Rite of Passage-De Ronde van West Portlandia 2012

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We are a mighty team of climbers. You throw it in front of us and we will try to climb up and over it on 23’s or 29’s. The Portland Ronde (created by Brad Ross to mimc the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race) gives us a chance to ride both road and dirt in the most challenging route linking all of Portland’s steepest climbs in the West Hills together. 47.5 miles of challenge and two climbs with a 25- 30 percent grade. Ouch! I had not done this ride before but many from the Team S&M and Les Femmes family have. With no race set for the April 22nd, this would be my year.

I don’t know what the total count was on turn out but I’m guessing over 800 of our closest friends were there. Weather was absolutely perfect reaching close to 80 for the day. Local cycling photographer Dave Roth was on hand to get photos for everyone in Forest Park and cheering sections popped up in quiet little neighborhoods as we wound around the beautiful West Hills neighborhood trying to find that perfect gear. Just follow the spray painted Lions of Flanders on the road and try not to get lost.

My favorite part of this day was all of the water stations set up by supportive neighbors, offering a water bottle fill, banana or maybe just a quick spray with the hose. With 15 + miles to go we all funneled into a narrow street where beer flowed freely and pb&j sandwiches were waiting in a big pile for hungry riders. “Donation” jars were posted and riders were happy to chip in.

Personal success for the day was riding the two steepest climbs, Brynwood and College, in the saddle. Margi told me that she rode Brynwood in one shot two years ago without having to take a break in the driveways like the rest of us did. I’ve got something to shoot for next year.  And in true Les Femmes style, Lisa rode the whole thing on her 29’r mountain bike. Way to go ladies, we have been officially Rondercised!

Femmes that came out were Lisa, Kim, Margi, Erin, Mielle and Alice.

Photos courtesy of :

Dave Roth,www.dmroth.com

Tedd Mann/carbonbikesdirect.com

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