of it matters.  Just you, your front wheel, and keeping the legs turning at one rpm below blowing up. I don’t mind being left behind while I have a heart-to-heart with the butterflies.  And little by little, I get better at it.

  17. @xyxax

    Oh this will be so much better on the Alchemy. Can’t wait for the first climbing reports.

  18. @piwakawaka

    @andrew

    Bastard! You pro skinny bastard! 

    That’s one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me on the internets!

  19. @andrew

    @piwakawaka

    @andrew

    Bastard! You pro skinny bastard!

    That’s one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me on the internets!

    You know how people say ‘lol’ but don’t really mean it?  I genuinely laughed at that!

  20. @Gianni

    @xyxax

    Oh this will be so much better on the Alchemy. Can’t wait for the first climbing reports.

    Ah, fratello, you’ll be the first in your time zone to hear about it.  Need to get the drive train on .  And for the snow to stop for 5 fucking seconds.

  21. @ChrisO

    @Fausto

    Should I be happy that I’m putting out 5W/kg+ for 5 mins as a 3rd Cat then? Roll on the hilly races this year! (I still think I’m going to get my arse handed to me, but that’s just me being pessimistic until proven otherwise)

    I know it’s meaningless, it was meant more as a dig at the original comments lack of qualification for power vs time. Faustina can put out 5W/kg , but it doesn’t last long and she normally needs extensive cake therapy to recover.

    Yes I think you should be. Of course it also depends what you’re doing – 5W/kg on the flat is less effective if you weigh 60kg, but devastating going uphill.

    In our race today we had a short sharp hill we went over three times – and I was doing about 5.3W/kg up it for 2 minutes. That’s put me eighth overall on Strava for that segment (one second ahead of Oscar Pujol, a pro rider) and more importantly I was in the first two or three over the hill each time in the leading break.

    Don’t forget values of 6W/kg are regarded as Tour de France level – admittedly that’s at threshold but 5W/kg is pretty good even for 5 minutes (probably best to avoid the cake therapy afterwards though). It’s not just my opinion – if you look at the power profiles of Andrew Coggan (Training Peaks) it’s well up there.

    Whilst the Brotish Cycling category system works in my favour on this chart, and my status as Cat 3 is equivalent to US Cat 4 (our system is Elite/1/2/3/4 rather than Cats 1-5), it doesn’t take into account the cycling anomaly that is racing in the South West.  I’m doing a hilly Cat 3/4 race next month and with 5W/kg for 5 mins+ in the tank  I’m still training  hard to make sure I don’t get dropped on the main climb. They breed them tough down here; the upside is that  if you can keep up here then you get good results when you travel further afield. 

    To illustrate, I put 5.3W/kg up a local climb that’s not even on a race route and I’m just about in the top 10% of Strava times up it, and nearly 30 seconds off the KOM. Hard riding.

  22. British Cycling, not Brotish. Fucking iDevice autocorrect.

  23. Well then there’s the difference between riding and racing, but I’m sure you’ll be fine, even with the hard men of Cornwall.

    Interesting comparison… in  that race I mentioned, it was about 105km (3x35km laps) with 1200m climbing and an average speed of about 36km/h. I stayed with the lead bunch of about a dozen riders all the way. One of my team mates got dropped early on and did two laps pretty much on his own, finishing about 15 minutes after us.

    His normalised power for the ride was 290W, mine was 294W. Even allowing for some calibration differences it shows the difference between the race ability to do 7 or 8 W/kg for 20 seconds and then settle back to 4W/kg, as opposed to the training ability to steadily crank it out .

    He’s about the same weight too, so he’s made an almost identical effort with a massive difference in results.

  24. @ChrisO

    Well then there’s the difference between riding and racing, but I’m sure you’ll be fine, even with the hard men of Cornwall.

    Interesting comparison… in that race I mentioned, it was about 105km (3x35km laps) with 1200m climbing and an average speed of about 36km/h. I stayed with the lead bunch of about a dozen riders all the way. One of my team mates got dropped early on and did two laps pretty much on his own, finishing about 15 minutes after us.

    His normalised power for the ride was 290W, mine was 294W. Even allowing for some calibration differences it shows the difference between the race ability to do 7 or 8 W/kg for 20 seconds and then settle back to 4W/kg, as opposed to the training ability to steadily crank it out .

    He’s about the same weight too, so he’s made an almost identical effort with a massive difference in results.

    Interesting, without thinking too much into it, it would not have surprised me had the figures been the other way round.   Given that riding in a bunch conserves energy vs getting dropped and riding solo but still staying at max pace vs going into cruise mode could end up using more power?  Though it may well be that the difference is hidden by calibration and measurement accuracy.

  25. @Fausto

    To illustrate, I put 5.3W/kg up a local climb that’s not even on a race route and I’m just about in the top 10% of Strava times up it, and nearly 30 seconds off the KOM. Hard riding.

    Of course the part you don’t know is whether you do that after 100K of riding and the KOM chasers just go out there to max on that climb.

  26. @Teocalli

    @ChrisO

    Well then there’s the difference between riding and racing, but I’m sure you’ll be fine, even with the hard men of Cornwall.

    Interesting comparison… in that race I mentioned, it was about 105km (3x35km laps) with 1200m climbing and an average speed of about 36km/h. I stayed with the lead bunch of about a dozen riders all the way. One of my team mates got dropped early on and did two laps pretty much on his own, finishing about 15 minutes after us.

    His normalised power for the ride was 290W, mine was 294W. Even allowing for some calibration differences it shows the difference between the race ability to do 7 or 8 W/kg for 20 seconds and then settle back to 4W/kg, as opposed to the training ability to steadily crank it out .

    He’s about the same weight too, so he’s made an almost identical effort with a massive difference in results.

    Interesting, without thinking too much into it, it would not have surprised me had the figures been the other way round. Given that riding in a bunch conserves energy vs getting dropped and riding solo but still staying at max pace vs going into cruise mode could end up using more power? Though it may well be that the difference is hidden by calibration and measurement accuracy.

    I’d regard the figures as effectively the same, definitely within margin of error.

    The difference is match-burning ability. We were in a bunch which was quite dynamic – at times we were steadily chasing down, and at times we were responding to sudden attacks or making them. They’re all matches which flare up – until you have none left.

    If you look at my power curve and zone distribution (sorry we’re getting all geeky) I had:

    • highs between 1’15” and 2’30” duration of  6.2W/kg down to 5.2W/kg
    • 70% of the whole ride was below 3.8W/kg (that’s about equal to the NP)
    • 12% (over 20 minutes) was above 5W/kg
    • 4% (about 7.5 mins) was above 6.3W/kg
    • in the final 10 seconds I was doing over 11W/kg (nearly 900W) and I still fucking lost by a tyre width.

    I love data.

  27. @ChrisO

    I love data.

    For those of us with all the geekiness but half the power, it is much appreciated.

  28. Biggest thing for me, riding with a bunch who are much faster up, is pacing. If I try too hard to keep a wheel, pushing a gear or two higher when near the base of a climb, I am bound to get too much of a burn going and pop in the bottom quarter, slogging the rest in granny.

    If I pace myself from the base, keep good tempo, maybe even ride one gear too easy just at the start, by the time I am in the top quarter of the climb I’m able to redline, pant, puff and puke the rest of the way, and gain back on them. I can also consistently push bigger gears throughout the climb, than if I’d blown up earlier.

    I find this strategy leads to faster results overall on known climbs.

    The biggest thing that has helped my climbing, is trying to keep up with those guys! It is tough keeping a positive mindset when you get dropped every ride, so make sure you do with a good bunch, or solo.

  29. @ChrisO

    Top geekery. Like you, I find it interesting and I’m learning more about using power to reveal strengths and weaknesses and to play to one and work on the other. I only jumped on the power bandwagon after the end of last season and the PM I have is not compatible with bike #1 (used for ‘proper’ road races), so I’ve just got to look at training data until bike #2 gets dragged out to the crits next month. It’ll be interesting to see how race data matches up with training. What I am already finding useful is the tracking of training load to figure out when my form is good. Today was forecast to be a day when the good legs came out, and dammit, it felt easy all day.

  30. @Chris

    @norm It’s going to be a bit different from last year when the temperature hovered around zero for the whole ride and the snow was being blown horizontally on the higher ground. Probably more reminiscent of the the London Cogal.

    Have a good one.

    I rode Hell of the Ashdown yesterday and it was pretty eventful. A lot of ice for the first hour and I came down hard after the descent of Toys Hill. Cut my knee pretty bad, sprained my wrist and bruised shoulder. Ripped the new rapha l/s jersey that I got for Christmas and destroyed a wool defeet knee warmer and glove.

    To top it off I checked my helmet this morning and that is also broken.


    Apart from that I had a good ride, not fast but solid enough considering.

  31. @norm

    @Chris

    @norm It’s going to be a bit different from last year when the temperature hovered around zero for the whole ride and the snow was being blown horizontally on the higher ground. Probably more reminiscent of the the London Cogal.

    Have a good one.

    I rode Hell of the Ashdown yesterday and it was pretty eventful. A lot of ice for the first hour and I came down hard after the descent of Toys Hill. Cut my knee pretty bad, sprained my wrist and bruised shoulder. Ripped the new rapha l/s jersey that I got for Christmas and destroyed a wool DeFeet knee warmer and glove.

    To top it off I checked my helmet this morning and that is also broken.

    Apart from that I had a good ride, not fast but solid enough considering.

    Ouch on so many levels… ripping a Rapha jersey is probably the most painful of all.

  32. @norm

    @Chris

    I rode Hell of the Ashdown yesterday and it was pretty eventful. A lot of ice for the first hour and I came down hard after the descent of Toys Hill. Blah, Blah, Blah

    Yes, but is the bike alright?

    In all seriousness though, it sounds like you looked to Rule #5 and carried on. Chapeau. Yesterday looked like a great day for a ride but the best I got was a quick nosey round the bike shop whilst my youngest was at rugby training.

    Shame about the kit but you’ll be able to test the Rapha repair service. Is the Morevelo kit any good?

  33. @norm Ice is just nasty, nasty shit.

    Shame about the jersey… The merino blend version, I assume, and so exempt from their repair service?  Annoying, though the broken helmet I would in some way be thankful for — the only accidents a helmet does much in, other than transferring an impact to your head, are the ones in which it absorbs energy by breaking.  That thing at least just paid for itself, in my book.

  34. @Chris 
    Took a decent chunk of the carbon trim off my Chorus rear mech but it’s still working perfectly and scraped my saddle. It could have been worse, the knuckle of my right hand stopped any impact on the shifter and that would have been expensive.        

    I decided to push on and see how I was, also I didn’t fancy going back over Toys Hill with the amount of the ice on road. Thankfully the rest of the ride was ice free and I felt ok.

     The worst bit was getting back to the car and having to peel off the knee warmer. It had made a great bandage but had fused to the cuts and was stuck firm.      

    The morvelo stuff is really decent for the price. I think its made by the same people who do the new V-kit in Poland.

    @andrew
    Ahh shit, I didn’t check the small print of the rapha repair policy. Oh well, tempted to stick it on ebay listed as damaged, someone will buy it.

    Agreed on the helmet. That Giro helmet is about £130 to replace but I can’t complain, it did its job and my head was fine.

  35. @xyxax

    @ChrisO

    I love data.

    For those of us with all the geekiness but half the power, it is much appreciated.

    I was thinking about this article when I came across this device. Not considering the issues of breathing at higher altitudes, is there a relative difference in weight as you get farther away from the centre of the earth? In other words, is your weigh different at sea level than it is at elevation?

  36. @Bespoke Yes, but the difference is pretty small. You’d be something like 0.1% lighter at 3,000 metres than at sea level. Gravity varies more by latitude as the earth is not quite spherical and centrifugal force from its rotation is greater at the equator.

  37. @KW

     

    @frank

     

    I don’t think Leinenkugel counts as beer?

    You are absolutely correct, and I never said that it did.If that is what you think our beer is, then my Wisconsin Velominati brethren and I have much to teach you.

    What would be the beer equivalent to the Pedalwan?

     

    Frank’s from Minnesota. Given his proximity to the Chippewa Valley, I think he was over-exposed to Leinies as a youth and it has permanently skewed his view of Wisconsin brews.

  38. @Bespoke

    @xyxax

    @ChrisO

    I love data.

    For those of us with all the geekiness but half the power, it is much appreciated.

    I was thinking about this article when I came across this device. Not considering the issues of breathing at higher altitudes, is there a relative difference in weight as you get farther away from the centre of the earth? In other words, is your weigh different at sea level than it is at elevation?

    I like the way you think.  We weigh less at the equator and at altitude (ignoring all confounding factors) by 100 gm or therabouts. I’d rather move to the Ecuadorian Andes than eat a salad.

    I hope that device now resides in your home.

  39. @KW

    @frank

    I don’t think Leinenkugel counts as beer?

    You are absolutely correct, and I never said that it did.If that is what you think our beer is, then my Wisconsin Velominati brethren and I have much to teach you.

    What would be the beer equivalent to the Pedalwan?

    Leinis? Only when there is no alternative except Bud or Miller products. Sprecher, New Glarus, Lakefront, Brenner Brewing. That’s the good stuff.

  40. I found a pre crash photo of non climber climbing from sunday.

    The spring collection / flandrian best is looking a bit box fresh, a few scuffs will soon take care of that.

  41. @norm

    Nice work norm. Looking fantastic helps the non-climber morale. White knee warmers, bold choice. They look killer until that first wet ride. All my white socks, shoes, white V-jerseys have a certain grey-scale about them now. But I still prefer white and keep wearing them.

  42. @Gianni cheers. if you can find it, or a USA equivalent, Napisan cleans whites so well with no bleaching. The DeFeet wool stuff comes much cleaner than you’d imagine with a bit of soaking.

  43. Not meaning to open up the old Compact- Standard cranks debate, but I have a question for any Velominati who have done 3-peaks in Victoria. I am currently going to be set-up with a std 53-39 and 27-12. I have done a reasonable amount of climbing over the summer (~ 1000km & 13,000m through Jan), but I am starting to panic and am wondering if I need to switch to a Compact. Is a Std set just too brutal at the end up to Falls? Any suggestions (and of course shit slinging) appreciated.

  44. @norm The most amazing thing lately is that the shot is in sunshine!

  45. Fascinating thread fellas. It is in the mind, although I couldn’t agree more that losing weight has a massive impact. I’ve only ever climbed the Sierra Mountains in Majorca and settling in for ninety minutes plus at 7-10% does require a shake up in the head. All the way up, my brain was in a constant battle between the “just put your foot down for 30seconds, you know you want to” and “Don’t you fucking dare, you’re a Velominatus, give it some 5″. I know I would have been bitterly disappointed if I’d succumbed, but mental strength got me up there that day, just as it has abandoned me in the past when I didn’t quite have enough. I was slow, dog slow. So slow that the same fly landed on my bars at least eight times before I managed a 10kph flat out spurt to get rid of it.

  46. @asyax I have no doubt about your ability; it’s the 9 km at  9% after 200 km that make us mere mortals (compactites) shudder.

  47. @asyax

    Not meaning to open up the old Compact- Standard cranks debate, but I have a question for any Velominati who have done 3-peaks in Victoria. I am currently going to be set-up with a std 53-39 and 27-12. I have done a reasonable amount of climbing over the summer (~ 1000km & 13,000m through Jan), but I am starting to panic and am wondering if I need to switch to a Compact. Is a Std set just too brutal at the end up to Falls? Any suggestions (and of course shit slinging) appreciated.

    Hey Scott, I’ve been up there, it’s brutal and I’d suggest a compact is a very good idea?

  48. @Daccordi Rider , xyxax- Found a second hand Record compact at the LBS – done deal. Butterflies have now settled a little – though hopefully not on my spokes.

  49. @Daccordi Rider

    @asyax

    Not meaning to open up the old Compact- Standard cranks debate, but I have a question for any Velominati who have done 3-peaks in Victoria. I am currently going to be set-up with a std 53-39 and 27-12. I have done a reasonable amount of climbing over the summer (~ 1000km & 13,000m through Jan), but I am starting to panic and am wondering if I need to switch to a Compact. Is a Std set just too brutal at the end up to Falls? Any suggestions (and of course shit slinging) appreciated.

    Hey Scott, I’ve been up there, it’s brutal and I’d suggest a compact is a very good idea?

    It is brutal. Very sustained pitch – like zero softening of the gradient. I had 39-27 and had to get off twice. I was weak then. I have unfinished business there. Like I said, I spent long blocks out of the saddle in that gear. The edges were lined with heroes walking expensive carbon. Get the compact. Its the lesser of two weevils.

  50. @asyax

    @Daccordi Rider , xyxax- Found a second hand Record compact at the LBS – done deal. Butterflies have now settled a little – though hopefully not on my spokes.

    Great. I see you’ve been working hard. How much weight have you lost?

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