L'Étape Las Vegas 2024

So, the first L’Étape Las Vegas just happened a week or two ago. I haven’t ridden any events outdoors since 2019. I’m considering doing the bike leg of a triathlon this October. But starting to think long term about getting back outside maybe next year. Maybe.

Anyway, if I do… I’m considering whether I should attempt this event in 2024, and if so whether to do the 45 miles or 75 miles.

So my biggest questions are about gearing, and secondly about my tires.

I currently have an older Ultegra 6700 group set with 53-39 on the front and a 10-speed 28-11 on the rear. My dad used these gears to climb Mt Wilson in Los Angeles, but I’m not sure they’re going to work for me.

They would probably be fine for the 45 mile route. I could also swap out my rear cassette for a 30-12 (like I have on my Kickr) or a 32-12 if I really need extra gears, but the worst section seems to only average 5% which I did just fine in my sprint triathlons on the 28-11. So I could likely get away with my current gears or the 30-11.

If I did the 75 mile route, tho, there is a significant double climb over Mountain Springs - going over from east to west and then back again (see the link for the profile) - and I would likely want easier gears. And if so, maybe it would be better to invest in a new group set with maybe a 52-36 on the front and 11-speed on the back that could possibly be as big as 32-11. Tho I’d have to save my money to do any upgrades, and also want to be able to use my gearing to do triathlons with longer, flatter, more rolling terrain, as well. I won’t have money for a second bike any time in the next 5 years.

I’ll be 48 years old and I’m currently 170lbs (hope to keep that) and my indoor FTP has varied between 230-275 depending on my training.

And then I guess my other “problem” is that I have old tires. I likely need new tires and tubes at some point. I’m still using the same wheels my dad gave me in 2017. I’m assuming they’ll be fine, but I’ll need new rubber and tubes. Currently have 25” Vittoria Rubino Pro tires and some kind of Mavic wheels. These tires got me thru 5 sprint triathlons and a couple years of outdoor training. And I only had to change an inner tube once. But I have been 99% indoor since 2020 with only a couple very short rides around the subdivision with my son.

At least I have a light titanium frame. Lol.

What I need is an equipment coach. Maybe a few good sponsors. But at my age and talent level I don’t have either, sooo… :crazy_face: Any help anyone can give me would be fantastic. Im only 50/50 on actually riding the event. But your advice would be still be very helpful and much appreciated if not now then at least at some point in the future.


Definitely do the event and definitely do the longer one. You’ve got the fitness to do it and you’ll feel the success of the accomplishment that much more (i.e. you won’t regret going the longer distance but you may regret doing the shorter one, aaaaaaand, you’ve got plenty of time).

I have no advice for your wheels or tires.

As for gearing, my personal take on this is have as much of it as you possibly can. Eg. I could do a rep or 2 of Alpe du Zwift (an Alpe d’huez sim) on my former 36/28 but it sucked. My cadence was VERY low and it just sucked. Swapped my rings for a 50/34 and my cassette for an 11/32 and the only regret I had was not having room for a 34 in the back (without getting a derailleur extender).

IRL, climbs are few and far between but my outdoor bike it set with an 11 speed 50/34 front and 11/34 rear. While I don’t use the 34 much, I LOVE LOVE LOVE that it is there and just gives me confidence to know that IF I was struggling, and really needed it (or just wanted it) it was there.

I don’t know anyone who has done any climbing that has regretted having extra gears. Sure, you could do it on your 39/28 but it would be much more enjoyable on a 36/32 or greater.




Yes, definitely. My 39/28 was difficult on our triathlon course where the steepest gradient was 6%, but gave me just enough gears. When I was on a good day I could use my 53/28 or 53/26 (yes, I know about cross-chaining, lol) or the 39/26 or 39/24 and be fine. But on my worst days I would struggle in 39/28. And the one 8% grade was hard even in my 39/28. So I definitely need more gears if I want to do the 75 mile route - although that was 4 years ago and I’m in much better cycling shape now that I was then thanks to The Sufferfest.

I guess my struggle is deciding what gears to get since I don’t have to money to buy a spare group set to swap out to. For instance I don’t want to buy a compact group set just for this one event and then plan to switch back to my old Ultegra 6700 set from my triathlons. Ideally I would get a group set that I can use for both.

I will probably need to save up for a few months and then do a trek :wink: down to the LBS to see what they can do for me and their pricing. We have lots of flat riding to go along with our hills and a couple mountains. And I’m more of a flatland Pursuiter that likes to occasionally do some climbing. But I’m better on rolling hills which happens to line up with our local tri course and still need the gearing for that.

So, leaning towards a 52/36 with 32-11 11-speed in the rear. But I probably need to check out the climbs on the course to see if I really can get away with 3 long 5 mile climbs on a 36/32 or not. At least the summit is only 5,500ft elevation. Maybe I can try it out on an RGT magic road in my current gearing. :grimacing:


That’s a great idea!

I’m SUPER happy with my 50/34 11/34 road setup. Except when I’m going up (which isn’t often) or going straight into a headwind (which is more often than I’d like) I tend to stay in the 50. I have to say, even at 50/11 the only time I’ve come close to “spinning out” was on a descent nearing 10% and by that time, my speed was surpassing my comfort (around 70 kmh) so I just ended up coasting anyway. On the flats, even with a good tail wind, 50/11 is more than sufficient for me.

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Oh Sir Evan you beat me to it when it comes to opening a new topic for things L’etape.

The one in Malaysia is due to happen in about 2 months time :relieved:
Not sure about the route in Vegas but here, it’s pretty much a mountainous route.

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A deraillieur extender (Wolf Tooth) allows me to run a 11-40 cassette! Which gets me up everything without killing my knees. (Shimano road set up)
The little metal bit is cheap, easy to fit and requires no adjustment of gears/indexing. The cassette is obviously more expensive but worth it for me - a not-skinny female lover of Alp mountain passes!


I’m actually a little annoyed my LBS never recommended the extender. I found out it was an option AFTER swapping front rings and what, at the time, I was told was my max cassette option of 11/32 on my indoor setup. Really wished I had a 34 (just for a little relief on the sections 10% and higher) :man_shrugging:


On the Malaysia website it lists the route as 144km with 799m of elevation, is that incorrect or am I misreading something?


I don’t know about the Malaysa route, but this is the profile for the 75 mile route for Las Vegas.

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That’s what I see as well. The site also doesn’t have a map or profile, yet. But it does call the Malaysia 140k route “Hilly”. If correct, then that would be about 2,622ft of climbing. But with the lack of route map or profile, I wonder if that’s not yet the actual stats.

By contrast, the Las Vegas route is labelled as “Mountain” and has a Cat 2 and two Cat 1 climbs (the same climb done from both sides back-to-back).

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Im kinda bummed that PBAA bailed on this ride. I definitely want to do it though. It’s going to need seversl rides up Mount Lemmon though.

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You guys meant this right

Actually I did contact the event organiser about the route map and was told the route map is already in place just that it still requires approval from the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) before they can publish the route maps for both the 60km and 140km rides.

I heard that the climbs from last year were quite brutal and these were the climb profile of last year.

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