Author Topic: 11-32 vs 11-34  (Read 2474 times)

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Offline Pat Lamb

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2014, 10:56:09 am »
It's always helpful when people use a common language to discuss things.  For road steepness, that's grade in percent.  Sure, it's technically possible to use centiradians from vertical, but it's not reasonable to expect other people to participate in a discussion when you use that kind of odd terminology.

The best I can figure, the Vesuvius grade averages 10% for 3 miles.  That's based on GPS, bike computer, and topographic maps.  It's built like most old mountain roads, so I wouldn't be surprised if there's stretches of 15% or more embedded in that 3 miles.

Lookout, KY was perhaps the worst grade going west.  I don't remember the numbers off the top of my head, but it was rough.  And we just had to laugh at the series of U-shaped dips southeast of Irvine, KY.

Back to the gearing question, pack light, gear low, and get a good running start on the flatter 8% sections to tackle the next 100 yards at 12%.  And there's no shame in walking.

Offline staehpj1

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2014, 11:49:11 am »
And yes, I remember well those Missouri river valleys, especially the valley formed by the Current River between Ellington and Houston. The Ellington park manager told me, "You got some hellacious mountains ahead of you!" Well, being from Colorado, I don't call them "mountains" but they were certainly difficult.
The Ozarks were kind of weird to me.  I kept wondering when we would be in the mountains and never really saw anything that seemed like a mountain on the TA in the Ozarks even by Appalachian standards.  Hills into and out of river valleys, yes and very steep ones at that.  It got to where I dreaded seeing the Ozark Scenic Riverways signs.  Those signs always meant a steep descent and then a steep ascent back up the other side.  It was especially rough since it was crazy hot when we were there. and dealing with rafting company buses on the shoulder-less roads was "interesting".  Still, as I said, I don't think they were as hard or as steep as some in the Appalachians.

I think one of my Trans America companions found that type of hill harder though and I think she would tell you the Ozarks were the hardest part of the trip for her.  I definitely don't feel that way myself.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 12:07:54 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline staehpj1

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2014, 11:55:39 am »
Lookout, KY was perhaps the worst grade going west.
If that is the grade I am remembering that doesn't surprise me.  It was a pretty crazy descent for us.

And there's no shame in walking.
Many folks will go to extreme lengths to avoid a bit of walking and I used to myself.  I have in more recent years found that it is nice to walk a bit sometimes just for a change of pace even where it is definitely not necessary.

Offline mathieu

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2014, 12:05:30 pm »
Sorry for the odd grade measure (yet Wikipedia puts Angle first in Nomenclature http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grade_(slope) ).
Anyhow, it sparked off several interesting topical memories.

Offline DanE

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2014, 12:20:18 pm »
I had a friend who kept an old bicycle racing magazine around which had an interview with Greg Lemond published in it. In the article Greg was asked what the most difficult mountain climb he had done. His answer was Reed Gap in Virginia, used in the Tour DuPont. Now Reed Gap is not on the Trans-Am, but it is right next to Vesuvius just off the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Afton.  That is just a little story to confirm that is a world class climb coming up that ridge to the BRP.

Offline zzzz

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2014, 08:20:40 pm »
This has wondered pretty far off the original post but we've gotten into the territory of something I've wondered about for some time.

I went back and looked at the trace (I have a Garmin) from my ride from Vesuvious up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The exact points are hard to grab and I never corrected the altimeter function but I picked a point at the bottom but where it was already showing as steep and it read elevation 1500' and milage 22.08 and then I picked a point near the top but it had not leveled off yet and it was elevation 2865' and milage 25.00.

So you've gained 1365' in 2.92 miles. You plug that into your handy/dandy incline calculator:

http://www.csgnetwork.com/inclinedeclinegradecalc.html

and you get a incline of 8.8%,(which seems awfully low for that hill)

It was 2 years ago now so I don't remember exactly but the Garmin was reading 10 - 13% the whole way up that hill. And this is not an isolated incident, whenever I'm on something steep and I check to see what the read out is on the Garmin and then cross check it against the incline calculator, the Garmin readout is 2-3-4% high.

Now, the math is the math. I'm sure the incline calculator is giving you the right % for the numbers you put in. But the Garmin is doing it's own math.

Any theories?

Pete

Offline John Nelson

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2014, 11:36:01 pm »
This has wondered pretty far off the original post but we've gotten into the territory of something I've wondered about for some time.

I went back and looked at the trace (I have a Garmin) from my ride from Vesuvious up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The exact points are hard to grab and I never corrected the altimeter function but I picked a point at the bottom but where it was already showing as steep and it read elevation 1500' and milage 22.08 and then I picked a point near the top but it had not leveled off yet and it was elevation 2865' and milage 25.00.

So you've gained 1365' in 2.92 miles. You plug that into your handy/dandy incline calculator:

http://www.csgnetwork.com/inclinedeclinegradecalc.html

and you get a incline of 8.8%,(which seems awfully low for that hill)

It was 2 years ago now so I don't remember exactly but the Garmin was reading 10 - 13% the whole way up that hill. And this is not an isolated incident, whenever I'm on something steep and I check to see what the read out is on the Garmin and then cross check it against the incline calculator, the Garmin readout is 2-3-4% high.

Now, the math is the math. I'm sure the incline calculator is giving you the right % for the numbers you put in. But the Garmin is doing it's own math.

Any theories?
It's human nature. When you say that it was reading 10-13% all the way up the hill, that means that it was reading 10-13% every time you looked at it. But when did you look at it? When you were curious, of course. When were you curious? When the hill was the steepest.

This is why we think hills are steeper than they are, why we think headwinds are worse than they are, why we think we ride faster than we do, etc.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2014, 12:59:22 am »
So you've gained 1365' in 2.92 miles. You plug that into your handy/dandy incline calculator:
http://www.csgnetwork.com/inclinedeclinegradecalc.html
and you get a incline of 8.8%,(which seems awfully low for that hill)
Now, the math is the math. I'm sure the incline calculator is giving you the right % for the numbers you put in.

1365 feet elevation gain
5280 feet per mile
2.92 miles
2.92 x 5280 = 15,417 feet
1365 / 15417 = 8.85%

As you said, the math is the math.  It works out exactly right.  As for 8.8% seeming low for the hill, well, that is the right percentage.

Whether you have a 32 or 34 big cog on the cassette, it won't make any difference climbing, you won't notice any difference pedaling.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 01:01:28 am by RussSeaton »

Offline staehpj1

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2014, 05:34:11 am »
As you said, the math is the math.  It works out exactly right.  As for 8.8% seeming low for the hill, well, that is the right percentage.
Yes that is probably the correct average percentage for the climb, but I can't think of two reasons why it seems low.  First, the climb is not really steady so if it certainly has sections that are steeper than the average and probably some short sections are substantially steeper.

The second reason is that many of the grades we are mentally it to comparing have signage with a percentage that is much higher than the actual grade.

Offline salabes

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2014, 09:54:29 am »
George here, original poster. Now that you guys have put a fear in me, and wandered off my original querry about the 11-32 vs 11-34 question, my take away is - spirits undampened but there's no shame in walking. If I'm not too proud to walk, then perhaps the switch to a 34 becomes irrelevant.  Fascinating discussion you guys are the best. Plan to leave Yorktown 5/31.
Thanks
George

Offline John Nelson

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2014, 11:31:57 am »
Different people here have posted different opinions as to whether or not you'd notice the difference between 32 and 34, but if somebody offers to give you either an 11-32 or an 11-34, take the 11-34, just in case.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #26 on: April 22, 2014, 04:24:22 pm »
Different people here have posted different opinions as to whether or not you'd notice the difference between 32 and 34, but if somebody offers to give you either an 11-32 or an 11-34, take the 11-34, just in case.

Yes.  No one who posted about there being no real difference between the 32 or 34 cassette claimed the 34 was not easier.  It is.  A little bit easier.  But the difference in ease is negligible.  Probably never notice the difference if you rode both cassettes back to back.  Not worth spending money to change the cassette unless you just want to spend money.  If you have a free choice, then take the 34 cassette.  Assuming your rear derailleur will fit underneath the 34 cog.  Some derailleur hangers are sized so the derailleur cannot get under a 34 cog.  Just fits under a 32 cog.

The person who posted the question has a 44-32-22 crankset and 11-32 cassette.  Assume 9 speed on his Trek 520.  The 22x32 low gear is 18.2 gear inches.  At 90 rpm he is going 4.9 mph.  With a 22x34 low gear the gear inches are 17.1.  At 90 rpm he is going 4.6 mph.  At 80 rpm he is going 4.3 mph with the 32 cog and 4.1 mph with the 34 cog.  0.2 to 0.3 mph difference.  Can you tell the difference?

Offline zzzz

Re: 11-32 vs 11-34
« Reply #27 on: April 22, 2014, 04:52:15 pm »
To George (the original poster):

Good luck w/ your trip, I'm sure you're going to have a great time.

As far as your gearing/ equipment concerns, remember that nothing is set in stone. About 20 miles west of Charlottesville you're going to hit the climb up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was heading the other way but I presume that climb is going to be as tough as anything else your going to hit. The Parkway itself is pretty hilly but then you will drop down off the ridge line about 20 miles down the road.

Then you got about 200 miles of rolling hillside to decide if you want to change something with your bike. There's a beautiful little town called Damascus Va. right on your route before you hit the steep stuff again. Your map list's several bike shops in town but all except one are bike rental places that are of no use to you. There is one real bike shop, it's called Adventure Damascus. It's easy to spot, the facade looks like it's a replica of a 60's rock album cover.

If that first big climb shook you up, here's your chance to change your gearing. After Damascus starts about 250 miles of the hilliest part of the trip unit it flattens out around Berea, Ky. Also, there are post offices all along the way. If your not using something, get rid of it. You will notice every couple of lbs you can shuck off.

Pete
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 07:45:17 pm by zzzz »