Just a thought, I know a said Sram Apex, but not 100% sure on Shimano/Campag/Sram shifter/mech compatbility - so worth checking against your shifters. A Shimano MTB mech would work just fine, my mate has a tourer, and it is mainly Cyclocross/Racer stuff + a Deore Mech at the rear to handle the larger cassete.Excellent another good option, I could get a 34 t rear and try it with my rear mech to see if it works? If not swap it for the apex assuming I can get a 9 speed one as that is what my shifter is? I could then maybe try and drop the smaller crank down to 30 which would give me more confidence. I can get up 15% or maybe slightly more grades with the current gearing and staying seated. It is just when you see 30% and for 2.5k i know I just cannot stand that entire time and would either blow or just not be able to push the power to get me up!!!
How did you find it and how many days did you do it over?
I loved the tour we did, we were carrying all gear, so that included tents/sleeping bags/mats etc. I managed to get it all on a rear rack with two panniers and the sleeping bag wrapped and strapped to the center.
This is the route:
Way of the Roses Cycle Route
... I don't fully understand or appreciate gradients etc, but I just know that two on the first day were gut busting. There were four of us, 1 who was a seasoned Rodie who had done LEJOG and TdF routes/mountains in France and he said he had not gone up such steep hills before !
I was able to ride it all, but a MTB does give you those bail out gears if needed. SPDs essential.
It took 3 days, we did the least miles on Day 1, but it was by far the most effort, the next 2 days were pretty easy going. Some stunning scenery, it avoids main roads. Will do it again one day, but others to try in the meantime.