Splendid Cycles Big Sale

The ‘Ronde’ sufferfest ride returns on Sunday

Posted by on April 19th, 2012 at 9:36 am

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

The flag (and the pain) returns Sunday.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Ronde PDX (a.k.a. De Ronde Van West Portlandia), Portland’s ultimate unsanctioned test of cycling sanity, is set for this Sunday.

The ride is a leg-and-lung-busting tour of the steepest climbs in the West Hills. It was first held in 2007 and has become legendary. Since that first running, the Ronde has received major media coverage and now attracts upwards of 700 riders.

A story in The Oregonian today shares some quotes and background about the ride from its organizers Hugh Givens and Brad Ross (the same Brad Ross who manages Portland’s Cross Crusade series and many other major bike races).

The 2012 edition leaves at 10:00 am this Sunday from NW Industrial Street and NW 30th. As for the route… just follow the lions!

If you’re new to town and/or this ride, browse our past coverage and check out some of my favorite photos from past years below…

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-7

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-5

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-24

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-34

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-26

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-27

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-35

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-25

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-36

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-101

Have fun out there and good luck!

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Scott
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Scott

Is Ira wiping his nose or sniffing something? It isn’t sanctioned so there is no testing…

NW Biker
Guest
NW Biker

When I follow the link to their website, it says that there’s no ride this year. I didn’t see a date anywhere (not that I really looked). I live in the west hills and thought it might be fun to watch a bit. Do you know if they’re really riding?

Looking for Lions
Guest
Looking for Lions

It says that because it is “unofficial”. It will be happening Sunday, come out and watch and cheer us on – and if you are going to be out there anyway, maybe offer some water to refill bottles, especially since it is looking like a warm day!

Matt
Guest
Matt

It’s really happening. The site says no ride because “officially” there is no ride, capice? Sunday 4/22/2012.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

as others have said.. yes. They are absolutely doing it. be there. 10AM NW Industrial St

NW Biker
Guest
NW Biker

Got it, thanks! I can’t ride myself right now (flat or otherwise) due to an injured shoulder, so maybe I’ll check the course and go be an unofficial cheering section somewhere.

Champs
Guest
Champs

I presume that it’s cost-prohibitive to get permits/officers for closed roads, controlled intersections, etc. that you’d have in an “organized event”.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Has anyone done this before? I have ridden from Welches up to Timberline a few times, and up to Mary’s Peak from Corvallis. Is this comparable? I guess there are several opportunities to bail early…

Paul Souders
Guest

I’ve never ridden up Mary’s Peak but it’s nothing like Welches/Timberline although the vertical gain is comparable. There are a dozen or more climbs, intercut with an equal number of drops. The steepest are at least 23% grade, about 4 times steeper than US26 or 2-3x steeper than Lolo Pass. The longest is Salzman, 5-7% for about 3mi, most of the rest are less than 1mi long. But steep.

jeff
Guest
jeff

no, this is quite a bit harder than both of those climbs.

Thomas Le Ngo
Guest

Ronde is harder than Timberline. No other ride has left me feeling so humbled. And I’ve ridden to Timberline from Gresham and back before, with no problems. Having it so early in the season certainly doesn’t help either.

Champs
Guest
Champs

I think it depends on your style. I’ve done better on short, punchy climbs, but that could be from living in the Midwest and just flattening quarter-mile hills. I’m getting better at the longer ones, but it’s hard to get the pace just right.

jered
Guest
jered

It is pure brutality – super fun, super hard! DO IT!!

Champs
Guest
Champs

So much for the perfect big-mileage weekend. This is too hard to pass up, even if I have to shred every last tooth on the big cog.

A lesser challenge, but the one I’m least confident in, is that I can kit up, pregame, and roll down to NW Industrial by 10am on a Sunday.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Yes – the thing I keep telling myself is that at least once I’m done I can collapse on one of the benches at Council Crest park, and my house is nearly 100% downhill or flat from the finish, with the only bump being the Hawthorne bridge.

Any ways, summer is nearly here, plenty of time coming up for long rides!

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

I am doing this for the first time this year. I am mentally trying to prepare my body to accept the pain it will endure.

redhippie
Guest
redhippie

I had a Vasectomy a few weeks ago. Is this an adequate excuse to quit or should it just add to the glory?

Brad Ross
Guest

You’ll be out of the saddle for the whole ride. So nothing to worry about.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Wow, I just looked at the route and it looks well thought-out, with most of the climbing taking place on quiet streets, and busier streets used for descents. I’m not up for the public humiliation of taking 6+ hours (I’m a very slow climber) to finish this route amongst the crowd, but since the map is available I may go and tackle it on my own someday. Maybe in segments, maybe all at once if I feel like it.

MPL
Guest
MPL

The lions are out, gonna be a sunny warm 70+ degree day, can’t wait, did part of it last wknd while on a ride , love brynwood awesome hill!!!!!! if your new HYDRATE!!!!!!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Are there spots along the way to refill water bottles? I’m trying to decide if I should load down my bag with water or just expect a kind resident to have a hose available for us.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

I bet people will have water. Bring some cash. People I know that have done it in the past said many residents set up stands and sell food/drinks/etc. while cheering the riders on. The last thing I’d want to do is carry too much water with all the extra weight burden.

Also, the ride passes a few other places that will have water:

1. Mt. Calvalry Cemetery, right before the bomb down Burnside street, they have a drinking fountain out front of the main building.

2. Right before the Sylvan overpass on Skyline blvd, there is a gas station with mini mart, as well as a Starbucks across the street.

3. Where SW Hewett intersects with SW Patton rd, there is a gas station on the corner there.

Ben Guernsey
Guest
Ben Guernsey

Bring two bottles and some cash to hit a convenience store if you run low with no fountain near by.

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

I like the photo second from last, of the dude pedaling in running shoes and no spandex. He is the official hero!

Brian Faris
Guest
Brian Faris

After forty years of riding, this ride ranks right up there for the most exhausting. I rode my 38 lb. touring bike because my road bike has conventional gearing. With nearly 8,000 ft. of climbing from my house and back, this was not a wise choice. Optimal would be a light bike and compact gearing.

anthony sands
Guest
anthony sands

gonna single speed it, thinking 36-18? any thoughts?

Brian Faris
Guest
Brian Faris

I hope you are young, strong and have good knees. College and Brynwood are going to be a bear.

thefuture
Guest
thefuture

Hmm….do I ride my bike that has a double or my lady’s with a frame that is a size too small but has a triple? My first Ronde, going to see how far I get.

Herb Fyfield
Guest
Herb Fyfield
Ben Guernsey
Guest
Ben Guernsey

I heard the unofficial organizers wanted to put signs up to permanently mark the route. Would be good for locals and out of towners who want to come test themselves in the hills of Portlandia.

Whats the total elevation gain? Somewhere near 10k?

Brad Ross
Guest

7,800 ft.

Champs
Guest
Champs

“Look for the flags”. Yeah, whatever.

I started near the back and worked my way up, but when I flatted at the top of Cornell, that was my last contact with the group (that’s fine, I’ll catch on somewhere, right?), but the trail went stone cold. Weak.

Eric
Guest
Eric

I don’t know where you got the “Look for the flags”, the route is marked with lions on the street with like 1 sign. But you got your money’s worth on the ride, right?

MPL
Guest
MPL

Great day for this ride, finished about 4 and half hrs, fun day, met some cool folks along the way, feel good, thanks to the people who put out stands with food and drinks, you rock, FUN in the SUN!!!!!!

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Harrest thing I’ve ever done on a bike. Can’t wait to see pictures from the photographers that were out there!

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Hardest, even.

Dan
Guest
Dan

OBRA posts have photo locations:

http://list.obra.org/posts/84943?page=1

http://list.obra.org/posts/84949?page=1

I thought the course was surprisingly well marked, with turns clearly painted on the street. Better than some ‘official’ rides I’ve done. If in doubt, if you’re near the top of a hill, you’re going to bomb down soon. And if you’re at the bottom, look out.

rick
Guest
rick

Is this planned for 2015?