One thing I’ve always appreciated about Portland’s incredible culture around bicycling is how one great idea begets another. It’s typical of any healthy cultural ecosystem: One person does a cool thing and it inspires another person to do a cool thing that riffs on the original cool thing. And so on and so forth.
The Ronde PDX is a perfect example. That unsanctioned ride was first held in 2007. Only about 100 intrepid souls showed up that first year, eager to challenge themselves against an insanely difficult route that tackled nearly ever climb in the west hills between Saltzman Road and Council Crest.
Word spread quickly about the Ronde and a few years later it had become a bonafide phenomenon. Then in 2013 the Ronde spawned La Doyenne, another epic ride scheduled for the same weekend. This gave strong riders the opportunity to climb about 15,000 feet over 100 miles in two days.
Now there’s a third ride in the series: the Giro PDX.
The ride’s creator, 42-year-old Nike Design Engineer Devin Bailly, tells us he was inspired by both the Ronde and the Doyenne. So much so that he asked for an official blessing from organizers of those rides before moving forward. It has a similar route profile — 54 miles and 7,300 feet of climbing — but it goes to undiscovered reaches of southwest Portland, Lake Oswego, and West Linn.
Bailly is something of a climbing fanatic. In 2014 he did the Ronde and La Doyenne in the same day. Most people can barely complete one. Doing them on back-to-back days is heroic. To do them on the same day is certifiably insane.
It was on that “gonzo day” (to use his phrase) when Bailly decided to put together a similar ride of his own. One of his main objectives (besides masochistic climbs) was to show riders secret nooks and crannies of the southern part of our region that most people have never seen.
The route he has created is a thing of beauty. It minimizes busy roads, doesn’t loop back on itself, and even has several dirt trail sections (all rideable with skinny road tires).
“I’ve been obsessing every detail of the route,” Bailly shared with us via email. “I’m an engineer by trade and by mentality. I am a perfectionist. I’ve dreamed and daydreamed and nightmared about it. I’ve scoured google earth and street view, Ride With GPS and Strava heat maps. I’ve pre-ridden sections in all permutations until I found “the right” route. I made over 30 iterations on RWGPS until I finally felt it was ready for prime time.”
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – email@example.com
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