The Rides

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The Ride. It is the cathedral of our sport, where we worship at the altar of the Man with the Hammer. It is the end to our means. Indeed, The Bike may be the central tool to our sport, but to turn the pedals is to experience the sensation of freedom, of flight. It is all for The Ride.

The world is overflowing with small, twisty roads that capture our collective imagination as cyclists. We spend our lifetimes searching out the best routes and rides; we pore over maps, we share with our fellow disciples, we talk to non-cycling locals all in pursuit of the Perfect Ride.

The Rides is devoted entirely to the best routes and rides around the world. Some are races or cyclosportives, others feature in the Classics and stages of The Great Races, while others still are little-known gems, discovered through careful meditation on The V. Be warned: these rides are not your average Sunday Afternoon spin; these rides are the best and most difficult rides in the word – they represent the rites of passage into La Vie Velominatus. It is to be taken for granted that these rides require loads of Rule #5, many of them Rule #10, and all of them are best enjoyed in Rule #9 conditions. They have been shared by you, the community. The Rides also features articles devoted to the greatest rides and providess a forum for sharing other rides for discussion.

If you’d like to submit a ride or an article about your own favorite ride, please feel free to send it to us and we’ll do our best to work with you to include it.

Haleakala

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 56km / Location: Paia, Maui, Hawaii, USA

haleakala

Haleakala is simultaneously the longest paved continuous climb in the world as well as the shortest ascent from sea level to 10,000 feet in the world. Though not terribly steep, this is a long, grinding climb that will reduce a strong rider to a whimpering lump.

To put the effort in perspective, this climb is 60km long a an average of 6% with two pitches as steep as 17%. That translates to somewhere between 3 or more hours of nonstop climbing, usually in Maui’s direct heat and often into a whipping headwind that spins around into a headwind no matter which direction the switchbacks take you.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/50412514

Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Category: Rouleur / Distance: 265 / Location: Liege, Belgium

lbl

Liege-Bastogne-Liege is not only La Doyenne, the oldest of the Classics, but also represents perhaps the most demanding course in cycling. The 280 km, 3000m vertical route starts with an easy ride out from Liege to Bastogne which lulls riders into a false sense of security; the hills are frequent, but none of them terribly demanding. Into Bastogne, and the story changes on the way back to Liege with 9 categorized climbs in the second half, including the fearsome Côte de la Redoute and the Côte de Saint-Nicolas.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58053308/

Paris-Roubaix

Category: Hardman / Distance: 265 / Location: Compiégne, France

paris-roubaix

L’enfur du Nord. The Hell of The North. The Queen of the Classics. This isn’t a ride over the stones from your local brick-paved roads. You think climbs are what make a ride tough? We’ve got news for you: this is the hardest ride on the planet and it boasts a maximum elevation of 55 meters. These are vicious, brutal stones; the kind that will stretch each kilometer to their full length, the kind of stones that you will feel long after the rattling of the bars has stopped. These stones will change you. Forever.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58052610/

Guide: Pavé Cycling Classics

Mortirolo/Gavia Loop

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 115km / Location: Bormio, Italy / Contributor: Joe

The Mortirolo is perhaps the most feared pass in Western Europe, and the Gavia the most storied. Given their proximity to each other, its a wonder why this isn’t the most talked-about ride in Italy. Maybe it is; its impossible to say without being Italian. The loop nature of this ride makes it feasible as a solo escapade, but any ride with the kind of stats this one bears – 3200 meters ascended in 115 kilometers including the viscously steep Mortirolo – is best enjoyed with a riding partner or support car.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/59027020/

200 on 100

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 330km / Location: Vernon, VT / Contributor: cdelinks

“Dumptruck of Awesome” has become the catch-phrase associated with this brutally hard, yet strikingly beautiful 330 kilometer (200 mile) ride down Vermont Route 100.  This ride was made popular during the summer of 2011 when Ted King, Tim Johnson, and a local amateur cyclist, Ryan Kelly, documented this ride on film. The ride starts on the Canadian border and finishes on the Massachusetts border.  With over 2500 meters of climbing on this 330 kilometer ride, you will need to pack a few lunches to get through this one.  Do this ride in the Fall, and the foliage might be beautiful enough to distract you from the horrible pain you will most certainly suffer.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58052808/

De Ronde Van West Portlandia

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 76km / Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

A ride that officially “never happens” each spring, this 76 km route charts a course through Portland’s West Hills, paying homage to the European Spring Classics. Approximately 1,800 meters of paved and unpaved climbs are spread throughout the course, with several sections reaching grades of over 20%. More information can be found at Ronde PDX.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/15276210

Seattle Master Urban Ride

Category: Rouleur / Distance: 130km / Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

seattleronde

This is perhaps the most challenging urban route in Seattle, hitting three of the big hills that define Seattle’s topography. The route starts and ends on Phinney Ridge, but hits the climbs of Interlaken and Alder Street/Lake Dell Drive on its way to Mercer Island, before coming back to hit Queen Anne and Magnolia, weaving its way up each of these hills as many times as possible via the steepest route available before the finale to the north via Golden Gardens, Blue Ridge Drive, and Carkeek Park. Panoramic views of the Cascades, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, The Olympic Penninsula and Puget Sound makes this a standout Urban ride.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/57732282

  1. @TheF

    The IT band is thick, strong, not really elastic, and is connected to the femur in several places along its length. It is also not connected to the quads or the patella in any meaningful way. So not only is it practically impossible to stretch the IT band by foam rolling, but such stretching would also have no real effect on kneecap alignment.

    Fair enough. Rolling my quads does seem to help though. I don’t know if what I thought was the ITB is actually the outer extent of the vastus lateralis. It feels extremely tight though.

  2. @RobSandy

    @TheF

    The IT band is thick, strong, not really elastic, and is connected to the femur in several places along its length. It is also not connected to the quads or the patella in any meaningful way. So not only is it practically impossible to stretch the IT band by foam rolling, but such stretching would also have no real effect on kneecap alignment.

    Fair enough. Rolling my quads does seem to help though. I don’t know if what I thought was the ITB is actually the outer extent of the vastus lateralis. It feels extremely tight though.

    Physio put me onto pretzel stretches – works a treat (for me with prior nagging knee pain, now gone)

    http://www.knee-pain-explained.com/glute-stretches.html

  3. @sthilzy

    @RobSandy

    @TheF

    The IT band is thick, strong, not really elastic, and is connected to the femur in several places along its length. It is also not connected to the quads or the patella in any meaningful way. So not only is it practically impossible to stretch the IT band by foam rolling, but such stretching would also have no real effect on kneecap alignment.

    Fair enough. Rolling my quads does seem to help though. I don’t know if what I thought was the ITB is actually the outer extent of the vastus lateralis. It feels extremely tight though.

    Physio put me onto pretzel stretches – works a treat (for me with prior nagging knee pain, now gone)

    http://www.knee-pain-explained.com/glute-stretches.html

    So are you saying you think my problem is I have a tight arse?

  4. Visiting the in-laws, terrible nights sleep due to 3 year old getting up every 2 hours to chat to me. Mother in law suggested taking my bike out. Did a 80k loop around the New Forest in horrible weather.

    Everything is better now.

  5. I just got back in from my first road bike ride of the year, mostly because I just could not wait any longer.  Summer is not here yet, spring isn’t even here yet, and this was just a 7km loop around my neighborhood at 2°C, strong gusting winds, snow/sludge/ice/puddles and a minor hailstorm, but it was still great! Not even the sight of my spectaculary inept taping job could ruin the fun…

  6. @Quasar

    Good god man, where do you live?  You either need to move or HTFU!  wink

  7. @Sparty

    In Iceland… My ride since late October has been a mountain bike with spiked tyres, which gets old rather quickly.

  8. First evening ride of the year tonight. That is all.

  9. Velominipper educational day out. Took the eldest two, Katie (14) and Angus (12) to the Olympic Velodrome today. Two hours on the road circuit followed by two hours on the boards.

    The first session finished with a time trial. Katie edged the win over Angus by a slim 2 seconds. The track session ended with a timed flying lap. Eagger to show his skills Angus failed to listen to the coach and rode high line whilst Katie paid attention and kept it tight.

    The youngest, Ed, is properly pissed off as he’s got to wait another two years before he’s old enough.

  10. @Quasar

    I just got back in from my first road bike ride of the year, mostly because I just could not wait any longer.  Summer is not here yet, spring isn’t even here yet, and this was just a 7km loop around my neighborhood at 2°C, strong gusting winds, snow/sludge/ice/puddles and a minor hailstorm, but it was still great! Not even the sight of my spectaculary inept taping job could ruin the fun…

    Iceland!?! Wow, this one’s earning his fermented shark.

  11. My first competitive ride since The Big Off today. A Team Time Trial which went pretty well.

    We won, and were only a couple of seconds off the time we set in September when we narrowly came second to the UAE national team on the same course. And that was when we had super-strong Jamie.

    I think having a more even-strength team made it much smoother and more of a team effort. Plus this time I was on a proper TT bike (that’s my Trinity in the pic). Huge difference in effort. I’m still not 100% so no heroics but I was pleased that I was able to do my share – I certainly wasn’t a passenger.

    Non-geeks can look away now… @Tessar read on. NP of 287 and average 274 today versus NP of 300 and average 292 in September.

    Interestingly my VI in September was 1.03 and today was 1.06. While the average power reflects the more efficient effort on the front, the VI shows that I was getting a better recovery between turns.

    I wish someone had been on the course to take photos – I would love to see how my position compares to the other guys now. From the shadows it looked pretty good – I was nice and narrow and could see the outside of the bars on both sides when the sun was directly behind me.

  12. @ChrisO

    Nice one.

  13. Great stuff, @ChrisO

  14. @ChrisO

    Someone’s chopped the front of your saddle off. For a TT bike that’s a fine looking amchine

    Glad to hear that your’e almost back to pre-@teocalli strength and power. I should know from all the post ride reports I’m getting from my indoor sessions but what is VI (other than the Velominati equivalent of turning it up to 11) and what does it mean?

  15. @DeKerr

    Not to mention Brennivín from the bidon…

  16. @ChrisO

    despite the Bidonkadonk hanging off the back of the saddle, that’s a fine looking mosheen you’ve got there. Congrats on the successful competitive return.

  17. @Chris

    @ChrisO

    Someone’s chopped the front of your saddle off. For a TT bike that’s a fine looking amchine

    Glad to hear that your’e almost back to pre-@teocalli strength and power. I should know from all the post ride reports I’m getting from my indoor sessions but what is VI (other than the Velominati equivalent of turning it up to 11) and what does it mean?

    Yes I have gone a bit native with the stumpy saddle but that was as-recommended-by the guy who bike fits Richie Porte so I wasn’t going to argue.

    The bidonkadonk is a necessity – the thing is so narrow-profile there are no screws for bottle cages on the down tube. Having to reach behind to get the bottle was quite alarming at first, along with the general feeling of being less stable on the TT bike.

    VI is Variability Index @Chris. Basically how much your power goes up and down. So if you are doing a steady-state ride at  250 watts you ideally want to be holding between 240-260 not going up to 280 then falling down to 220, even though both might produce the same average.

    TT and triathlon, especially Ironman, is classic VI territory where they aim to have a very steady power output for long periods. 1.06 is still quite low but a solo TT or tri bike leg would be under 1.05 and as close to 1 as possible. If your NP and average power are identical then your VI will be 1.

  18. @ChrisO

    What a come back with Rule #70! Chapeau to you and your team!

  19. @ChrisO

    @Chris

    @ChrisO

    Someone’s chopped the front of your saddle off. For a TT bike that’s a fine looking amchine

    Glad to hear that your’e almost back to pre-@teocalli strength and power. I should know from all the post ride reports I’m getting from my indoor sessions but what is VI (other than the Velominati equivalent of turning it up to 11) and what does it mean?

    VI is Variability Index @Chris. Basically how much your power goes up and down. So if you are doing a steady-state ride at  250 watts you ideally want to be holding between 240-260 not going up to 280 then falling down to 220, even though both might produce the same average.

    TT and triathlon, especially Ironman, is classic VI territory where they aim to have a very steady power output for long periods. 1.06 is still quite low but a solo TT or tri bike leg would be under 1.05 and as close to 1 as possible. If your NP and average power are identical then your VI will be 1.

    Awesome. It would seem that I’m, silky smooth. 1.01 to 1.03 seems to be the range I’m getting during the indoor sessions if you exclude the warm up and cool down elments (arriving late, faffing around with the HR strap and falling off the bike are never going to give accurate readings).

    I’d probably put some of that down to all the roller sessions I’ve done over the last few years but I can’t imagine it would look quite as pretty transferred to the road. I really would like a power meter.

  20. @Quasar

    “The word “brennivín” translates to English as “burning wine”…”

    Now there’s a beverage I’ll have to try at least once (and reminds me that I have a bottle of akvavit on the shelf at home).

  21. @DeKerr

    @Quasar

    “The word “brennivín” translates to English as “burning wine”…”

    Now there’s a beverage I’ll have to try at least once (and reminds me that I have a bottle of akvavit on the shelf at home).

    I believe it is akvavit (water of life!) in terms of how it is made. Those who like that kind of drink in the first place tend to like this one, but those who don’t say it just tastes of pain. The shark on the other hand smells to high heaven but if you can get past that the taste is actually decent. Aquired taste for sure. Shark and Brennivín go together by the way, a match made in…???

  22. Haleakala ride is booked for June 12.  Anyone want to join me ?

  23. @GogglesPizano

    Not yet… but I’m moving there at the end of July!

  24. Weather is shaping up to make Dunkerque – Roubaix an interesting ride on Sunday.  Looks like my first Pave will be a wet one.

  25. Did any other Velominati ride the Cheesehead Roubaix yesterday? It was a fine day out: 270 riders, a great course, the gravel was dry and (mostly) smooth and Lovers Lane not too much of a mud pit. Dave Hanrahan and Belgianwerckx deserve a huge round of applause for putting on such a great free event.

  26. @wiscot

    I had planned to ride it again this year, but circumstances dictated otherwise.  I imagine the course was great; a bit chillier at the start than last year, but I bet it was pleasant overall.  Next year…  Dave and Belgianwerkx are awesome.  Nice to see the funds raised for the vol fire department were up this year.

  27. I’m not sure if this belongs here, since I want to comment on a great ride but also would like the Keepers to comment on some etiquette…

    This past weekend I did my first gravel race, the Chino Grinder in central Arizona.  A 170km/3000m epic with a relentless 35km climb into the pine forest and mountains, a sure way to asphyxiate those of us training at lower altitudes.  The course was fantastic – a mix of dirt, gravel, washboard, fun descents, cruel climbs and beatiful panoramic vistas.  The organizers did a great job, with tons of support.  I trained with some similar distances and climbing on the road, but this was a different beast.  The local Pros dominated the course.  Me, not so much…I ultimately got bitch-slapped by the Man With the Hammer and finished outside of my time goal.  Anyway, I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a tough and fun challenge next year.

    @the Keepers…  I saw a local team show up in matching white kit that was emblazoned with “Keepers of the Kog” [sic].  The back jersey pockets had a few rules and a large “#5″ written out.  If these guys want to be associated with the Velominati, it seems to me that they should represent with a proper V-kit.  What do you think – plagiarism or another welcome sect in the community?

  28. Oh, I should mention that the aforementioned “Keepers of the Kog” were rule compliant, for what I could observe.  The only issue I saw was related to Rule #64, where one of them ran out of cornering ability.  I’m pretty sure he went on to kick my ass in the GC results.

  29. @MangoDave

    My philosophical problem with the kit you describe is that they seem to be advertising the Rules outward and the Sacred Garments (thank Merckx they have returned) are designed for the wearer to reflect inward. First, one obeys the Rules; next, one leads by example – not, I would suggest, by flirting with a Rule #43 transgression. I am of the mind that a Velominatus manifests commitment to le metier by demonstrating Rules compliance, not proselytizing at others.

    Rule #5 is, at its most potent, an internal meditation. When we remind others of the V it is not to shame them (okay, maybe a little) but to help them find and reconnect with their internal hardman, find that sliver of light in the dark recesses of the cave, and transcend to the VV (Rule #10).

  30. @DeKerr

    @MangoDave

    My philosophical problem with the kit you describe is that they seem to be advertising the Rules outward and the Sacred Garments (thank Merckx they have returned) are designed for the wearer to reflect inward. First, one obeys the Rules; next, one leads by example – not, I would suggest, by flirting with a Rule #43 transgression. I am of the mind that a Velominatus manifests commitment to le metier by demonstrating Rules compliance, not proselytizing at others.

    Rule #5 is, at its most potent, an internal meditation. When we remind others of the V it is not to shame them (okay, maybe a little) but to help them find and reconnect with their internal hardman, find that sliver of light in the dark recesses of the cave, and transcend to the VV (Rule #10).

    Interesting take on the internal reflections, I hadn’t thought of it that way.  Turns out my friend snapped a picture at the start, you can see the backs of the “Kog” jerseys in the middle of the right side.  From that view they look pretty clean, the front has more of the outward “shouting”.  For some reason it just bugs me that they intentionally change the spelling in an attempt to claim it as their own creation.

  31. With running the risk of getting laughed off the site, after not posting for a while, is anybody else here riding the AIDS/LifeCycle this year?

  32. Melburnian Velominati… Any suggestions for a good place to hire a bike please?

    I’m going to be there for a week at the beginning of June and as I’ll be staying in St Kilda it would seem a shame not to ride along Beach Rd a couple of times.

    Nothing serious – I don’t want to join the Hell Ride. I’ve actually promised my physio I will have a couple of weeks off the bike, but if I don’t wear a HR monitor it isn’t a real ride is it.

  33. @ChrisO

    Sounds like you want to cruise, http://www.melbournebikeshare.com.au/

    naaaa! Try some steel, http://mottainaicycles.com/2015/01/06/mottainai-cycles-vintage-restorations-service-repairs-hire/

    Or what size frame/set up you need?

  34. @sthilzy

    Yes the Bike Share is definitely an option for getting around the city.

    Once I work out your bloody hook turns or whatever they’re called.

  35. @RobSandy

    Hi, sounds like an IT band injury. Look up IT band exercises, and try to PT yourself. Also wearing a band around the mid section of the knee will help during exercises. Also see Rule #5. :)

  36. Excitement. Planning to ride out from work and take in the Tumble and Caerphilly Mountain in a 90k ride loop. Both are climbs which have featured in the Tour of Britain (The Tumble last year, Caerphilly in 2013), Kwiatkowski still has the Strava KOM from that day.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/29028396

  37. More excitement, I unknowingly raced against an Olympic gold medallist on Tuesday night.

    See if you can guess who.

    I didn’t win.

  38. @RobSandy

    More excitement, I unknowingly raced against an Olympic gold medallist on Tuesday night.

    See if you can guess who.

    I didn’t win.

    Not sure where Geraint is at the moment. I’ll go with Nicole Cooke.

  39. @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    More excitement, I unknowingly raced against an Olympic gold medallist on Tuesday night.

    See if you can guess who.

    I didn’t win.

    Not sure where Geraint is at the moment. I’ll go with Nicole Cooke.

    On the right lines with Cooke. But the medal was won on the track.

  40. @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    More excitement, I unknowingly raced against an Olympic gold medallist on Tuesday night.

    See if you can guess who.

    I didn’t win.

    Not sure where Geraint is at the moment. I’ll go with Nicole Cooke.

    On the right lines with Cooke. But the medal was won on the track.

    Thought it might be something tricky. Becky James?

  41. @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    More excitement, I unknowingly raced against an Olympic gold medallist on Tuesday night.

    See if you can guess who.

    I didn’t win.

    Not sure where Geraint is at the moment. I’ll go with Nicole Cooke.

    On the right lines with Cooke. But the medal was won on the track.

    Thought it might be something tricky. Becky James?

    Nope. Also a 3 time World Champion and MBE. And current World Record holder.

  42. @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    More excitement, I unknowingly raced against an Olympic gold medallist on Tuesday night.

    See if you can guess who.

    I didn’t win.

    Not sure where Geraint is at the moment. I’ll go with Nicole Cooke.

    On the right lines with Cooke. But the medal was won on the track.

    Thought it might be something tricky. Becky James?

    Nope. Also a 3 time World Champion and MBE. And current World Record holder.

    Give up?

  43. Laura Trott?

  44. @Oli

    Laura Trott?

    Very warm but no points.

  45. @RobSandy

    @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    More excitement, I unknowingly raced against an Olympic gold medallist on Tuesday night.

    See if you can guess who.

    I didn’t win.

    Not sure where Geraint is at the moment. I’ll go with Nicole Cooke.

    On the right lines with Cooke. But the medal was won on the track.

    Thought it might be something tricky. Becky James?

    Nope. Also a 3 time World Champion and MBE. And current World Record holder.

    Give up?

    I’ve so given up it’s affected my will to live.

    Are we there yet?

  46. @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    More excitement, I unknowingly raced against an Olympic gold medallist on Tuesday night.

    See if you can guess who.

    I didn’t win.

    Not sure where Geraint is at the moment. I’ll go with Nicole Cooke.

    On the right lines with Cooke. But the medal was won on the track.

    Thought it might be something tricky. Becky James?

    Nope. Also a 3 time World Champion and MBE. And current World Record holder.

    Give up?

    I’ve so given up it’s affected my will to live.

    Are we there yet?

    Track gold? Stephanie Cook? Does she race bikes or was it the swim or the run/shooting thing on Tuesday night?

  47. Joanna Rowsell??

  48. @Oli

    Joanna Rowsell??

    @Chris

    @ChrisO

    @Oli was closest. Dani King. And she only rode a 24 dead, I’d have expected her to go a lot faster.

    I’d apologise for what is probably a massive anti climax but I quite like being annoying.

  49. You would have thought that mid-May would be a time where I could put my cold and wet weather gear away.

    Not so.

    Set off for a ride today with neoprene shoe covers, DeFeet knee warmers, a long sleeve base layer under my jersey, a gillet on top and full finger gloves and I was soaking wet and cold for the 2 hrs of my extended commute. Rules #5 and #9 were observed and mediated upon. I also enjoyed the rain protection properties of my cycling cap for the first time.

    I also have to somehow get my kit dry-ish (on a single small radiator in a disabled loo) for my ride home at 5pm, for which it is forecast to be mercifully dry.

  50. First race of the season done, in 55+ km/h wind. Almost flat 64 km out and back, average speed on the inward leg was 19.0 km/h! I had to mash 39-25 downhill. I finished (unlike the last race I did), wasn’t lanterne rouge and I beat my only coworker in the race.  I’ll take that.

    The highlight of the race for me however came before the start, when I was mistaken for the national champion by the guys managing the race…

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