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

Posted by on April 6th, 2016 at 11:01 am

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 LiΓ¨ge-Bastogne-LiΓ¨ge) 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.

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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.

β€” Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Champs
Guest
Champs

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
No Climate-Controlled Elevated Hand-Holding Cycle Tracks

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Pretty soon they will have to adopt Roman numerals…in order to get the event stencilling done. πŸ˜‰

reader
Guest
reader

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

Um, no.

Bradwagon
Guest
Bradwagon

I think that’s the point right? I mean nobody actually trains hills in the winter. This ride clears out the cobwebs… right guys?… guys?!…

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

The last two times I did this, I was READY. And my quads cramped up around mile 30 both times. Still finished, but ouch.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Hmmm, I might try this. Can anyone recommend what type/size tires are best? It looks like this covers a lot of roads with sketchy surfaces…at the same time I don’t to carry a bunch of friction from oversized tires. Opinions, anyone?

dwk
Guest
dwk

I have ridden it 5 times (never finished). bring lightest bike you own.
25mm tires are fine.

fat spandex dude
Guest
fat spandex dude

I’d go with at least 28. Although, according to Jan Heine’s research, rolling resistance on smooth surfaces is not notably impacted by tire width until at least 35mm, and can even be negatively impacted by running narrow tires on poor surfaces.

Another big factor is gearing. I really wouldn’t want to do either of these events with 39×25 as my lowest gear. Maybe 36×27 or 36×29, or just swallow what little is left of my pride and roll with a Sugino XD2 triple with a 13-30 cassette so I can wallow in the sweet embrace of 24×30.

I was hoping to do one of these this year, but three months of illness over the winter left me in awful shape. Next year!

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

Hmmmm…I’m running 35s on a Nakisi crossbike. It’s my “fast commuter bike”. And don’t even ask about the gearing. It’s essentially a mule that moves fast when I want it to. Though I’m ahead of the curve fitness-wise, so I’ve (maybe) got that. It sounds like this isn’t a race, so…..

Bradwagon
Guest
Bradwagon

If you have even some general cycling fitness the only hill you may stall out on with typical road bike gearing is Brynwood. Other then that it’ll be fatigue that gets you, not gearing / physical limitations due to grade (ie losing rear traction).

Tal
Guest
Tal

Driveway circles are permitted on Brynwood.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Just go for it, as I said, I have ridden it 5 times and will do it again. I do 5 or 6 trips to the top and back down and usually have had enough and ride home.
This year I may try and finish, you never know…
It is definitely not a race.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Neither 35s nor the lowest gear you can imagine are overkill for De Ronde.

I’ve ridden the course a few times on a cross-ish bike with 28s, and did the Pittock Mansion segment on a cargo bike with my girlfriend on the back.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I ran it with 25s a few years ago and was fine; I even saw a few guys with 23s. 28s would probably be ideal.

Anne Hawley
Subscriber
Anne Hawley

The event itself is completely outside my bike universe, but wow, those maps are cool!

danny
Guest
danny

Well, College is nothing to sneeze at either when it comes to stalling on hills…

Eric
Guest
Eric

“Anonymous organizers” ha!

Sio
Guest
Sio

I’ve never done anything like this but want to check it out. I’d love to join a group. Anybody know of one?

hotrodder
Guest
hotrodder

A group from Velo Cult will recon DeRonde this weekend, Saturday 8AM in the parking lot.

Tal
Guest
Tal

Rode 23’s last yr and recall a couple bits on De Ronde that had me questioning my choice, but I got thru and would (will?) use 23’s again. No issues on La Doyenne that I recall. Bigger need is gearing. And spare tubes….because of those tires : )

Sio, the whole thing is a big group. Show up and odds you’ll end up around and getting to know comparable riders. I met some new folks last yr and it was all good. Just expect to climb every time you turn a corner. It’s a grinder, especially so early in the yr.

jered bogli
Guest
jered bogli

DO IT! super fun, ride what you can then bail and refuel. It is a fun ride to suffer with some friends on – and to make some new friends by suffering together! I’ll be there. who knows how much I’ll get through…

Don Arambula
Guest
Don Arambula

Commute daily to Council Crest, yet Brywood and College still strike fear in my heart. Year 4 for me. Might cheat by starting early. Slow and easy. #HomeCourtAdvantage

Ted Buehler
Guest

I’ve never done this ride before, but I plan to do it this year.

I rode up Mt. Tabor once today to train, plan to ride up it 2 more times tonight.

I think this ride has an exclusive feel to it that you need to be a hyper-fit roadie with 23, 25 or 28 mm tires to do it.

I don’t think that’s the case. 7000 feet is just 14 Mt. Tabors.

Anyone who is a fairly fit commuter could top Tabor 4 times over the course of a morning if they put their mind to it, had low gears, and stopped for snacks. And you only need to do that a couple times before you’ll be in good enough shape for the full 14-Tabor day. Low gears are key…

If you might want to do this, just start hitting the top of Tabor, Rocky Butte, or Washington Park whenever you’re in the neighborhood and have a half hour you can spare for fun and personal fitness.

I’ll be riding a mountain bike with slicks, pulling a bamboo trailer with a cooler. Anyone want to be part of my posse?

Ted Buehler

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Member

A MTB will be helpful for the gearing. There are certainly some, plus at least one proper fatbike.

My attitude was “if I can’t make it, no big deal, I’ll just coast downhill to the city”. It’s nice having an out.

Riding De Ronde inspired me to go to the Alps- I did a 16.6k ft day on Ventoux riding all three routes.

Dan
Guest
Dan

You know you start riding up Tabor regularly and you’ll end up thinking that the Tabor Ten-Thousand isn’t such a bad idea…

Ted Buehler
Guest

Ted T — My mountain bike has a 24 tooth ring in front and a 34 tooth in the back. Can climb pretty much anything, or pull a really heavy trailer up a moderate hill.

I did indeed summit Tabor 3 times today, lovely day for it. Google maps says I rode 35 miles and climbed 1600′ total. I’ve never summited Tabor more than once a year, so 3x in one day was a treat. I recommend it.

Per my previous comments, any regular Portland commuter should be able to get into shape to do most or all of this ride, but you will want **really low gears**, like my 24-34 combo (available at BikeFarm) so you can just ride up a really steep hill at a normal cadence, going slow. But, if you try to climb a lot of steep hills with just average lowish gearing you could risk wearing out some important cartilage in your knees by having to push really hard to get your bike up the hill.

Ted Buehler

Ted Buehler
Guest

Ted T wrote “Riding De Ronde inspired me to go to the Alps- I did a 16.6k ft day on Ventoux riding all three routes.”

Funny, for me, riding the Alps has inspired me to to ride the De Ronde. I was there in October and did a 3000′ climb on two different days. Of course, I was touring on a beater mountain bike with slicks and carrying a lot of stuff… Still, I doubt my joints and ligaments could handle much more than 7000′ in one day under any conditions.

Ted Buehler

christopher
Guest

I did the Ronde last year for the first time. Went into the ride pretty fit (I race CX Bs) and ran a 11-32 in the back with a compact crankset. This year I will be doing the ride with a severely sprained ankle and will be running a 11-36 in the back. Here is the thing. Even if I was healthy I would still run the 11-36. Why? Because I’ve climbed Brynwood with a standard crankset and I’ve injured my knees doing the Oregon Outback in 3 days. I rather have the range that will allow me to get back on my bike the next day. If you have something to prove. Guess what, no ones cares! Everyone is out there fighting their own battle. Don’t be the guy that has to call their wife in the middle of the ride because of a leg cramp. Saw it last year and guess what? Little itty bitty cassette in the back on his really really expensive road bike.

C Wells
Guest
C Wells

I ran this Ronde on my 1964 Tour de France model Peugeot. My tires were a bit slick for the wet gravely Saltzman bit. If it isn’t wet any bike not too heavy will do. May you have many teeth on your largest cassette ring.

Sio
Guest
Sio

The website says it’s cancelled this year. Any idea why?

PeaDub
Guest
PeaDub

I’d also like to know… sad. πŸ™