Western Bikeworks Bike MS Kickoff Party

Dates announced for “De Ronde” ride weekend

Posted by on March 6th, 2014 at 2:43 pm

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).

Since its first edition in 2007, the De Ronde has become a cult classic with hundreds of riders following a route marked by yellow stencils of the Lion of Flanders.

We’ve covered the event extensively here on BikePortland over the years. For a glimpse of what it’s like, see our past stories and photos. OPB has also did a great story a few years back that’s worth checking out.

— Check the route and more details at RondePDX.com.

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  • rob March 6, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    yikes! just four weeks

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  • Psyfalcon March 6, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Too bad the second day starts from the far side of town. Might have to start that one in the middle.

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    • davemess March 7, 2014 at 9:40 am

      Yeah, I might do the same. The closest point to my house is only a mile or so, but the start/finish is a solid 45+ mins away.

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    • Andrew Springer March 21, 2015 at 7:09 am

      La Doyenne has a new Westside start this year. Thanks for the feedback! http://ridewithgps.com/routes/4390111

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      • Rob March 24, 2015 at 12:10 pm

        Are we going to get a date announcement this year? Website makes it sound like it is not the same date as Flanders this year but delayed a few weeks?

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  • Mike bodd March 6, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    It is officially TIME TO CLIMB.

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  • mike March 6, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Why does this always occur when I am at my fattest? It’s winter for the love of God!!!

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    • teo March 10, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      ..don’t blame the deities — it’s scheduled to coincide with the Ronde van Vlaanderen in Belgium

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  • John Liu
    John Liu March 7, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Hmm. What is the steepest grade? What gearing do you all use?

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    • davemess March 7, 2014 at 9:38 am

      If you’re in shape a 39 x 25 will work. There are two incredibly steep sections (Brynwood and College), where you’re standing and trying to stay upright (both these are over 20% I believe). The rest are steep, but not that steep.

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  • Chris I March 7, 2014 at 6:00 am

    23% on Brynwood? A lot of people have to walk. A triple up front is nice.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu March 7, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Aieee! I can’t climb that on my road bike, its low is 39/21. So, is turning up on my MTB the height of shame? I could use a false name and wear a disguise.

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    • davemess March 7, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Good excuse for a new cassette? Didn’t know they still made the old 21 max cassettes.

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    • A.K. March 7, 2014 at 9:56 am

      A mountain bike would be a poor choice as much of the route isn’t that steep and is on regular pavement. Get a new chain and a 11-25 or 12-28 cassette.

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    • Psyfalcon March 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      I have a 30/34. Might still walk College and Brynwood. Its hard even with mountain bike gearing, my lungs just wouldn’t sustain spinning up those hills at 4mph. Road bike gearing, well, I think my legs will be jelly.

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  • ADS March 7, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Brynwood is probably the steepest. SW College is no joke, either. If you are intimidated by the group ride or can’t make the date, you can always ride it some other time…just follow the yellow lion stencils (and make sure you have a backup map).

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  • B March 7, 2014 at 9:48 am

    If you are riding it on your own on a different day and not familiar with the route a backup map or GPS is definitely needed. Last year there was one spot in particular where someone painted over the lion stencil by the following weekend…

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  • KRhea March 7, 2014 at 10:17 am

    The majority of riders are using compact cranksets at the very least with may folks running Shimano/Sram 27 or 28t cassettes and Campy 29s. If you’re a race dude that actually “trains” or are an uber fit/strong climber a standard 39/25 might do the trick but for the VAST majority of riders that ain’t gonna work and certainly not on either Brynwood or College that’s for sure. If you don’t mind walking, great, but if you actually want to pedal up every climb a wider set of gears is the way to go and yes, there are a lot of triples on the ride as well as riders who install a wide range cassette and possibly a longer cage rear derailleur just for this ride and then take it off the remainder of the year. It’s a great ride and a heckuva accomplishment. Lots of roads most folks have never ridden and didn’t know existed. If you’ve never climbed Saltzman from Hwy 30 to Skyline it’s worth it just for that section, gravel, broken pavement, dirt and this year mud for sure all while going UP….

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  • Dave March 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    That ride’s a “someday” for me–and I’ll really cheat, use my Bike Friday with 20″ wheels plus triple chainring. A 21″ low gear should make Brynwood rideable!

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  • muddyjoker March 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Sooo hard….Sooo fun!!

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  • lunchrider March 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    years ago a guy from Multnomah County told me that Brynwood was 26%
    but it is doable!

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    • MA March 9, 2014 at 4:47 pm

      Brynwood easily at 26% in some sections especially as you make the dreaded right turn. Just to add to the fun, at one of the steepest sections is one of those lovely concrete speed bumps/water bars you have to gut over. The final 15ft to Skyline really hurts.

      College is only minimally less steep, but a lot narrower. Towards the top you feel like you are climbing out of a hole in the ground, heading towards the light. Who the heck ever okay’ed building roads like this? 🙂

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  • Mark C March 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Normal people will want to have at least a 34×27.

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  • Mike bodd March 8, 2014 at 6:13 am

    Who is the oldest participant? I did it last year for my first time at 45. Planning to hit the lions again this year.

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    • MA March 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      I did it at 57. I’m sure there are lots of older hardcore racers also.

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  • Mrfox March 8, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    I chewed on nails, walked on glass and slept in fire. And then I rode my bike a lot. 39-25.

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