Ventoux for a Couch Potato-impossible??

Discussion in 'Professional Cycling' started by DeaconDale, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. DeaconDale

    DeaconDale New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello, newbie here!

    I am now needing some advice please.

    My wife this year has been diagnosed with Leukemia and as a great cycling fan, although firmly in my armchair, I am thinking about taking on one of the famous climbs of the Tour, in order to raise money for Cancer charities.

    I need advice with the following:

    1. As I havent been on a bike for years and am at least three stone overwieght, how long before I could properly do the ride. Next year? Year after?

    2. I don't own a bike, which should I get?

    3. I am thinking that I would like to tackle the Ventoux, is this too ambitious, would another Tour mountain be more realistic?

    Thanks for you help.

    Dale
     
    Tags:


  2. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    185
    Any mountain is possible with correct pacing, gearing and a bit of training.

    Any sub-22lb road bike should work - it doesn't have to be anything fancy but preferably for you it should have a triple chainset. Most shimano and FSA triple chainsets have a 74mm bcd chainring for the smallest of the three chainrings (normally a 30tooth ring). You can get smaller if required. Similarly you'd want at least a 27 sprocket on the back.

    Such a climb might take you a few hours but even if you get used to training for say 4 hours, never underestimate how completely bollocksed you might get from climbing for more than an hour in a low gear with no time to relax. That's one of the reasons why it's good to have low gears available - even if you don't end up using them. Some people suffer from altitude issues too.

    If you're 3 stone overweight I wouldn't bother getting a bike that costs as much as a halfway reasonable used car. Spending lots of money to save 5lbs on the bike when you're carrying a 40+lb gut anchor doesnt make any sense.

    If you're doing this for charity then you have to figure that not many regular folk have heard of Ventoux - something like the Col de la Bonette which if you take in the Cime de la Bonette 'scenic loop' around the summit includes the highest paved through road in Europe at almost 9,200ft. The climb isn't as tough as the Ventoux but the fact that it's one of the highest roads would probably appeal to a larger group of people and may make getting sponsorship a bit easier...

    Where are you from?
     
  3. nonns

    nonns New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    2
    Mmm I'm no coach but as a 41 yo couch potato (used to be quite competitive) who's trying to do something about it I was told the following. I am around 3 stone overweight now (started at 4)

    Build up the cycling very gradually and don't try to be a hero. See a doc (I ignored this of course but you should see a doc before taking the exercise).

    Start of with 10-15 mins no more. Don't worry about distance just ride for 10-15 mins.
    Do this 3 times first week. Second week try for 20 mins 4-5 times.
    3rd week do 30 mins 5 times. On the days you're not cycling go for a walk.

    Don't do any of this fast just at comfortable speeds. Aim to enjoy it.
    From the point where 30 mins easy is comfortable then start upping it by 20% per week.

    e.g. 30 mins 36 mins around 42 mins every 3 or four weeks or so step back for a week.

    Once you start riding for more than 30 mins start taking water or a sports drink with you. Don't consider the Ventoux or any other major rides until your stomach has gone.

    Aim generally for a weight loss of between 500 and 1000 cals per day

    3 Stone is 147000 calories approx so you're looking at around 5 months at 1000 cals per day. Don't be tempted to lose more than that as you then tend to lose muscle mass. You want to build the muscle and lose the fat.

    Intially you might find your weight goes up. I'm rowing right now and my weight has remained static but I've shed most of my gut and my butt.

    BTW here's some basic info on nutrition plans for various ride types. You will need to start using these long before you ever get to a Ventoux type ride

    put title here

    Ask in the training section what people there would recommend. Try Ric Stern for advice - he was nice to me. He's a coach. There are others. If talking to them ignore everything I said.

    I wasted Ric's time - not deliberately. I was deadly serious at the time then work took over my life and put everything on hold. I've seen the light now however.
     
  4. DeaconDale

    DeaconDale New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, as I not an expert in these things would you be prepared to actually name a bike that I should/could buy?
     
  5. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,723
    Likes Received:
    126
    Bianchi DOLOMOTI ...

    If your budget is tight, then almost any bike with 130mm rear spacing ...

    Get some Campagnolo 10-speed (ERGO-preferred) shifters + 9-speed Shimano-compatible wheels, 11-32 or 12-34 9-speed Shimano cassette, non-RAPID_RISE XTR rear derailleur connected using the hubbub.com alternate rear derailleur cable anchoring @ 3 o'clock.
     
  6. DeaconDale

    DeaconDale New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am afraid you lost me from wheel spacing onwards....forgive me for being so amateurish! However if I purchased the Bianchi Dolomoti, 'off the shelf' as it were, are you saying it would do the job!? Many thanks for your help.
     
  7. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,723
    Likes Received:
    126
    Bianchi certainly makes more expensive & less expensive bikes than the Dolomiti ... their Dolomiti is probably neither the best nor the worst choice you can make -- the Bianchi Dolomiti is just as starting point for you to consider.

    Neither the particular Bianchi nor most other bikes in its class will have the best gearing for you for riding up Mont Ventoux; but, the gearing can certainly be changed ... if only for the single ride!

    For THE ride, you could theoretically put a MTB crank on whichever bike you are going to ride -- putting a MTB crank on a road bike is something more easily done on a bike which has an English threaded BB shell.

    There are some square taper Shimano BBs with Italian threading which could be used with a MTB crank. Shimano had/(has?) an Octalink XT BB with Italian threading ... some Bianchis have English threaded BBs, and perhaps the Dolomiti does, too. Of course, you could certainly have a contemporary MTB crank with external BB cups installed on a frame which has an Italian threaded BB.

    If you didn't want to be so obvious that you are not using the outer chainring while ascending Mont Ventoux, you could mount a "triple" crankset on the bike & just use the middle & granny chainrings.

    There are a lot of good-to-great bikes available which you should find to be suitable, and your aesthetic sensibilities & wallet should be your guide.

    You have a lot of options with regard to the bike AND the final gearing -- and the gearing you decide to use for the ascent up Mont Ventoux does not have to be whatever the bike has when you buy it off-the-peg OR while you are training/preparing for the ride.
     
  8. DeaconDale

    DeaconDale New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you again Alfgeng for your detailed reply, I am sorry but you are speaking with a real nimwit who does not have a clue really about bikes. The last time I was on one was 5 or 6 years ago when I cycled with my wife to Santiago de Compostela, we tried to cycle over the Somport Pass on secondhand Raliegh touring bikes, suffice to say we pushed virtually all the way! This just shows that I dont have a clue! That is why I need an Idoits guide to bike buying and even how to ride up a mountain! So if you are still willing to put up with I would appreciate any help you can give me...........
     
  9. slovakguy

    slovakguy Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2006
    Messages:
    1,898
    Likes Received:
    33
    bicycling.com has a few reviews that might interest you concerning your bike needs. if they're still posted the editor's choice awards are listed as well as road bikes under $1,000(?). that might give you a leg up when you go to your local bike shop.
     
  10. DeaconDale

    DeaconDale New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes an idea thanks, however I suppose if I am honest what I am really looking for is for one of you guys who are keen cyclists to just tell me which bike I should buy. Again to be honest I am not very technical and wouldn't be able to do anything myself, so one straight off the shop floor would be best!
     
  11. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    185
    Just to help us all out here... how much would you like to spend on a bike and where do you live? There's no point in telling you about $3000 bikes and about cool deal in the US if you're looking to spend 750 UK Pounds and live in Northern England....

    ... but, as cool as an uber expensive bike may seem it's not the determining factor of whether you'll make it up a climb like that. Sensible training, pacing and feeding account for much much more than having a bike like the Treks that Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong rode to podium finishes in this years tour.

    You need not be worried about the number of gears that you have as it'll be irrelevant on the climb - it's the bottom two or three gears that will make or break your ride. There are no prizes for big gears if your aim is to get to the top - a standard 130/74 triple (that refers to the bolt center diameter of the crank with the chainrings - your bike shop with know what I'm talking about :p) allows for a chainring down to a 24 teeth, which will allow you to climb a really steep road, albeit at a slow pace but at least you'll have the option of not being in bottom gear and struggling - just change up as required.

    The bike itself... It just has to fit properly, have a saddle that you find comfy and a reasonable set of wheels and tires.

    Here's some great pictures of the climb from steephill.tv

    2007 Cycling Mont-Ventoux and Gorges de la Nesque <- click me!

    How awesome is this...
    [​IMG]

    That pic is the north side of the mountain and you still have a fair bit of climbing left. The harder southern side from Bedoin, the route the Tour always takes, is over 1,000ft lower to the valley floor...

    The Ventoux, Stelvio and Haleakala are on my "must climb before my legs fall off" list.
     
  12. slovakguy

    slovakguy Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2006
    Messages:
    1,898
    Likes Received:
    33
    no gavia or izoard?
     
  13. DeaconDale

    DeaconDale New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Swampy. I live in Germany (although I am from England) so the bike will neither be paid for in $ or £ but in Euros!! I had thought that as my friend (who lives in England) and I are doing the ride for Livestrong that maybe we might go in search of sponsorship in order to help towards the cost of the bikes.....however as we plan to complete this challenge next July I think we just need to 'get on our bikes' and get on with it as it were. Therefore I suppose I would be prepared (with my wife's permission!) be willing to spend perhaps a £1000 on a bike and then of course there may be other equipment that I have to buy? I concur that maybe it is more about my own, fitness, training rather than just having an expensive bike.
     
  14. MPCRUSHER

    MPCRUSHER New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeh I know absolutely nothing about cycling either. I plan on going to France and riding the vetoux twice! and then I'm going to ride through the Alps and climb all the big climbs that the pros do.

    I'm also going to do it for Livestrong foundation.

    Please this is for a very important cause. I will be challenging myself in the name of cancer research. I will even do it in July when it is really hot.

    Please pm me if you can help fund this trip. All you need to do is transfer a simple donation to the following acount

    Account Name: MrPhoneyCharityOrganisation
    BSB No- 873-984
    Account No: 8375635275

    I will even accept cheques.

    Remember this is for a very important cause. I assure you that your donation will be well spent. I will even post photos of my gruelling quest in the French Alps Next July so you can see for yourself the effort I have gone to.

    disclaimer: All monies earnt less expenses will be donated to the above mentioned charity on completion of bicycle challenge.
     
  15. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    185
    I've done the izoard and although the gavia is cool I believe the stelvio is tougher and would be 'cooler' - looking down the dozens of hairpins when you're at 8,000+ft has gotta be something thats gotta be even better than looking out from Alpe DHuez.
     
  16. slovakguy

    slovakguy Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2006
    Messages:
    1,898
    Likes Received:
    33
    right, well i'm in envy now. the izoard is tops on my list. and the reasons on the stelvio certainly are well thought. best of luck on the list.
     
  17. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Messages:
    6,723
    Likes Received:
    126
    Okay, here's more information than you probably want to know (and, others may have a different opinion, so factor in what makes sense to you) ...

    For your intended ride, the main thing you need to be concerned with (beyond your own health & capabilities) is the bike's gearing ... and, the actual frame is less important than most people would like to think ...

    Particularly, if you are only concerned with the ascent & the return ride will be by motorized conveyance ...

    I may be in a miniscule camp that believes that the primary function of the frame is to hold the rider & the components together in what is hopefully an optimum orientation.

    Some frames are definitely better than others.

    The front end geometry is probably more important, IMO, than the frame material ...

    The frame material is only a problem if the bike is truly, poorly designed and/or fabricated ... OTHERWISE, the frame selection is more for STYLE POINTS and WEIGHT considerations ... BOTH are valid and/or real reasons for choosing one frame over another.

    Some very expensive frames have been designed & built with fancy-schmancy (non-steel) materials -- early attempts were often less than satisfactory (e.g., Titanium, was a very popular material about a dozen years ago but it was a really poor choice for a frame when my brother first mentioned that such a frame was being made because it just wasn't stiff enough) but most frames are generally pretty good, now.

    Aluminum frames are lighter than steel ... some say they are harsh riding ... the way a bike rides depends mostly on the geometry, tire size & inflation pressure, & some rider skill (e.g., knowing how to absorb some road shocks with your legs).

    Steel frames have been around forever. Despite what some people would like to think, for the engineering team which is designing a frame, the ride which a steel bike provides is still the benchmark against which the "new" frame is judged.

    My experience (which may not be as universal as I am going to make it sound) is that a good carbon fiber fork mimics the ride of a good steel fork ...

    And, further, a good carbon fiber frame will not ride any differently than a reasonably good steel frame based on comparing two frames which have exactly the same main triangle geometry (i.e., head tube angle & tube lengths).

    The difference between a fairly good carbon fiber frame and a reasonably good steel frame is the weight ... the carbon fiber ROAD frame will only weigh about 1 kg (give-or-take ... my vintage CF frame must weigh closer to 1.5 kg) whereas a steel frame will probably weigh close to 2X-to-2.5X as much.

    So, after considering the geometry & crafstmanship, the frame is mostly for style points ...

    And, it comes down to the components & the wheels ...

    IMO, nothing shifts better than Campagnolo shifters ... others have disagreed.

    For climbing, a traditional 36 spoke wheel is probably amongst the better choices unless you are being sponsored by someone who is paying for you to use their wheels (which you may manage to have happen!).

    A bike like the Bianchi Dolomiti has what is now euphemistically referred to as a "compact" crank ... in the past, it was given the pejorative label of an "Alpine" crank. It's the crank size I used exclusively for years AND advocated others should consider until it became the 'in' crank for people to put on their bikes ...

    With a "compact" crankset a 34t inner chainring is common and you can usually get by with having a 27t-to-29t largest cog ... a cog larger than 30t with a compact crankset will result in gearing where you are probably better off walking the bike.

    BTW. The attached pic is my early-90s TREK frame which I completely re-worked for the singular purpose of riding UP mountain roads ...

    The frame was respaced DOWN to 120mm.

    The chainring is a 32t & the Freewheel is a 22t. That equates to a 39t with a about a 27t cog (closer to 26.825) ... my "normal" bailout cog is a 32t (when it is almost better to be walking!) ... going downhill is via coasting and some really fast pedaling (without much speed) on the few, true flat sections.
     
  18. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    185
    If you ever ride the Izoard, descend into Briancon and continue up the bottom part of the Col du Lautret towards Alpe DHuez... After a couple of miles make a right turn up the Col de Granon and enjoy the hour of suffering that no other climb in that area (Galibier, Alpe Dhuez, Izoard or the Deux Alpes) ever will give you. I think it's only been used in the Tour once and that was the last day that Hinault wore yellow in 86. The 'other side' of the Galibier (Col du Telegraph side) is the other toughie but not as hard.
     
  19. DeaconDale

    DeaconDale New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for this, very helpful. If you like you can speak with my wife who is suffering and possibly dying from Leukemia and see if she finds it funny too.
     
  20. MPCRUSHER

    MPCRUSHER New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am not trying to be rude to your wife. Lots of people get sick. It is a sad fact.

    What I can't stand are people who use charity as an excuse to do something that most people would consider recreation.

    If you want to spend thousands of dollars on a bike, accomodation, and travel expenses to some exotic part of the world and climb some hill on your bike, then do it, but don't expect others to pay for it.

    In my opinion, If you want to do something useful for cancer research, give that money your going to spend on this adventure straight to a univerisity that is actually working to find a cure for cancer.

    Why not spend the time you would have spent in southern france helping in a childrens hospital in Romania. That in my opinion would be far more noble.


    Go out and knock on doors and ask for donations to your charity.

    Write letters to your congressman (local member of parliment, politician), and encourage him/her to lobby for more funding of cancer research.

    Do something pro-active.

    Don't expect others to find a bike for you. What is that?
    Get online and research it yourself. Stop relying on others to do everything for you.

    Im not about to give you one cent toward cancer research. I will give my hard earnt money directly to a charity that will use it wisely.
    Not on some half baked emotion filled bicycle ride.

    Im sorry that your wife has cancer. It is dreadful.
    We are all touched by this terrible disease in some way or another.
    But It doesn't give you a free pass to be stupid.
     
Loading...
Loading...