Five minute ride report: de Ronde van Oeste Portlandia

Published 2012-04-23

I’ve ridden this course 2.5 times in the last month, in addition to my usual summitting Council Crest twice a day. The route is (accurately) marked with the Lion of Flanders and arrows, although pay close attention to the lap numbers on Vista Ridge (between Montgomery/Patton and PSU). There are two tricky (probably unmarked) turns: onto and off of Saltzman Road. There are two other turns that are easy to miss at high speed: off of Cornell onto NW Westover Rd, and off Burnside onto “Sterns Drive” (actually a multiuse path into Washington Park at NW 24th).

Thom and I started about two hours before the Official unofficial start time, with one other rider. We missed the party but also the heat, and I didn’t mind at all. This is a better buddy ride than party ride. Plus that way Jenny and the kids could meet us on the summit. Maybe next year I’ll try riding with the mob.

Also: bring a pocket full of quarters. We passed no fewer than six lemonade stands, and this was two hours before the main group.

For all its fearsome reputation, de Ronde doesn’t seem so scary to me. My legs are well-tapped from the Strava 105k' Challenge, but I did about 90% of this in my saddle, and no pushing the bike. Other than the Two Psychotic Grades, this can be done by a strong rider at a conversational pace. And then next day get back on the bike. Today I rode up to Fairmount before our scheduled ultrasound (it’s a girl). Tonight I’m gonna ride over Council Crest, as per the program.

About those Two Psychotic Grades… Having done the whole ride already I knew where the painful points would be and was mentally prepared. Having said that, this ride is much harder mentally than physically. There are two streets with long grades above 20%: Brynwood and College. These required hard out of saddle wrenching, some riders may have to walk. I had to pause yesterday on Brynwood but rode the whole thing. I managed College in a single pull but my heart complained.

Question a forty-year-old guy asks himself when his chest hurts: is this a good pain (i.e. heart getting stronger) or a bad pain (i.e. heart getting weaker)? Eek.

I love the lions, this is how I discovered the Ronde. And how I discovered lots of wonderful little gems like the shortcut from Upper Cascade through Hoyt Arboretum and the short piece of singletrack below SW 18th Ave.

Is it wrong that I’m considering doing this again this weekend? It’s kind of become the thing I do on weekends.