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Attention climbers: Another member of the “Ronde” family has been born

Posted by on August 17th, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Follow the green lions.

One thing I’ve always appreciated about Portland’s incredible culture around bicycling is how one great idea begets another. It’s typical of any healthy cultural ecosystem: One person does a cool thing and it inspires another person to do a cool thing that riffs on the original cool thing. And so on and so forth.

The Ronde PDX is a perfect example. That unsanctioned ride was first held in 2007. Only about 100 intrepid souls showed up that first year, eager to challenge themselves against an insanely difficult route that tackled nearly ever climb in the west hills between Saltzman Road and Council Crest.

Word spread quickly about the Ronde and a few years later it had become a bonafide phenomenon. Then in 2013 the Ronde spawned La Doyenne, another epic ride scheduled for the same weekend. This gave strong riders the opportunity to climb about 15,000 feet over 100 miles in two days.

Now there’s a third ride in the series: the Giro PDX.

The ride’s creator, 42-year-old Nike Design Engineer Devin Bailly, tells us he was inspired by both the Ronde and the Doyenne. So much so that he asked for an official blessing from organizers of those rides before moving forward. It has a similar route profile — 54 miles and 7,300 feet of climbing — but it goes to undiscovered reaches of southwest Portland, Lake Oswego, and West Linn.


Map via Ride With GPS.

Bailly is something of a climbing fanatic. In 2014 he did the Ronde and La Doyenne in the same day. Most people can barely complete one. Doing them on back-to-back days is heroic. To do them on the same day is certifiably insane.

It was on that “gonzo day” (to use his phrase) when Bailly decided to put together a similar ride of his own. One of his main objectives (besides masochistic climbs) was to show riders secret nooks and crannies of the southern part of our region that most people have never seen.

The route he has created is a thing of beauty. It minimizes busy roads, doesn’t loop back on itself, and even has several dirt trail sections (all rideable with skinny road tires).

“I’ve been obsessing every detail of the route,” Bailly shared with us via email. “I’m an engineer by trade and by mentality. I am a perfectionist. I’ve dreamed and daydreamed and nightmared about it. I’ve scoured google earth and street view, Ride With GPS and Strava heat maps. I’ve pre-ridden sections in all permutations until I found “the right” route. I made over 30 iterations on RWGPS until I finally felt it was ready for prime time.”

Now the question is: Are you ready to ride it? Check out the event page on and get the latest updates and scuttlebut via Facebook.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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  • Eric Leifsdad August 17, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    What’s all this about “masochistic climbs”? Yes, it’s long but it looks similar to a lot of errand trips around southwest if you only ride on the “low traffic” streets. And yet, when we talk about the need for better bike lanes on flat, straight arterials, people say “why would you want to ride on barbur?”

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    • Doug keller August 17, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      Don’t be such a downer. Some things really are just for the fun of it.

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      • Eric Leifsdad August 18, 2016 at 1:36 pm

        You can ride your bike for fun *and* to the store. The “downer” is all the people driving to the store, and some of them acting like I don’t have somewhere to go just because I’m having more fun getting there.

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        • Devin August 18, 2016 at 10:25 pm

          I couldn’t agree more! I ride my bike everywhere around town. For errands, every day to work, and for FUN up and down hills 🙂 As far as the people driving to the store, I hope they someday realize the magic, efficiency and fun of a bicycle! It’s our mission to spread the love.

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        • BB August 19, 2016 at 2:24 pm

          Which of course has absolutely nothing to do with this ride.

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    • Champs August 18, 2016 at 7:08 am

      Barbur is ideal when your destination is in the SW corridor.

      This route is ideal when your destination is the journey.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty August 18, 2016 at 11:58 am

        Do it on an orange bike!

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 28, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      The masochism isn’t doing one climb, it’s doing all of them.

      But I’m the idiot that did 15k ft one day last year.

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  • axoplasm August 17, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Beautiful! Can’t wait to try it. These are some amazing hills & nice houses to gawk at too.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. August 17, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    People bike up hills on purpose? 😛

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    • Doug August 18, 2016 at 8:14 am

      I rode Ride the Rockies back in the 90’s. But I didn’t know there’d be any hills, in Colorado. They slipped that one by me.

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    • Vince August 19, 2016 at 8:40 am

      Climb-to move from the pole line to the top of the track. Riders are warned that traversing terrain with elevation greater than this may lead to shortness of breath, sweating, and excessive fatigue

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  • KristenT August 17, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Couple of cautions on the Pete’s Mountain Road/Schaeffer Road/Mountain Road segments:

    — The NW Natural Street of Dreams is still occurring. Site is located on Schaeffer Road near its intersection with Pete’s Mountain. Expect a LOT of traffic, way more than normal.

    — On Pete’s Mountain and some segments of Schaeffer, you will be under the canopy of trees and traffic coming up the hill behind you will NOT be able to see if you if they are in bright sun. Please do yourself and everyone else a favor and clip a red blinky on the back of your bike or person.

    — There are a LOT of blind corners on Pete’s Mountain, Schaeffer and Mountain Road. There is NO shoulder. If you must stop for a breather or to shake new life back into your legs, please pull into one of the driveways you’ll encounter.

    I’m not trying to be a hater or a downer here; I grew up on top of Pete’s Mountain and rode my bike all over the place up there. I won’t do it now, the people who’ve built their ginormous mansions up there all drive like idiots not to mention the construction crews and delivery trucks for the golf course. Just be careful, be aware, and be smart.

    I love to see people riding up there and I’m one of the few drivers who will hang back and pass safely– but I’m doing HTC and will probably be comatose at home so you won’t have me to help with traffic! 🙂

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    • GR Junkie August 18, 2016 at 8:36 am

      Huh. I ride Pete’s Mountain all the time. It is probably the only place in the Portland Metro area I will ride on the road because it is the only place I feel safe. Rarely do I even see a car out there and when I do, they are always very courteous.

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      • KristenT August 18, 2016 at 3:49 pm

        Have you ridden it in the last month, since the Street of Dreams opened?

        I do agree with you that it’s a lovely piece of road, both coming up from Willamette and cruising down towards Wilsonville. The scenery at the top is very nice on a clear day.

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  • Mike August 17, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Craptastic Devin. My knee hurts already.

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  • Kyle Banerjee August 17, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Looks interesting.

    Although I love the idea of the Ronde, the ride lacks aesthetics, is too much like doing hill repeats, and is feels a little too much about doing something just you can. But it does include some great roads that are worth experiencing.

    I don’t know this new route, but just eyeballing it, it looks promising.

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  • Stephen Keller August 17, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Adam H.
    People bike up hills on purpose?

    I did on my way to the the office yesterday. There isn’t a lot of choice but up on my cycling days: it’s up Saltzman or up Kingston or up Terwilliger. Up, up, up!

    Well there’s always the train or the car (provided I want the headache).


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  • anon August 17, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    If you think you can do it then check out the
    Tabor 10,000

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  • Justin Acciavatti August 17, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    Thanks for putting in the effort and sharing the route, Devin!

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  • I wear many hats August 18, 2016 at 8:57 am

    I had no idea the SW hills had so many great routes until I did the “Ronde”. This is another great addition to the PDX community.

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  • Pedal PT August 18, 2016 at 11:15 am

    This is great- Looking forwards to giving this one a go!

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  • Matt S. August 18, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    I think the start time is way too late considering how hot it’s going to be Sunday. There’s talks of it hitting above 100 degrees. I’d be down for a 6am start time!

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    • Devin August 18, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      At this point (Thursday night) NWS is only calling for a high of 83° on Sunday. That should be a relief after Friday and Saturday!

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  • jeff August 19, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Please be extra courteous through Riverview.

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  • Blind August 21, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Worst marking possible?

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  • Blind August 21, 2016 at 6:58 am

    Did anyone even mark the road?

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  • Sio August 23, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I failed to complete De Ronde this past April. Since then, I vowed to return next year to complete it. I’ve been held 100% to my vow prematurely but the ride was completed. It took me almost 8 hours from start to finish but I did it. The views were enchanting. The climbs were a repeated test of my will and sanity. The descents were sploosh. I’m still not good at climbing but I’m alive and can honestly say that is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 28, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      Congrats! It feels like an endless tease when you get close to Council Crest and the arrows point down yet again, but there’s a great feeling at the top.

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