When Campagnolo decided to market a 12-30 Centaur cassette it was so beyond the normal boundaries it barely fitted the box (designed for at maximum, a 13-29). I had such a torrid time in the last section of the Mills Hills sportive that I decided to down-gear to match some of the rather challenging hills close to my home in West Yorkshire. In particular, my nemesis: two sections of up to about 20%, and a final 10% section; about 8.5km of ascent, with two flattish sections to recover.
The winner of the Vuelta in 2011, Cobo, used a similar set-up to conquer the Angliru, famously beating Froome and Wiggins, the latter looking horrendously overgeared. Large cassette, compact up front = not getting bogged down at the end of a long stage when the gradient gets insane.
My second attempt on this climb was after a rather less intense preamble.
I had ridden for less than two hours when I hit the bottom, and managed to ride the whole ascent, stopping to take some pictures after the second steep section. I was treated to some typical Pennine views, which I appreciated far better now I wasn’t wearing out my cleats.