So I’ve been riding some of the trails in the foothills of the Rockies lately, and I feel like I’m getting a great feel for the downhills, and taking some knarly lines, but I’m a bit stymied by the uphills. The main problem is that these trails go up, up, up, up, up ,up, and then you turn around and go down, down, down, and the ups are giving me hell (they’re about a 1000’ rise in about 2.5 miles). It’s not all because of technique, because I can ride some pretty nasty ups, but since it just keeps going up and up, my legs and my lungs just won’t hold out. If I could get a break with a down or straight in between, I’d be OK, but it’s just up, up, up.
So I stopped to look at how the b*kers were getting up and realized that they’re using gear ratios less than 1:1, cause their cranks are turning like 3 times for each turn of the wheel, and I thought, hell, I would be OK if I could gear down like that. Well, I can’t until Harper gets his ass in gear on Redshift, but it made me wonder what I could do to effectively gear down. I know refining my technique will help, and I’m working on that and my leg strength and endurance, but a mechanical advantage would be a nice shortcut in the meantime.
Firstly, I’m on a 26”x3” wheel. I went with 26” cause I figured I’d be riding more for XC than trials, but now I wonder, how much of an advantage would I gain on the ups if I was using a 24” wheel. Not in terms of maneuverability, but in sheer climbing advantage.
Next I wondered about my cranks, which are 170s. I could try 175s. Would this give me much climbing advantage? How about a 24” with 175s vs. my 26” with 170s. Anybody have any experience climbing long, strenuous hills with some different setups?