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First major "tour"(4 posts)

First major "tour"off roadie
Jul 3, 2002 6:52 AM
I recently found out about a biking trip, and am kind of psyched to go. Its 15 days in the Canadian Rockies, doing 50-90 miles a day.

I'm slightly worried about the hills and the pace. I've never done a century, and have done all my riding in the Midwest (Primarily Minneapolis). I've only ever done 50 miles once in the past year, and at the end, the hills were killing me. Maybe I just needed more water- it was very hot an dry that day, and I haven't bonked like that since I started upping my water intake before and during my rides. I can do 30 rolling miles in 1.5 hours, and still feel strong, so maybe just reducing my pace would let me cover more ground.

Obviously there's little time to condition myself, if I'm not already fit for such a ride. If I take the trip, is there anything I should do to my bike? Its got a double ring (39/53) and a 8 speed cassette (12-23). I was thinking I should find a broader cassette. Any specs on what a RX100 derailuer can handle? Are "touring / century" cassettes common enough that I can get one from the LBS, or will I have to special order one from somewhere lik Harris?
re: First major "tour"pmf1
Jul 3, 2002 7:04 AM
Definitely get a bigger cassette. The 9-speed max size is 12-27, I'd guess its the same for 8-speed. I did Ride the Rockies in CO last year and did it comfortably with a 12-27. I did buy a 38 inner chain ring from Excel ($18) for a little more room. The hills were long, but not killer steep.

Anyone can do a century. Not anyone can do a fast century. 90 miles might seem like a long time to ride, but remember, you've got all day to do it. You'll be starting early, so you'll have 12 hours at the minimum everyday.

A couple of years ago I did Pedal PA. There were killer steep hills on that. As soon as I got done, I got a message and drank 2 bottles of water, then took a nap. Massages really help --- they're worth $20/day. Drink plenty of water.
I'm not quite as sanguine as pmf1cory
Jul 3, 2002 8:27 AM
I agree that you're overgeared. I'd toss that 23 and go with the biggest cassette you can fit in there. The change from 39 to 38 (which I think is the smallest you can use) probably isn't worth the time and cost.
I'm also concerned about the cumulative effect of several days of riding. I'm not convinced that "anyone can do a century"--I know they kick MY butt--and the effects of just sitting on a bike seat for 10 hours or so will grind you down. Your post sort of implies that you're not doing a lot of miles now, and there's a big difference between riding 60 miles and riding 60 miles three days in a row.
A lot depends on the pace and the companions, too. If it's a group tour with a company that specializes in herding casual cyclists, you should be fine. If you hook up with a bunch of Nazis who want to average 23mph, you'll be hurting.
But then I'm a middle-aged guy who's sort of lost his taste for pain, so what do I know...?
cassettes, contactsoff roadie
Jul 3, 2002 9:03 AM
It looks like Shimano makes 8 speed 12-28 and 13-26 cassettes (among others). If the 28 works with my Derailuer, it sounds great. The 26 would probably do as well- thats about 40.5 gear inches, which is pretty easy on my MTB's. That should be very nice on a road bike, right? This is not (afaik) a loaded tour, there's a support / sag vehicle.

I aggree on the potential problems of cummulative effects and group dynamics issues. I have yet to get in touch with the ride leader, and those would certainly be worth asking about. I like to rise to a challenge, but I also know that my body does have limits, and am looking for at least some enjoyment in this "vacation".