Originally Posted by scott ttocs
I have not done one of the long uphill rides. I have climbed hills regularly in my road riding. If I were doing the ride, I would look for a setup where I could ride almost the entire route without having to get out of the seat. That might mean a 29" with moderate cranks, or a 36" with longish cranks. As long as I can stay in the seat my efficiency is good. As soon as I have to stand up on the pedals to apply more leverage, my efficiency plummets.
It would be helpful to find a long stretch of similar grade and see what combination of cranks and wheel diameter lets you stay in the seat and keep up a good pace.
I welcome the stand up time on hills, even if I don't need to stand. If I sit the entire ride my fleshy, crotch bits cry. standing is more relaxing for me, but only when going uphill.