The 7-year old who conquered Portland’s toughest bike ride

The 7-year old who conquered Portland’s toughest bike ride

Mike Reiss and his son Jake atop Council Crest
on Saturday at the finish of the De Ronde.

The De Ronde ride attracted hundreds of Portlanders to the west hills on Saturday. The people who showed up were glutton for punishment as the legendary course rises to over 7,000 feet of climbing over only 50 miles. The course designers sought out the steepest roads and connected them all up into one sadistic route.

While many suffered, and surely many people opted to stay home rather than confront the pain, we just heard that a seven-year-old completed the entire course.

His name is Jake Reiss. His dad Mike sent us several photos and a message about his son’s monumental day:

I’m sure most of the riders saw 7 year old Jake since we started out near the front of the pack, but they won’t know that he finished since all but a few had passed us by the top of Brynwood [one of the day’s most infamous climbs]. We did see a bunch of riders on their 2nd pass down Montgomery, another few riders on their way home after finishing and a few stragglers at the finish probably waiting for rides. Jake finished at 6:30 pm, that’s 8.5 hours with a break for a sandwich and then to fix a flat. I swear he had more left in the tank than I did…

Mike even asked Jake a few questions:

What did you think of the ride?

“It was frustrating that the ride kept sending us down to the bottom of the hill over and over each time we saw the Council Crest tower and thought we were almost done!”

Are you proud of yourself? What was your favorite part?

“I was proud that I finished because there were a lot of hills, especially those two super steep ones, they were my favorite parts of the ride.”

Anything else you have to say?

“The muck and debris on Saltzmann slowed me down a bit and I got really dirty and muddy.”

“At the beginning, I liked drafting behind the big group of people. I was going 20 miles per hour!”

“I like the weather since I was really sweaty, the rain helped cool me off.”

“I didn’t really use my drop bars much except on the super steep hills going up and the big long down-hills because I needed more brake leverage.”

“I always used my lowest gear on the steep hills, but all the other up-hills I was in 2-1”

——

For you gear-heads out there, Jake’s bike had a triple crankset with 24-36-50 tooth rings paired with an 11-34 cassette. “In 24-34 he has 1.2 gain ratio, but in 2-1 or 36-34, he has a 1.8 gain ratio – pretty much same as me in 30-32,” says Mike. “The difference is that my bike is about 11% my weight and his bike (even at just under 20 lbs) is over 36% his weight!”

As someone that has done that ride a few times myself, I am absolutely awe-struck that a little due like Jake made it all the way to the end — and with a smile still on his face!

Way to go Jake! And nice job to you too Mike for getting out there and supporting him.

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