Gearing for Gran Fondo Moab

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AaronG
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2021 1:34 am

by AaronG

I signed up for Gran Fondo Moab in Moab UT. The event is 65 miles and 5500' of elevation gain. Much of it happens during 20 or so miles. Im wondering what gearing to run. Hopefully someone has done the event. Currently my 1st gen venge has a 52/36 crank and an 11/28 cassette. I was thinking I need at the very minimum a cassette with wider gears.

Im an average cyclist 3.2watt/kg FTP. Will be somewhat (bike) untrained for the event as it will be 3 weeks after my spring marathon.

Anyone ever ride this event? What is the climb like?

AJS914
Posts: 4929
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

FWIW, I'm around the same watts/kg as you. Last year, I switched to an 11-32 cassette and it made a huge difference in my climbing. I was no longer grunting out steep climbs and could spin. I started breaking all my PRs on our local 30+ minute climbs.

I did the Tour of Gila fondo in NM a couple of years ago which is similar (80 miles, 5000 feet of elevation). I did that on 34x29 and it wasn't enough gearing. I really wish I had had the 32.

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VvM
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2021 9:16 am

by VvM

How steep are the climbs? If rather steep (e.g. greater than 10%) and fairly long then you might struggle on these climbs; anything less than that I think you'll be fine with that gearing, assuming you're reasonably fit.
I run a 52/36 at the front as well, and there is a a long-ish climb here (about 10km) that averages 12% with sections of 18-20%. I am using a 32 cassette for that, and have even used a 34. Saw fit guys on a 28 would really struggled.

VvM
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2021 9:16 am

by VvM

How steep are the climbs? If rather steep (e.g. greater than 10%) and fairly long then you might struggle on these climbs; anything less than that I think you'll be fine with that gearing, assuming you're reasonably fit.
I run a 52/36 at the front as well, and there is a a long-ish climb here (about 10km) that averages 12% with sections of 18-20%. I gam using a 32 cassette for that, and have even used a 34. Saw fit guys on a 28 who really struggled.

AaronG
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2021 1:34 am

by AaronG

I dont know the exact grades, but here is the blurb from the event. It sounds steep

The route will start out of the parking lot at Lions Park heading down HWY 128 also known at the Colorado River road. After turning onto Hwy 128, the neutral roll-out ends and riders can assume their own pace. Sixteen miles of rolling terrain along the Colorado River Road lead to the Castle Valley intersection. From here the road climbs almost 2000 feet in 13 miles to the intersection with the La Sal Mountain Loop Road. This is where the ascent gets tougher, with some very steep switchbacks, climbing 7 miles to 8300 feet at the Castle Valley Overlook. The next 6 miles are a rolling descent to the final 1 mile climb to the Geyser Pass turn-off. From here it is 22 miles downhill to the finish, with more tight switchbacks. Riders should be extremely careful on the descent, looking for wildlife, potholes and loose gravel. This is not where you should plan to make up time for a faster ride. In May the weather is pretty consistently nice but anything can happen at higher elevations. Be prepared.

AaronG
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2021 1:34 am

by AaronG

I think the event starts at around 5000'. so you arent climbing 8300 in 7 miles.

On the website there is strava data. It looks like the climb is 5-9% with little bits over 12%.



The website is granfondomoab.com.

I feel like I at least need a 32 cog in the back. Will a 34 even fit?

PoorCyclist
Posts: 781
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:26 am
Location: California's country side

by PoorCyclist

It won't let me upload a picture but I imported their GPX into ridewith GPS here are the numbers of the main climb

15.5-32.2 mi
16.8 mi
4272 elev gain
75 ft elev loss
cat HC
max grade 9.3%
avg grade 5.1%

I would do this sort of climb on my "compact" bike, 34/25. 36/28 is about 7% easier gear than mine.

As long as you go with the flow, get some drafts and don't blow yourself up, should be just fine. Probably 2 hours give or take for the average prepared cyclist.

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 9641
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

4.8w/kg FT and my aero road bike uses 50/34x11-30t. I’ve considered going 52/36, but also with a switch to 11-32t in the back.

JMeinholdt
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Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:31 pm
Location: Topeka, KS

by JMeinholdt

I summited Sandia Crest (3800' climb starting at 6800') on my Wilier with a 35/28 low gear (SRAM AXS gearing). The bulk of the climb was in the 5-10% range. It was manageable but hard. I'm slightly stronger at about 3.6wkg. I would've done much better with a 33T cassette in back.

So, I'd probably go 11-32 minimum, 11-34 if you can get away with it.
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AaronG
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2021 1:34 am

by AaronG

I just ordered the new shimano 12 speed groupeset for my bike. Its supposed to come in March, 2 months before ride. I went with 52/36 up front and 11-34 cassette. That should be adaquate for the ride I hope. I'll swap back to 11-30 when I return, as much of my riding is flat.

I was afraid of blowing up on the climb. I live at 500', ride mostly flats (other than zwift) and will have been off bike all spring for marathon training. I dont expect a good time, I just want to make it up the mountain. Hopefully 36/34 will achive that.

sigma
Posts: 496
Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:12 am

by sigma

Live in Utah and have ridden down there. Think from what you describe, you should run 50/34 and 11-32 or max 11-34 in the back depending on also if you are coming from sea level. The climb is long with a few sections that kick briefly into high grades but not overly steep. The key will be to pace yourself early on as it gets progressively harder over the 16 miles, so don't blow up early. Since it's an early season ride, enjoy it as the views are spectacular. Also, the temps will warm very quickly from the morning, so depending on how long you think it will take you, make sure you can drop some layers into short sleeves. Have fun!
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