The “De Ronde” — a legendary unsanctioned road ride known for its myriad unrelenting climbs in the hills above downtown Portland — will be held on Saturday, April 20th. The announcement was made by ride organizers today. Organizers also announced that “there will be another equally challenging ride heading south” the very next day and later this fall they will debut “De Ronde CX.” As its name implies, the CX version will be a more off-road, technically challenging route that promises, “West hills gravel roads, singletrack, staircases, beer, etc.”
The Ronde was first held in 2007. It started as something of a mystery and only about 100 hardcore souls showed up that first year. As word (and media coverage) of the ride has spread, it has become sort of a phenomenon. Last year I estimated about 1,000 people showed up.
To give you an idea of how challenging the course is; last year’s route was about 47 miles with 7,800 feet of climbing and I took nearly 5 hours to finish it. The ride was inspired by the Tour of Flanders and riders follow a route marked with yellow lion stencils painted on the ground.
The official website is purposely lacking in information; but they do provide this handy guide:
It’s just a ride:
No Prize but Honor
No Fee but Sweat
No Support but Lycra
No Sponsor but Yourself
No Rules but the Lawful kind
No Sanction but from the Madonna del Ghisallo
Watch for the Lion of Flanders to guide your way.