led the riders out of Northwest
Portland this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus)
Portland’s unsanctioned spring classic, the third annual De Ronde van Oeste Portlandia, attracted an estimated 600-700 riders today. They were treated to a gorgeous day with clear blue skies and temperatures well into the 60s.
They started this morning in Portland’s Northwest Industrial area and headed out via Highway 30 toward Sauvie Island. Then, from NW Salztman Road to Council Crest in the Southwest Hills, they pedaled, walked and willed themselves up too many grueling climbs to count.
I rode the first few miles with packs of enthusiastic riders as far as the eye could see. The next place I met up with the ride was on SW College Avenue, just south of I-405 and downtown Portland. At a muscle-wrenching 26% incline, College was one of the steepest climbs on the day. Some riders fell over when they couldn’t turn the pedals over fast enough and were unable to unclip from their pedals, others just walked, and a few were able to pedal up the whole thing.
I heard of two serious crashes, both on fast, downhill sections of the ride. One of them was very serious. Riders told me that a man was coming down SW Vista at well over 30 miles per hour when a truck entered the roadway in front of him. He hit it square on, crumpling the truck’s metal body. He was taken away by an ambulance (I’ll update this story when I hear more about his condition).
Riders of all types showed up. I even saw one man with his very young son behind on a tandem (I hope they stayed upright on the climbs). One rider, first-timer Ben McLeod, said the ride was “more challenging than a century.”
While bragging rights were at stake for the areas strongest riders, the idea of this ride is just a fun, personal challenge. I heard reports of a Pabst Blue Ribbon stop that a local resident had put out for riders. 50 people stopped to rest and chug a beer before continuing on.
At the end of the 44 mile ride, high atop Portland at Council Crest, ride co-founder Brad Ross told me finishers enjoyed a “big party”. “This is the first year this ride had good weather,” he said, “so we just took over Council Crest.”
The party continues tonight at Roots Brewing in Southeast Portland.
Were you on the ride today? How’d it go for you?