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Wheels & gears for the Fred Whitton

nunowoolmeznunowoolmez Posts: 865
edited February 2012 in Road buying advice
Hi all

I am lucky enough to have a place on this years Fred Whitton & while i am putting in the training i am just wondering what wheels & gears i will be better off arming myself with for this epic beast of a ride! I currently run a pair of American Classic 420 Aero 3's which i suppose are mid section but very robust & a good all round wheel. On the same bike i run a 28/11 10 speed cassette with a compact 50/34 chainset. I have read a few people do this with triples but i would like to avoid this if at all possible. I am not a bad climber but certainly no Andy Schleck, i weigh about 11 half stone & am about F5'10. On my other bike i run a pair of Bontrager RL's which are great but only use these for training/commuting. I use Continental GP 4000 tyres on both bikes & don't plan on changing these as they are great!

Any advice or suggestions would be welcome, cheers

Posts

  • Wirral_paulWirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    1520g or so wheelset - should be light enough. I cant see the point of spending £500+ on something lighter to be honest! Same with the triple chainset really - left shifter, front mech and chainset starts to add up - to give you a lower gear that you may never need! I've done a 25% climb on a 39x25 and am a lot heavier than you so i'd hope you'd stand a chance at the 33% bits on a 34x28. If you cant get up the really steep bits on that gear which you already have then i'd say - just accept the short walk.
  • You should be able to go up most hills with a 34/28 combination, yep the hills are steep and they will sap all the energy from your legs (until they shake) but they are relatively short at least in comparison to the Alpine climbs.
    Only option you have is to try to upgrade to Apex gearing but you'll need a new cassette, new long cage and new chain and even then I don't think the gain will be that much.
    I don't think it's worth it and if you have to walk up the steep hills you won't be alone....
    There's warp speed - then there's Storck Speed
  • Brian BBrian B Posts: 2,071
    I am a vetaran of 6 FWC's and I use a triple but again I like spin and only have to use my smallest gear for Hardknott and my 30X23 2nd gear would be similar to your 34x28 set up so your gearing would be okay for most. Saying that I can do most sportives on a standard double set up at present so beware and there is a good chance you might be walking on Hardknott after tough 100 miles in the legs but maybe not depending on your fitness. I aint no racing snake at 6ft2" and weighing in at 83kgs but find the Fred really tough so early in the year and mentally Hardknott is as tough as its physically as its all laid out in front of you and plays with your mind.

    I have done all of my sportives over the years(and the Fred) on Conti's GP4000s and they are great tyres if you run them at 110PSI. Your wheels will be fine - no probs there.

    Enjoy
    Brian B.
  • maddog 2maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    I'd say 34-28 is just about right.

    If you wanted lower (but still on two rings) then you could get a 33t ring and/or go for a 11-32 cassette (and either a SRAM Apex mech or 9spd MTB mech , depending if you are SRAM or Shimano).

    I've done 2 FWCs and ridden the course another two times and the key is, as said, Hardknott at 100 miles. To give yourself a chance of riding it (which I 've always managed to do) then go for the lowest gear you can practically achieve. No point in being all macho about it - Hardknott is brutal, no two ways about it. I tend to run 33-28, although I have done it on 34-27.
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • You can now get the new 10-speed Tiagra cassette in a 12-30 - could be an option, assuming you're a Shimano man?
  • Thanks for all the replies chaps, has certainly given me some reassurance! Seems it is possible with my gearing, guess now it's just a matter of fitness & mental toughness! Really looking forward to it, treating it somewhat as an adventure, & just aiming to enjoy it! Think i will plan to travel up to Coniston to give Hardknott & a few others a trial ride, hopefully i can stick with what i have, but the Tiagra cassette is an interesting option. Cheers
  • Tempted as I am to sell you a pair of light wheels I have in the garage, I have to be honest with you... it's a one day event, you're not doing a Coast to Coast across USA... any wheelset will get you up Wrynose and Hardknott if you have the legs and no wheelset will get you up there, if you don't...
    I would choose the most reliable equipment you have, over the lightest... best to finish 5 minutes slower than not to finish at all
  • styxdstyxd Posts: 3,234
    A 34/28 will be ideal for it. Last year I think I used a 34/27 and had no problem getting up hardknott, but I didnt hammer the rest of the ride though, just took it easy. The thing to watch for is people falling off in front of you!

    When my bro was getting the miles in for it, he rode from langdale - over wrynose- over hardknott (turned round at the bottom) - back over hardknott - back over wrynose - then home, on a 39/25. So it is doable, dont think I could manage that though (although Im quicker than him up the hils due to lack of weight and pushing an easier gear with a higher cadence I reckon)

    Probably worth coming up here and giving it a go, its not a hugely difficult climb but I guess it lets you know what to expect. I was chatting to a guy a couple of miles before Hardknott on last years FW. He'd never ridden it before. I stopped for a piss and he carried on, I passed him just after the cattle grid at the bottom where it starts to get steep. He'd given up and was off walking. But if you know whats coming and how long it is, you're probably more inclined to stay on your bike.
  • You are running a set up that's pretty similar to what I had in mind (I just didn't get in). I was planning on taking a compact with an 11-28 on my RS80's. I was also thinking of GP4000S (it's too early in the year to break out a more delicate tyre).

    Good luch with the training and Fred Whitton.
  • nickwillnickwill Posts: 2,735
    styxd wrote:
    A 34/28 will be ideal for it. Last year I think I used a 34/27 and had no problem getting up hardknott, but I didnt hammer the rest of the ride though, just took it easy. The thing to watch for is people falling off in front of you!

    When my bro was getting the miles in for it, he rode from langdale - over wrynose- over hardknott (turned round at the bottom) - back over hardknott - back over wrynose - then home, on a 39/25. So it is doable, dont think I could manage that though (although Im quicker than him up the hils due to lack of weight and pushing an easier gear with a higher cadence I reckon)

    Probably worth coming up here and giving it a go, its not a hugely difficult climb but I guess it lets you know what to expect. I was chatting to a guy a couple of miles before Hardknott on last years FW. He'd never ridden it before. I stopped for a wee-wee and he carried on, I passed him just after the cattle grid at the bottom where it starts to get steep. He'd given up and was off walking. But if you know whats coming and how long it is, you're probably more inclined to stay on your bike.

    If that's not a hugely difficult climb, I don't know what is. I've been over a lot of the steepest climbs in the Alps and Pyrenees and most of the tough ones in the UK and I've never found anything as tough as Hardknott particularly after 100 miles of the Fred Whitton. With regards to gearing choice I have the same setup as the op and it's just about spot on. Any lower and you are likely to be walking anyway.
  • styxdstyxd Posts: 3,234
    I was trying to fill them with confidence! If you pace yourself its not as bad as alot of people make it out to be, plus it levels off in the middle so you get a breather. I think Wrynose from langdale is tougher cos theres no level section for a breather, it just goes on and on!
  • nickwillnickwill Posts: 2,735
    I wasn't meaning to be critical styxd. Sorry if I came across that way! Difficulty of hills is pretty subjective after all. I think I would put Wrynose East as a close second to Hardknott West with Honister from either direction coming in next. In the end it depends how you are going on the day. I reckon that perhaps 60% of participants on the Fred are walking by the time they are on the upper reaches of Hardknott. I think the trick with Hardknott is to hold back a bit if you can on the steep section to the fort. Take it really easy on the relatively mild mid section and then be prepared to bury yourself on the final ramps. You can almost treat it as two separate climbs. That certainly helps me mentally.
  • Hmm...getting a bit scared now! This a bit of a leap into the unknow for me. Have done plenty of sportives over the last 2 years but nithing on this scale. Last years AMR Peak 100 is the toughest i've done (partly due to the weather) & had some tough climbs, all of which i managed. The Fred will be a considerable step beyond that tho. Think it will just be a case of head down & grind em out! Oh well, up & at em! Grrr....
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    You'll be fine with a 34/28 (probably). Have a look at my blog www.100hillsforgeorge.blogspot.com - I have got videos (rough) of most of the climbs on the Fred Whitton and whilst I rode them over a couple of days, I rode with a 34/26. The weather wasn't the best either. I agree that it is the cumulative effect of the climbs that will knacker you, rather than the out and out steepness - although this is pretty tough - certainly pacing yourself is key - do not get tempted to "hammer" earlier hills and leave it all out there early doors. Good luck!
  • Great stuff, thanks for all your comments! i will check out the blog, will be interesting to get a bikes eye view of the climbs.
  • Brian BBrian B Posts: 2,071
    :D
    Nickwill wrote:
    I wasn't meaning to be critical styxd. Sorry if I came across that way! Difficulty of hills is pretty subjective after all. I think I would put Wrynose East as a close second to Hardknott West with Honister from either direction coming in next. In the end it depends how you are going on the day. I reckon that perhaps 60% of participants on the Fred are walking by the time they are on the upper reaches of Hardknott. I think the trick with Hardknott is to hold back a bit if you can on the steep section to the fort. Take it really easy on the relatively mild mid section and then be prepared to bury yourself on the final ramps. You can almost treat it as two separate climbs. That certainly helps me mentally.


    Hi Nick - I agree with you that Hardknott West tops Wrynose East (very close though). For some reason I manage Wrynose much easier than Hardknott and I reckon we are similar in terms of fitness and climbing ability. I certainly split it into two parts and the 1st being the toughest but the 2nd half is where you suffer as you dont fully recover on the 10% middle easy section :D I'll be tackling this climb again soon on the LL and always find it tougher then than during the Fred.
    Brian B.
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