Question: I’ve read that pro racers can put out 500 watts for extended periods. Even though I’m 5-foot-10 and 158 pounds, I probably generate half that wattage, at best. So, I put a triple crankset on my bike when I went to the Dolomites and was glad I did. Why don’t more people use a triple? — Jason C.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: You’re right about the tremendous disparity between the power of a top pro and average riders like us.
Pros can generate about 450 watts on extended climbs. The average age-group racer is closer to 220 watts. So, if a pro uses a 39×23-tooth gear (46 inches), the average recreational rider should use a triple with a 30×30 or 32 (about 25 inches).
But some misguided wannabes insist on climbing in a 39×23 low gear and will put on a 25 only at the risk of looking like a rookie.
I hope that Lance’s insistence on climbing with a high cadence makes riders think about their pedal revolutions instead of only their gearing.
Use whatever gear it takes to keep your pedal rpm at 80 or higher on climbs. For many of us, this means using a triple crankset.