Recommended Road Gearing for GVBR 2016?

General talk, queries & comments about the Great Victorian Bike Ride.
kernelsanders
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Recommended Road Gearing for GVBR 2016?

Postby kernelsanders » Wed 03 May 2017, 10:49 pm

Hi, I'm considering going on the GVBR - my first time, and I'm a bit worried about the hills.

I've been riding for about 18 months now, and I'm not a super string rider. I average about 20-25kph on the flats on my 16km commute to work. Takes me about 40-45 minutes.

While I'm getting better up the hills, I'm still not great and more than a little worried about what the GVBR will throw at me.

I'm currently riding a Giant OCR Zero road bike (about 9.5kg) - endurance geometry, and I've changed the gearing to a 50/34 compact set up, with an 11-28 in the cassette? Is this sufficient? Should I go to a an 11-34? Should I consider changing everything out and going to a triple? Should I invest in a cheap touring bike?

I know a lot of people do it on road bikes, but I couldn't find a lot of information in this forum about recommended gearing set ups.

Would love to get your advice!

Thanks,

Eugene

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baudman
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Re: Recommended Road Gearing for GVBR 2016?

Postby baudman » Thu 04 May 2017, 8:47 am

A great many people complete the GVBR on many and varying bikes. On the face of it, it seems your bike would be very well suited.

However... you know your abilities in the hills. You could build up to that over the ensuing months. In most GVBR routes, they like to throw in at least one day with a tough hill, or two, as well as one long (over 100km) day. They'll (hopefully) post more detail on each individual day route/profile at some point in the next few months.

If it does come to it, and a hill is too much for you, you won't be the only one walking their bike up the steeper slopes.

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JAC
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Recommended Road Gearing for GVBR 2017?

Postby JAC » Thu 04 May 2017, 9:54 am

I ride an OCR zero with 50/34 compacts and a 9 speed 12-27 cassette. That has got me up everything I have attempted to climb so far.

Bikes on the GVBR range from a few sleek racers to some really heavy, badly maintained beasts, so your bike will be fine.

Your basic commute is a good base for GVBR - are you able to add the occasional longer ride? and a few hills to improve both your fitness and confidence? Make sure your knicks are suitable for a longer ride, and consider the use of a "chamois cream" ( e.g Aussie Butt cream)

As baudman has commented, if the route includes a steep hill, there will be a string of walkers, so if you get stuck you'll still have mates ;)
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kernelsanders
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Re: Recommended Road Gearing for GVBR 2016?

Postby kernelsanders » Thu 04 May 2017, 1:18 pm

Thanks so much for the great feedback baudman and JAC!

The most kms I've done in a day so far is 60km, but if I go, I do plan to put in some training and make sure I can go the distance.

Definitely need to invest in some more pairs of good knicks/bike shorts too. I wore a pair yesterday for a 45km ride and it made a huge difference. I also applied some Chamois cream too which must have helped!

I was also thinking about trying some more comfortable saddles. I use a Brooks Cambium C17 Carved saddle, which is OK, and certainly more comfortable than the carbon saddle that used to be on it, but I'm not sure it's 100% a good fit for my sit bones. Definitely thinking about getting a proper bike fit and trying a few different saddles before I embark on this adventure.

Any advice on where to find some good hills to practice climbing in Melbourne? I live in Hawthorn and there are a few big hills like Balwyn Rd heading towards the eastern freeway trail, but inner Melbourne being pretty flat doesn't seem to give as much opportunity to practice bringing on the pain. I guess I could take the bike to Mt Dandenong? :shock:

Also, given it's my first time, do you think it's best to start with the shorter variants of the race or go the whole hog first time?

Thanks!

weg

Re: Recommended Road Gearing for GVBR 2016?

Postby weg » Thu 04 May 2017, 1:41 pm

If you're in Hawthorn, Kew bouli is a great option (with a puncture kit). Or Robinson/Kooyongkoot at the southern end are pretty quiet, depending on day and time.

And +1 to ride what you have.

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bc
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Re: Recommended Road Gearing for GVBR 2016?

Postby bc » Thu 04 May 2017, 2:33 pm

Your setup sounds quite suitable - depending on your ability. I've found I'm much stronger on hills after the Great Vic - all that practice. Assuming you're talking about the 2017 ride around Gippsland, the overall profile is here. Without having ridden the route, it looks like rolling hills rather than big hills, and rolling hills give you recovery time. Don't worry about having a rest or walking, with some people on really heavy bikes and/or towing trailers, there are always a few walking on most significant hills - you won't be alone, and with each days ride you'll be stronger. Kew Bouli is probably a great option for training.

I'd regard good knicks/bike shorts as a must with a multi day ride. Don't worry too much about the distance each day as it isn't a race, and it will be broken up by lunch and whatever other stops you make. If you're slow it just means more time in the saddle, and so knicks become even more important.

kernelsanders
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Re: Recommended Road Gearing for GVBR 2016?

Postby kernelsanders » Thu 04 May 2017, 3:34 pm

Thanks Weg. They're great recommendations. Time to bring on the pain! :lol:

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Re: Recommended Road Gearing for GVBR 2016?

Postby wagger » Wed 10 May 2017, 9:43 am

You didn't expressly say it, but you commute to work. But do you commute several days in a row? Ie just not every 2nd or 3rd day. You should get the muscles used to riding several days in a row. You should also get into the routine of stretching before/ after your commutes, to avoid acid build up in the legs.

Then there is the "iron bum" issue of sitting for several days in a row on a bike seat.
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kernelsanders
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Re: Recommended Road Gearing for GVBR 2016?

Postby kernelsanders » Wed 10 May 2017, 10:47 am

Thanks for the advice bc and the link to the profile. A few hundred metres elevation. What could possibly go wrong? :lol:

Wagger, I don't commute multiple days in a row as much as I used to. Great advice to build up the stamina. I'll definitely start increasing my work commuting. I didn't realise that stretching helped with acid build up either - so will add that to my routine too. Thanks for the great advice.

I'm thinking of getting my sit bones measured and trying out some different saddles. Though I'm sure there's no substitute to just riding lots and HTFU :-)

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Re: Recommended Road Gearing for GVBR 2016?

Postby jvb » Wed 10 May 2017, 12:25 pm

If you commute to work and already can comfortably ride 60km on a day you can ride the GVBR. No special training required. Your bike is fine as well.
My wife did her first GVBR (and only one so far) with just a few weeks on the Warby trail, riding a $300 hybrid.
A couple of weeks ago she did a four day ride in Holland averaging 80km per day with pretty much no training at all. Yes, there were no hills but they had pretty strong head wind most days.
In summary, don't stress too much about the effort required for the GVBR. Keep commuting and do some longer rides on the weekend and you'll be fine.

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Re: Recommended Road Gearing for GVBR 2016?

Postby macca33 » Wed 10 May 2017, 8:31 pm

For the GVBR 2016, I'd recommend a time machine..... :shock:
'dale CAAD10 Berzerker & Jamis Xenith Elite & Focus Mares CX

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