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Attention climbers: Another member of the “Ronde” family has been born

Attention climbers: Another member of the “Ronde” family has been born

Follow the green lions.

Follow the green lions.

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.





Map via Ride With GPS.

Map via Ride With GPS.

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.”

Now the question is: Are you ready to ride it? Check out the event page on RideWithGPS.com and get the latest updates and scuttlebut via Facebook.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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The post Attention climbers: Another member of the “Ronde” family has been born appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Are your legs are ready for the big De Ronde/La Doyenne weekend?

Are your legs are ready for the big De Ronde/La Doyenne weekend?

lions

The West Hills are full of freshly painted lions that mark the De Ronde route. This photo of SW Knights Blvd and Kinsgton Drive in Washington Park is where anonymous organizers have added one lion for each year of the ride’s existence.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

What better way to embrace this warm and sunny start to spring than to pedal your bike over 14,000 feet in elevation over 100 miles. Right? If the thought of that makes you smile not cringe than you should make plans to ride the De Ronde and La Doyenne rides coming up later this month.

These two rides are loosely organized and unsanctioned but they’ve both gained a huge following. It’s a big accomplishment to finish either one of them. Do them back-to-back and you earn serious street cred.

The De Ronde was first held in 2008. It follows a relentless roller-coaster route (see below) of Portland’s nearby West Hills and tackles nearly every major climb (and many minor ones) between NW Saltzman Road and Council Crest Park. It’s named after the Tour of Flanders, a famous one-day race in Belgium. In 2013 a fan of the De Ronde, Andrew Springer, created the La Doyenne (nickname of another Belgian spring classic, the Liège-Bastogne-Liège) ride on the steep hills around his home in the Happy Valley/Mt. Scott area of southeast Portland. Then he sadistically scheduled it on the same weekend as De Ronde and this legendary double weekend was born.







Check out the route map, elevation profile, and a cool heat map of the steepness for De Ronde:

rondemap

(Detailed route info at RideWithGPS)
ronde-heatmap

(Detailed route info at RideWithGPS)

And here’s a look at the same for La Doyenne:

doyenne

doyenne-heatmap

And here are a few pics to get you in the mood:

2013 De Ronde -1

2013 De Ronde -6

2013 De Ronde -7

The big weekend is April 23rd and 24th. The De Ronde meets at 10:00 am in front of Pyramid Brewery in the northwest industrial area (2730 NW 31st) and La Doyenne meets at 9:30 am at Cartlandia for coffee (SE 82nd and Springwater Corridor). Good luck out there. I recommend doing these with friends because you’ll need the motivation and mental support. Happy climbing!

If you’re new to town and want more info, check out our story archive and also watch this great Oregon Public Broadcasting piece from 2009.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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The post Are your legs are ready for the big De Ronde/La Doyenne weekend? appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Get ready to climb: Portland’s De Ronde/La Doyenne weekend is coming

Get ready to climb: Portland’s De Ronde/La Doyenne weekend is coming

2013 De Ronde -4

In Portland we call this fun.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

Rumor has it that Portland’s toughest weekend of cycling is coming up. “De Ronde” and its sister event “La Doyenne” are two unsanctioned road rides that have captured the imagination of thousands of riders (and the media) over the years because of the sheer difficulty of even finishing.

Our secret sources say the Big Weekend for both rides is April 18-19th.

We hope you’ve been training a bit because if you choose to do both you’ll need to climb nearly 15,000 feet over the course of about 100 miles.

Don’t take my word for it, check the elevation charts (yikes)…

derondeelev

De Ronde.
doyenneevel

La Doyenne

Bike Gallery warehouse sale!

The Ronde PDX, also known as De Ronde Van West Portlandia, started in 2007 and its companion La Doyenne (De Ronde Van Oost Portlandia) was added in 2013.

We’ve covered De Ronde a lot in the past because it happens right here in the West Hills above downtown Portland. This year we wanted to share a bit more about La Doyenne from the guy who started it, 42-year old Andrew Springer.

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-19

Follow if you can.

Springer moved to Happy Valley (an unincorporated community southeast of Portland) from Bend in 2008. As soon as he got here, “Friends kept bringing me to the West Hills,” he shared, “to chase the Lions of De Ronde.” Springer is referring to the Lion of Flanders stencil that marks the De Ronde course (the event is inspired by the famous Flemish race Ronde Van Vlaanderen).

While Springer loved the steep West Hills climbs, he thought his local climbs were pretty darn nice too; but he was tired of riding them by himself. “Living in Happy Valley at the time, I was surprised that I rarely saw cyclists on and around Mt Scott, despite the fantastic climbs and close proximity to Portland.”

So Springer modeled La Doyenne as a tribute to De Ronde; “Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery,” he says.

The ride’s popularity has exceeded his wildest expectations. Many of the nearly 1,000 riders at Saturday’s De Ronde do the double and ride La Doyenne the following day.

And then there’s the story about how Springer met the woman of his dreams. After the 2013 La Doyenne, Springer checked the climbing segments on Strava to see how the leaderboards were shaken up. Then something caught his eye: “I kept noticing a particular girl took a lot of QOMs [Queen of the Mountains].” Springer made contact, they went on a bike date, and the rest is history. “We went for a ride together the next week. This past May we were married on top of Mary’s Peak on an 86 mile ride with 7,000 feet of climbing.”

If you plan to do the rides and want to prepare (mentally or physically), check out the routes of De Ronde and La Doyenne via Ride With GPS. On second thought, if you haven’t done the rides yet, you might not want to know what you’re getting into.

If you’ve already done La Doyenne, Springer wants everyone to know that he’s made some important changes to the route this year. The start/finish has been moved to the west side of the Springwater Corridor, making it easier to get to from Portland. He’s also added a few new climbs and improved the flow of the route. He even tells me you can expect some food about half-way through course.

Learn more about this Big Weekend of Fun and Pain at RondePDX.com.

The post Get ready to climb: Portland’s De Ronde/La Doyenne weekend is coming appeared first on BikePortland.org.

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.

Dates announced for “De Ronde” ride weekend

Dates announced for “De Ronde” ride weekend

2013 De Ronde -2

Riders roll out for the 2013 edition.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s baaaack.

The “De Ronde PDX” and its companion ride the “La Doyenne” will once again test your fitness and your sanity with a grueling two-ride weekend that promises over 15,000 feet of climbing.

Organizers of the unsanctioned, unpermitted rides have just announced the dates as April 5th and 6th. That gives you about one month to get your legs and lungs ready for the challenge.

The “De Ronde” is the original ride. It weaves 54 miles through Portland’s West Hills and offers over 7,200 feet of climbing, including some of the steepest pitches in the county. Some of the grades are so steep that some riders simply fall over and many others are forced to dismount and walk. Last year, organizers hatched a plan to offer even more free suffering with “La Doyenne.” That route offers similar statistics and takes riders on a loop in Happy Valley (southwest of Gresham).

Read More Read More

Recap and photos of De Ronde PDX

Recap and photos of De Ronde PDX

2013 De Ronde -1

The start of De Ronde, a group ride that attracted
hundreds of riders on Saturday.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Saturday was another great edition of the infamous and unofficial classic Ronde PDX ride. Hundreds of people showed up to push the limits of their legs over 47 miles and nearly 8,000 feet of climbing. We climbed up and down and up and down countless hills between NW Saltzman Road and Council Crest Park. With nothing but yellow stencils of the Lion of Flanders painted on the road to guide us, we pedaled through potholes, gravel, smooth pavement, and even some singletrack.

De Ronde is a special event. Many people say it’s their favorite day on a bike all year. Maybe it’s the sheer challenge of finishing, maybe it’s the adventurous and extremely scenic route, or maybe it’s the camaraderie that develops (I overheard countless people introduce themselves to the person riding next to them). Whatever you think of it, there’s no denying De Ronde has become a cherished local institution. I even heard someone call it a rite of passage. In some ways, this is the racing crowd’s World Naked Bike Ride.

That being said, if you think only hardcore racers show up for De Ronde, you’d be wrong. It attracts a wide variety riders. I saw a bunch of mountain bikes on the course and there were several touring-bikes. There was even one guy on a recumbent, tadpole trike!

2013 De Ronde -2

Rolling out at the start.
2013 De Ronde -13

One of the several off-road sections that used part of the SWTrails network.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
2013 De Ronde -3

This older guy was just cruising along up on Skyline with an old Schwinn, “BYKHUGR” license plate, sandals, and wire baskets full of stuff.
2013 De Ronde -7

2013 De Ronde -8

Climbing up through Washington Park near W Burnside.

2013 De Ronde -9

On SW Hewett Blvd just south of Highway 26.
2013 De Ronde -10

One of the larger and more well-stocked rest stops.
2013 De Ronde -11

2013 De Ronde -12

The course itself is something you have to experience to really understand. The first major climb of the day, NW Brynwood, is a heinous 23% grade. It’s basically a wall of pavement. And today it claimed many victims. It’s not only steep, it’s narrow and full of slick green moss. People were literally falling over each other as they heaved their bikes side-to-side in an often futile attempt to keep their cranks turning.

2013 De Ronde -4

Tackling Brynwood
2013 De Ronde -5

Watching people suffer is a spectacle.

My luck and my legs on Brynwood were no good. In fact, I didn’t feel great at the outset of today’s ride. Then came SW College, which is another leg-breaker at nearly the same steepness as Brynwood. With my legs warmed up, I somehow managed to make it all the way up without walking (or turning into a driveway, which is a lifeline on these steep climbs)! Making it up College gave me a much-needed mental boost that carried me through the rest of the day.

Check out more of the action on the climbs in the photos below by Dave Roth:

The other thing that helped keep us going today were all the kind folks along the way who passed out free water, drinks, and treats. The support from local residents is really special. Families that live along the route offered free cookies, lemonade, candy (a Snicker bar at mile 38 saved the day for me!), and more.

2013 De Ronde -6

One of my favorite stops was just a few miles from the finish line, where a friend had a cup of frosty beer poured and ready before I even stepped off my bike (thanks Dave and Brad!).

Me and that beer.
(Photo: Dave Roth)

Thanks again to Brad, Hugh, Andrew, and everyone else who makes De Ronde possible.

If you did the ride, I’d love to hear how it went…

Feel like climbing 16,000 feet this weekend? Just follow the lions

Feel like climbing 16,000 feet this weekend? Just follow the lions

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-4

You’ll be seeing this lion in
your dreams — or nightmares depending
on your fitness.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This weekend will be an excellent chance to test your early season fitness. Or your sanity.

Organizers behind Saturday’s unsanctioned De Ronde PDX ride have just told us that they’ve also marked a companion ride for Sunday dubbed La Doyenne (after the famous European classic Liège–Bastogne–Liège). We hinted at the ride in our story about this year’s De Ronde back in January and today we learned the La Doyenne will take riders on a 50 mile jaunt through Happy Valley (south of Powell Butte Nature Park) on a course with 8,000 feet of climbing. The De Ronde route is about 47 miles with 7,800 feet of climbing.

La Doyenne course map.

The La Doyenne course is marked with the same Flemish Lions (look for them as yellow stencils on the pavement) that mark the De Ronde route through Portland’s West Hills. Both rides begin at 10:00 am. People will meet for the De Ronde in front of Pyramid Brewing at 2730 NW 31st Ave in the Northwest Industrial District. The La Doyenne will start in front of Happy Valley City Hall (16000 SE Misty Drive).

Check out the La Doyenne course and elevation profile via RideWithGPS.

The De Ronde debuted in 2007 and has seen exponential growth each year. Media coverage and word-of-mouth have turned it into the largest unsanctioned bike ride in Portland with an estimated turnout of 1,000 people in 2012. Read recaps and see photos of past rides in the BikePortland archives.

Feel like climbing 16,000 feet this weekend? Just follow the lions

Feel like climbing 16,000 feet this weekend? Just follow the lions

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-4

You’ll be seeing this lion in
your dreams — or nightmares depending
on your fitness.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This weekend will be an excellent chance to test your early season fitness. Or your sanity.

Organizers behind Saturday’s unsanctioned De Ronde PDX ride have just told us that they’ve also marked a companion ride for Sunday dubbed La Doyenne (after the famous European classic Liège–Bastogne–Liège). We hinted at the ride in our story about this year’s De Ronde back in January and today we learned the La Doyenne will take riders on a 50 mile jaunt through Happy Valley (south of Powell Butte Nature Park) on a course with 8,000 feet of climbing. The De Ronde route is about 47 miles with 7,800 feet of climbing.

La Doyenne course map.

The La Doyenne course is marked with the same Flemish Lions (look for them as yellow stencils on the pavement) that mark the De Ronde route through Portland’s West Hills. Both rides begin at 10:00 am. People will meet for the De Ronde in front of Pyramid Brewing at 2730 NW 31st Ave in the Northwest Industrial District. The La Doyenne will start in front of Happy Valley City Hall (16000 SE Misty Drive).

Check out the La Doyenne course and elevation profile via RideWithGPS.

The De Ronde debuted in 2007 and has seen exponential growth each year. Media coverage and word-of-mouth have turned it into the largest unsanctioned bike ride in Portland with an estimated turnout of 1,000 people in 2012. Read recaps and see photos of past rides in the BikePortland archives.

‘De Ronde’ date announced (and coming soon, ‘De Ronde CX’)

‘De Ronde’ date announced (and coming soon, ‘De Ronde CX’)

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-37

Riders tackling one of the many
climbs during the 2009 edition.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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.

Follow us on Twitter @bikeportland for more details as the date approaches. To learn more about the ride, read previous BikePortland coverage, view our photos, and check out the the 2009 OPB story.

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‘De Ronde’ date announced (and coming soon, ‘De Ronde CX’)

‘De Ronde’ date announced (and coming soon, ‘De Ronde CX’)

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-37

Riders tackling one of the many
climbs during the 2009 edition.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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.

Follow us on Twitter @bikeportland for more details as the date approaches. To learn more about the ride, read previous BikePortland coverage, view our photos, and check out the the 2009 OPB story.

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