........but most certainly a workout!
I joined a few folks today (about 220 by my rough count) and rode the DeRonde van Oeste Portlandia. (The Tour of West Portland) It was a tough ride as expected. Every rider came prepared in their own way. This guy set his bike up with a 20-43 if I remember his description correctly.
There were folks who had replaced the rear cog set and deraileur of their roadbikes with sets from mtn bikes and all kinds of modifications all designed to make the hills just a little more doable.
This little video was taken just a few minutes before the start. Notice near the end the guy with one arm... and only half of a traditional handlebar. A definite tip of the hat to him! I have since learned that the rider's name is Jim Henry and that he finished in an awesome 4.5 hours! Congratulations Jim!
There was also a team on a Calfee tandem that completely dispelled the notion that tandems don't climb, they finished in about 4 hours. I'll try to find their names as well.
Everybody came to ride, no pansy riders in this group!
Here's a photo taken by Dave Roth as we started out. I'm in the middle background in a bright yellow jacket. (used with permission)
You can see the rest of Dave Roth's photos HERE.
Here's the official route for this unofficial ride!
From the start at Pyramid Brewery the group rode on out to Highway 30 and headed west for a few miles at a 19-20 mph pace. That brisk pace soon fell by the wayside as we turned up Saltzman Rd. A sign at the beginning of Saltzman said "dead end".... perhaps they were trying to tell us something? Saltzman starts out as a narrow, steep, and somewhat paved residential street that "ends" at a gate....which we went around and continued on the road which now turned to packed dirt and gravel. As far as gravel goes this was good stuff. No problem riding with skinny little road tires but the recent rains and now heavy bike traffic turned it into a sloppy, muddy, mess.
Here's the group as we ascended Saltzman Road from the Willamette River to Skyline Rd, perhaps a 10% average grade for about 3 miles.
We turned left on Skyline and continued on our way. The road in this section can best be described as "undulating", no major climbs or descents. We turned right on Cornell and made our way down towards Beaverton then left on Miller Rd. Coming up to the traffic signal at Miller I had the first chance to use the brakes....with all the grit picked up on Saltzman it sounded like filing away aluminum wheels with a course rasp........ which of course it was! With the wet and gritty roads it was a sound we'd all get used to today.
We turned left onto the infamous Brynwood St. and CLIMBED back up to Skyline. From there we descended down Cornell towards Portland. After gaining some speed down Cornell (and whizzing through the tunnel!) we braked and made a right turn climbing back up a series of various roads with Vista in their names that switched back and forth up the hill. At this point The Beatle's tune "The Long and Winding Road" was going through my head. ;-) Here's a video of most of that climb taken a few days later from the comfort of my pickup.
The secondary streets we traversed were rarely smooth and add to that being wet from rain made for dicey descents. After the sometimes brutal climbs up we could rarely enjoy the fruits of our labors by letting the bikes roll down the hills. It was just too rough, too slippery, too twisty, and too many speed bumps to let the bikes fly.
There were some places so steep today that my rear wheel would spin as I put power on the pedals. Wet roads, steep roads, reasonably low gears, and rough pavement will do that. At times the route brought us tantalizingly close to our end point at Council Crest....only to turn away at the last moment and head down the hill, and then to have to climb back up again. Today was not at all about the shortest distance between two points.
If we weren't working so darn hard getting our bikes to go up the hills we would have noticed some nice views from time to time. This one is from Skyline looking west over the Westslope/Beaverton area.
I did manage to hit 42.5 mph on the descent of Burnside (and had to backtrack when I rolled past the turn up into Washington Park at the base because I couldn't stop!) Most of the day was spent MUCH slower however as I averaged 9.7 mph.
Here's another video sweep of the view from one of the high points on our route. This one overlooks downtown Portland. Who says I don't take time to stop and smell the roses? ;-) (actually catching my breath after a climb!)
Here's a photo of me as I finished at Council Crest. (thanks again to Dave Roth for reprint permission)
Congratulations to all riders today. Fast or slow, finish the entire course or not, you all deserve a big pat on the back.
...............Road Bike.....LifeCycle.....Total Miles