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My, what a ‘De Ronde’!

Posted by on April 22nd, 2012 at 10:27 pm

De Ronde PDX 2012-3

Rollin’ out.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Gorgeous weather brought out a huge crowd (900? 1,000?) for the De Ronde Van West Portlandia today. The unsanctioned ride is a grand tour of our city’s amazing network of hilly streets, out-of-the way parks and trails, and ritzy neighborhoods nestled in the hills high above southwest Portland.

In total, the ride took us 47 miles and included 7,800 feet of climbing — much of it extremely, uncomfortably steep. (And if you’re curious, it took me about 4 hours and 40 minutes.)

Before the ride started, organizer Brad Ross was excited; but clearly a bit nervous. With this many people and no official permits or road closures, he had reason to be concerned. Luckily I haven’t heard about any bad incidents. Chalk that up to respectful riders and drivers.

From the northwest industrial area, we rolled out on Highway 30 to our first climb; NW Saltzman Road. It was a perfect warm-up as the trees and ferns of Forest Park kept us cool. Once we got to Skyline Blvd, I don’t remember what happened really. All I remember is that we descended a lot and we climbed an awful lot.

Some of the climbs were extremely steep. Brynwood and College especially. If it wasn’t for flat, residential driveways adjacent to the climbs that gave riders a chance to breathe for a few seconds, many more would have had to walk. Even with those driveways, many people (including myself) found themselves out of gears and out of breath and with no other option to get off and walk.

The pain I felt during the ride was a small price to pay for the ride itself. The route was out of this world. Brad (Ross) and Hugh (Givens) have scoped out a connection of roads and trails that is simply fantastic (and should be permanently signed!). I was pleasantly surprised that we went along dirt paths, around gates where cars couldn’t go, and through some of Portland’s marquee natural spaces like Washington Park and Hoyt Arboretum.

I had my demons throughout the day. At one point my hamstrings succumbed to cramps and I had to dismount and stretch. (Of course, a woman working in her garden nearby asked me if I wanted to come over and sit down and have a drink!) I also spent the final several miles feeling generally uncomfortable and wanting it to end. But as many of you know, once you actually finish a ride like this, the great feelings erase most of the bad ones.

And the view atop Council Crest! Wow!

It was my first time doing de Ronde and the route, the people, and the entire experience, has given me a deeper appreciation for our city. Thanks everyone who makes it happen and for all the supportive people along the route.

Here some more photos of the day (taken with my phone and I didn’t really focus on the photos… All my energy was focused on making it to Council Crest!).

De Ronde PDX 2012-1

De Ronde PDX 2012-4

De Ronde PDX 2012-5

De Ronde PDX 2012-6

De Ronde PDX 2012-7

De Ronde PDX 2012-8

De Ronde PDX 2012-9

The finish!

De Ronde PDX 2012-11

De Ronde PDX 2012-12

De Ronde PDX 2012-13

Me, tired and happy…

De Ronde PDX 2012-10

See more photos from Dave Roth and Ted Mann.

(One final note… Reader Allison D said she lost a handlebar-mounted HD camera on Highway 30 before the Saltzman climb. If anyone picked it up please contact us and we’ll put you in touch.)

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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

  • K'Tesh April 22, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    And I was stuck inside doing homework… Looks like you all had a Great Ride!

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  • Paul Souders April 23, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Note to self: Next year bring a handful of quarters for lemonade from the abundant roadside stands.

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  • Tom M April 23, 2012 at 12:52 am

    While I couldn’t partake, I have ridden many of those same hills. I second that Brynwood and College are just nasty, brutish beasts.

    Three cheers for people working together to experience the best of Portland! And a hearty thanks to the neighborhoods who let this happen. Let’s hope for many more years of such events.

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  • Jim Lee April 23, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Let me tell you guys just how tough it was out on Marine Drive…not a lemonade stand in sight!

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  • Patty April 23, 2012 at 9:07 am

    That Council Crest – what a park, what views! Glad you had dry weather, hope the shocking warmth wasn’t too hard.

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  • A.K. April 23, 2012 at 9:20 am

    What a beast of a ride! Glad I did it, but I was not nearly as ready as I would have liked to have been. I guess there is no “real” way to prepare, but a thousand extra miles in the legs by this point in the year would have helped!

    I was one of the slow ones – it took me five hours, with resting time on top of that. But that’s OK, I just wanted to finish and say I’ve done it. I passed both the photographer on Salzman and Brynwood but I didn’t wind up in any of the photo sets, which is a bummer. Oh well!

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  • Patrick Croasdaile April 23, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Boy oh boy was that a blast! Extra special that an international racing legend, Ryan Trebon, showed up and rode de Ronde. Hopefully this will turn into a full-scale street party in years to come. Maybe we could make it a 24-hour team relay???? probably out of the question.

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  • redhippie April 23, 2012 at 11:02 am

    So, what was Ryan’s time. For that matter, is anyone keeping a list of times on Map-my-Ride or some where else?

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    • Ryan April 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Try Strava. Tons of people have their rides posted up there.

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  • davemess April 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

    We had one truck trying to pass people on Skline, but that was about it for impatient divers. Kudos to everyone out there for making this happen (riders, neighbors, and drivers included).

    I was shocked how thin the groups were getting by then end. Though a lot of folks either got lost or purposely cut the course.

    My fav. hill is still the kicker the first time you get onto Fairmount before you go down at OHSU.

    Thanks for putting us on your header Jonathon. The picture is great, but I’m curious why you cropped out the beautiful skyline?

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  • Ben Guernsey April 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I completely understand and support why this is an unsanctioned ride. Trying to insure it would be a nightmare, and who wants to deal with paying then getting/pinning numbers? It ruins the fun and will become lame. However the first 10 or so miles is pretty hairy on Hwy30 and on Skyline with that many people. Not to mention what the few walker/runners on Saltaman must have been thinking. I would really love if we could coordinate with the PPB much like the world naked ride. Or maybe put up a few signs the day before that say “expect delay between 10-12a due to large ride” so as to try and temper drivers expectations and anger in the first sections. After Brynwood is starts spreading out and seems pretty okay.

    Regardless it was a fun day and the best weather the De Ronde has seen to my recollection.

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  • Mike April 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Links to photographers? Not many up on OBRA list yet.

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    • A.K. April 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      The links are at the bottom of the article.

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  • Brad Ross April 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Jonathan and all,

    Glad you had fun. See you at Cross.

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  • Steve April 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    First year of teaching took its toll on my training and I couldn’t get on the bike enough to give this a shot. Next year though, can’t wait.

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  • thefuture April 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Awesome ride, finally got out for it. Not sure I’d call it ‘fun’, but it felt great to get through it and roll up on Council Crest at the end. Everyone was super cool from the riders, to the folks in the west hills with refreshments (even just some jugs of water left on a table in their driveways for us), to the cars that we held up, and thanks to the organizers (even though this isn’t organized).

    Much respect to the people who made it up Brynwood and College without walking….I wasn’t one of them.

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  • Kristen April 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    There’s no shame in walking. (Repeat, in between gasps. BTDTGTTS)

    (BTDTGTTS = Been There, Done That, Got The T-Shirt)

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  • MPL April 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    What a fun day! the best of the 3 i have done, had a great ride a little over 4hrs, i love going up Brynwood! great lung buster, college isn’t tough, the sun beating down on you on the last few Council Crest climbs started to wear me out,met some cool riders, can’t wait for next year!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Kevin Wagoner April 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    This ride is so awesome. I’m sorry I missed it this year.

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  • Sir Eddy April 23, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Ryan finished in around 3:06. Several people’s times are posted on Strava

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  • Doug Morgan April 24, 2012 at 12:54 am

    No shame in resting, but chances are you are walking in peoples way.

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  • mmann April 24, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Congrats on finishing Jonathan! The Ronde is one of those unique slices of PDX cycling culture that has to be experienced to be understood. I agree that it gives a renewed appreciation for the fantastic riding we have in the city limits. A brief correction to the beginning of paragraph 3 – it’s not a race; it’s a ride.

    I did see one accident in the main peloton just before the left turn off Hwy 30 to Saltzman. Someone crossed wheels and went down – I heard it behind me and glanced over my shoulder and saw a rider down right in front of a tanker truck that fortunately stopped in time. Scary. But after that I saw no mishaps.

    This was my 5th time and I finished around 2:15; with water stops and that pint after College (not sure that was a good idea…) roughly 4 hours. Rode everything and thanked God for the driveways on the monster hills. First time I ever remember my triceps aching the day after a ride. Could have used another gear or 2!

    Thank You spectators, cookie girls, cowbell ringers, water sprayers. It was great to be welcomed and cheered in your Sunday neighborhoods.

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