I'm planning on flying down those descents as my cycling fitness is way off allowing me to "ride" the climbs as I'd like to. I'm sure my Corima Aeros will help....

As for gear ratios, they're easy. If you here cycling speak such as "yeah, like, I was on the rivet spinning out 53x12, like". It means he was going pretty fast, or lying. That refers to the 53 toothed chainring on the front and the 12 toothed spocket on the rear. The gear changes the distance the bike travels with each pedal revolution. The further the bike travels with each revolution, the harder the gear is to turn.

You can work out an approximate distance tarvelled by the bike for every revolution with the following equation:

(Chainring teeth\Wheel diameter (inches))\rear sprocket teeth

I use an approximation of 27", so a 700C wheel will result in slightly less distance travlled.

Eg. 53*27\12 for 53 * 12 gearing:

119.2" travelled each pedal rev

However, mechanics play a funny game here. For example, it may be easier to turn a higher gear using the small chainring than a lower gear using the larger chainring. You'll find there is a certain amount of 'crossover'. Also, you may well find yourself adopting a different pedalling style when using the large chainring.