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Tirreno-Adriatico SPOILER!!!!
Last Post 03/18/2014 02:05 PM by stronzo nonfumare. 22 Replies.
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79pmooney

Posts:1129

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03/17/2014 02:09 PM
I am going to guess Horner got this injury going up yesterday's finishing wall. I look at Contador's exertions and contortions going up that wall and remembering my love for doing the same thing when I was in my 20s and early 30s. By my 40s, that level of pure slow speed muscle was asking for that next injury. (Sorta fortunately, my knees kept me in check at least some of the time.)

Now, I think about doing those things still with longing, but I can usually accept that those days are past. Hence what I have been doing for many years on some of my bikes and starting to do on the others. Use low gears. I suspect Horner would have done well to have a substantially lower gear. In fact, I suspect most of the field would have done better with a lower gear, assuming that it could be done without mechanicals. The guy who could spin a 70 rpm and go straight up the hill could have passed a lot of riders. Say the rest were on 36 x 32s. 30.3" Say they were turning 40 rpm and adding 10% to their distance with weaving. This means that to go the same speed up the hill at 70 rpm, they would need a 30.3 / 70 X 40 / 1.1 = 15.7". This would require 18 X 32 or 21 X 36!

That would be a project! Say we accept a 53 X 13 high gear. Yes, the descents would be tough. But only one descent was/could have been deciding yesterday. (And remember, hills used to be descended in that gear when it was as large as there was - when I was racing) Using an 11, that gives us a 45 front big ring. A 32 middle ring would be roughly a 39 scaled down the same amount. So that gives us:

45-32-21 X 11-13-15-17-18-21-23-25-28-32-36

Definitely for one race only. It will never be anyone's favorite crankset. Descents would be a drag (and have anyone using that crankset looking for good, big bodies as they near the tops of climbs). But come that final climb, LOOK OUT! When everyone is struggling just to keep the pedals turning and weaving allover the road (the photo gallery on CyclingNews showed riders 45º off course and wheels turned 20º), the rider using this toy crankset would be blasting straight up the hill. Yes, way, way into oxygen debt, far past what anyone doing that 40 rpm could ever get to, but gaining elevation fast!

This from a guy who climbed the Mt Washington hill climb on a 28 front when everyone else used a 42. (1978, 39 tooth Shimanos were reserved for recreational bikes.) No, I didn't set records. It was my post accident year, I raced 5 hours the day before and Alberto Contador, Chris Horner and Dale Stetina are all riders I didn't get the genes to be. Still, my time was 78 minutes. I think with fresh legs on that bike and gearing I could have done 65 minutes. (I had to walk twice.) But a 42 X 28, what everyone else used, was an 11% higher gear. It would have only slowed me down, especially on that final pitch.

Ben
longslowdistance

Posts:680

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03/17/2014 04:17 PM
42x28 was indeed the Mt. Washington norm back in the day. Yes it was a grunt.
As for the gears you proposed for 30%, they exist today - on mtn bikes!
79pmooney

Posts:1129

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03/17/2014 05:18 PM
lsd, if we could mix technologies, the swap would be easy! If we still used square taper BB axles, then you could just pull the crankset, slap on a MTB set, change chains and rear derailleur and go. Oh, the indexing would probably be different. Not so easy.

I did Mt Washington as almost my last race ever. I knew I was going to be ordering the Mooney in a couple of weeks. I was already stashing parts for it and had a brand new 175mm arm TA crankset. I took an old outer ring and cut it down to the chainring bolt pattern. (That crankset had an outer ring that bolted to the crank on a small diameter circle, then the other rings bolted to the outer.) Then I bolted a 28t inner chainring to the cut-down outer ring so I had a 28 tooth single. In back I ran 13-21. That gave me the equivalent of a 42-32 and saved me the weight of a big FW, lots of chain and one chainring. It also meant that the conversion could be done by a racer reduced to stupidity by a very hard race. I changed to my training wheel with the 13-21 FW premounted, swapped cranksets and chain and I was done. The ring was so small the chain ran completely under the racing derailleur so I just left it on. Oh, this swap was done in the AMC "hut" at Tuckerman's Revine the night before the climb, not in a shop or at my home. And it was truly easy. Test ride was the downhill coast to the tollbooth/start the next morning. Only drawback: I was dead last of the three of us when we hit the trees and start of the climb. 1 million RPM in a 28 X 13 isn't very fast! Two turns later, I had passed both and never saw them again.

Ben
longslowdistance

Posts:680

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03/17/2014 08:53 PM
Great memories, Ben. Winning the first, flat 100 yards doesn't count for much! (For you nongeezers, Mt. Washington back in the day was run as a TT with riders starting in small groups, not a mass start like now.)
stronz

Posts:307

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03/18/2014 11:47 AM
well... back to T and A. UNimpressive TT from Mr. Contador even tho he still slides his arse around on the saddle like he did back in Anency when he beat Mr. Canc. I mean he lost to Quintana(!) Guess he was a bit spent from Sunday (and who wouldnt be) but this will give his July competitors some hope.
bobswire

Posts:292

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03/18/2014 12:03 PM
Posted By stronzo nonfumare on 03/18/2014 11:47 AM
well... back to T and A. UNimpressive TT from Mr. Contador even tho he still slides his arse around on the saddle like he did back in Anency when he beat Mr. Canc. I mean he lost to Quintana(!) Guess he was a bit spent from Sunday (and who wouldnt be) but this will give his July competitors some hope.

Too short of a TT to draw any conclusions from today. It was in the bag for Berto so he cruised while Quintana needed desperately to make up time.
79pmooney

Posts:1129

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03/18/2014 12:57 PM
I wouldn't sweat Contador's TT at all. He knows he went too hard for March last Sunday. Today, all he had to do was not crash and not be stupid. He knew exactly what he had to do to get his win. Quintana put in a fine ride. Contador matched it. OK, he threw away one second of cushion. He still finished with 125 to spare.

July is a long ways away. I suspect we will see not a whole lot of Contador's new form until it matters. He had to do what he did Sunday to prove to himself he could. He now knows. It is time to spend the next few months building more base and strength and not a time to burn any more matches. Someone commented that Contador has not been practicing a disciplined training routine. To be sure, he will never do the numbers based routine Sky is famous for, but again, that isn't how he races. But he is doing the work. And I think he wants the Tour enough and has enough maturity and smarts to stay on track to be at his best in July. And if he does, Chris Froome, watch out!

Ben
stronz

Posts:307

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03/18/2014 02:05 PM
Ben you are probably right. Most likely
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