Tour of West Portland.

Yesterday was the De Ronde van Oeste Portlandia, other wise known as the “The Tour of West Portland”. The “Portland Ronde” is not a race, though I’m sure some treat it as such, it is a ride. As we were reminded by a woman at one of the food tables. This is an unsanctioned ride and as such is about as legal as an Alleycat. Don’t let the “ride” nature of this outing fool you though. It is plenty capable of dishing out suffering like you’ve never felt before.

Hit the jump for nerdy training pictures, my best recollection of the ride and as well as some pictures.

First I’ll give you the data, the nerd stuff that most of you will just kind of gloss over. A quick note before I drop the data. My ride started at my home in Sellwood and involved a ride up to the meet up point. Ok, here’s the data.

Heres the course profile, including the ride up from Sellwood. Thats the little bump at the beginning.

and lastly, a graph of what my body was doing in relation to the terrain.

This is only a small part of the story.

Now that we got that out of way I can say that yesterday was one of the hardest days I’ve spent on a bike. That includes racing as well as riding in temps as low as minus five. At least that’s how it felt after a week of hard training. But that last statement might be brought to you by some self-delusion.

As a team, we meet at the Albina Press and skipped out on the first climb, Saltzman, and headed up Cornell to the what would be our first climb of the route, Brwynmar, which is narrow and steep as hell. For the most part. Just before this climb I was in my big ring when Cliff looked down and said “You need to change gears, this is the steepest climb in Portland. With that I jumped to the small ring and dumped all the gears out back.  It didn’t help, I lost all momentum, slowed to a crawl and had to step out of the pedal before I fell over. I only managed to re-mount the bike after stepping off the road into someone’s driveway to get a running start. Not the only time I would have to use this strategy.

At the top of one of the climbs, about half way through

From there we toured the Northwestern part of Skyline, before we dropped down Burnside and headed up to Washington park.  These climbs weren’t bad. In fact they were quiet nice and I’m looking forward to adding them to my training loops.

Heading out our plan was to regroup at the top of each climb. Since this was a ride, and not a race this plan was essential to keeping the group together. You may have entered each of the climbs with a group of riders (there were a ton of other teams/groups on this “unofficial” ride), but it didn’t take long for the hill to look a someone exploded a giant bag of skittles all over the road. Even with a giant descent leading in to a climb the group would just explode.

Aside from having to step off on two of the climbs, as well as doing one climb in my big ring, I felt good through out most of the ride. Even if I wasn’t capable of being the first to the top.

An old picture, but we followed these all over the West Hills

I felt good, kept shoving food into my mouth (more with the hope of preventing me from stuffing myself on my rest day) until the last series of climbs. By the end I was wrecked, but afraid to just stop because I wasn’t sure my legs would work again. Hammered.

Though this is an unoffical ride, there was no shortage of support. Along the route various friends of riders, and the organizer had set up aid stations. We stopped at two of these. At the first one I chased down a meal of white bread and jiff, with two handfuls of delicious gummy bears. Those were great, but it was the second stop that gave me the needed carb boost to get me over the last two climbs with out falling apart. I was unsure at first, but when a nice hoppy IPA was handed to me I couldn’t turn it down. Damn was that beer tasty.

Waving the flag at the beer stop near Council Crest

With hoppy goodness in my belly we tackled the last few climbs and meet up with a group at the top of council crest. The weather was perfect. Warm in the sun and hot enough to roll your arm warmers down on the climbs, followed by crisp cool descents. At Council Crest we hung out for a few minutes, before heading back stuff ourselves with some desperately needed calories.

All that’s left is for me to head back out and tackle some of those climbs that got the best of me.

The view from the top.

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