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. End of daylight savings her in the land of South Oz.

    Means #9 and #5 rides are the norm from now on.

    Night rides after work in the dark are the biggest windows of opportunity I have.

    Theme song for my rides going forward has been resurrected

    https://youtu.be/Bk7RVw3I8eg

  2. @chris

    My 12 yr old daughter is posting top 5’s for ladies on segments and coming off my wheel and attacking me at town lines and near the crests of hills. And yep, beating me. It is classic. We race mtn bikes today at local state park. But she tells me that crits are her fave right now. We’re lucky dads indeed

    Cheers

  3. @Randy C

    Nice.

  4. I’ve now raced 3 crits in 3 weeks; and sadly followed up my 2nd place in the first with a couple of deja-vu rides where I felt strong and kept myself in the right place until the penultimate laps, where in both cases I missed the crucial surge and got boxed in too far back to sprint.

    Was feeling a bit downhearted about this, but went out around my usual 40k training loop today – and more or less smashed all my records on the course despite a headwind a good part of the way round. I know now my legs are still there, I just need to be more aggressive in the last 5 laps and if I get in the right position on the last lap I’m still confident I can take a win (which would mean that would be my last ever Cat 4 crit as I’d be Cat 3!).

  5. @RobSandy

    You’re doing great! Res firma mitescere nescit!

  6. Stunning visibility towards St Catherine’s Point on the IOW

  7. @Teocalli

    Nice! Did you see any Ajax jerseys? One of my riding/racing buddies rode the same event.

  8. @chuckp

    @RobSandy

    You’re doing great! Res firma mitescere nescit!

    Fuck yeah!

    It’s amazing how much of sports performance is in the mind. Racing tonight so I’ll give you a report tomorrow.

  9. @RobSandy

    Didn’t spot any.

  10. Did my first club 10 this morning. Was going quite well until this happened.

    Barreling downhill at 55km/h trying to keep the power on and suddenly saw a massive tractor coming the other way with no space to get past. Had a choice between the wheel or the roadside so I went off and down into a ditch full of brambles and nettles.

    A guy coming the other way stopped to help – he said he saw the bike and wondered where the cyclist was, then saw me climbing up from the ditch.

    Finished the course. I even got back to my minute man for the second time.

    Up to then I’d been doing really well. Averaged over 340 watts for 21 minutes and headed for a time around 27-28 on a course where the record is 25 something.

  11. @ChrisO

    Ya, but how was the bike???

    Just kidding you. Brother, you were very lucky to walk/ride away from that one. I am curious to how you’ll feel tomorrow morning!

  12. @ChrisO

    Good to hear it wasn’t a disc brake that got ya but was brambles and nettles… did climbing back out hurt more than going in? So bike looks fine and kit looks fine and you have a smile. And that’s one heckuva nice wheel set too. Thank goodness nothing busted. Cheers

  13. I see you avoided getting any blood on yer white bar tape! How did you manage that? Every time I’ve gone down there is some sort of magnetic pull from the road rash to white bar tape, regardless of were it was on my body. In all seriousness crashing is always scary glad to hear you were able to finish and in one piece with a smile no less.

  14. Jeepers, glad you’re not too hurt!

  15. @ChrisO

    I assume your helmet was dislodged on impact… Glad you’re ok!

  16. @The Pressure

    @ChrisO

    I assume your helmet was dislodged on impact… Glad you’re ok!

    No it was a magic helmet. All helmets are magical.

  17. What a day for the first Imperial Ton for the season. Checking out the climbs in Suffolk………

  18. Nice little route for Eroica Britannia around the Peak District. Hoping the weather is good.

    https://ridewithgps.com/routes/11943326

  19. @Teocalli

    Stunning visibility towards St Catherine’s Point on the IOW

    ooh, I was there. Given the earlier forecasts worked out rather pleasant! Though -1°C in Winchester at 6:15am was a challenge

  20. Anybody around here riding Battenkill this upcoming weekend???

    I know that xyxax, CanuckChuck and I are all doing the 100 km ride.

  21. @Buck Rogers

    Anybody around here riding Battenkill this upcoming weekend???

    I know that xyxax, CanuckChuck and I are all doing the 100 km ride.

    No but I’m riding the fucking Tourmalet on Wednesday.

    Sorry, had to brag somewhere…

  22. @RobSandy

    @Buck Rogers

    Anybody around here riding Battenkill this upcoming weekend???

    I know that xyxax, CanuckChuck and I are all doing the 100 km ride.

    No but I’m riding the fucking Tourmalet on Wednesday.

    Sorry, had to brag somewhere…

    Cool. I’ve gotta plan a long weekend down to an Alp somewhere.

    We have a local event here last weekend that effectively crossed the South Downs 6 times in an Imperial Ton. Quite a bit of climbing.

  23. @RobSandy

    @Buck Rogers

    Anybody around here riding Battenkill this upcoming weekend???

    I know that xyxax, CanuckChuck and I are all doing the 100 km ride.

    No but I’m riding the fucking Tourmalet on Wednesday.

    Sorry, had to brag somewhere…

    Wow insanely jealous! Which side are you going up?

  24. @chris

    @RobSandy

    @Buck Rogers

    Anybody around here riding Battenkill this upcoming weekend???

    I know that xyxax, CanuckChuck and I are all doing the 100 km ride.

    No but I’m riding the fucking Tourmalet on Wednesday.

    Sorry, had to brag somewhere…

    Wow insanely jealous! Which side are you going up?

    We’re staying in Luz which is right at the base, so I can either start my ride up it from that side, or tackle it from the other side at the end. Think I’m going for the latter.

  25. @RobSandy

    @chris

    @RobSandy

    @Buck Rogers

    Anybody around here riding Battenkill this upcoming weekend???

    I know that xyxax, CanuckChuck and I are all doing the 100 km ride.

    No but I’m riding the fucking Tourmalet on Wednesday.

    Sorry, had to brag somewhere…

    Wow insanely jealous! Which side are you going up?

    We’re staying in Luz which is right at the base, so I can either start my ride up it from that side, or tackle it from the other side at the end. Think I’m going for the latter.

    Oh MAN!!! THAT is Awesome!!! Hell, why not do both sides!!!

    I will have to ride it soon after I arrive in Germany!

    Please post a ride report after you finish AND recover!

  26. @Buck Rogers

    Shit, you are going to be covering some miles over here in Europe! Hope they give you more than a Fiat 500.

  27. Hell, man! We are looking to buy one of the VW Camper Transporters when we arrive.

    Since we’ll be living there 6 years, we need a camper van that I can drive to all the sportif’s in!

    But in the meantime, we are shipping our Honda Odyssey over until we get the VW.

    Cannot WAIT!!!

  28. @RobSandy

    @chris

    @RobSandy

    @Buck Rogers

    Anybody around here riding Battenkill this upcoming weekend???

    I know that xyxax, CanuckChuck and I are all doing the 100 km ride.

    No but I’m riding the fucking Tourmalet on Wednesday.

    Sorry, had to brag somewhere…

    Wow insanely jealous! Which side are you going up?

    We’re staying in Luz which is right at the base, so I can either start my ride up it from that side, or tackle it from the other side at the end. Think I’m going for the latter.

    I went over from the Luz side a few years ago having ridden down from Maubourguet to the north. Not one to forget.

    How long are you there for? The Hautacam is also good and has a great spot for lunch (le Tramassel) if you ignore the turn off for the ski station and head for the very top. @frank has also been known to rave about Luz Ardiden.

  29. @chris

    We’re staying in Luz which is right at the base, so I can either start my ride up it from that side, or tackle it from the other side at the end. Think I’m going for the latter.

    I went over from the Luz side a few years ago having ridden down from Maubourguet to the north. Not one to forget.

    How long are you there for? The Hautacam is also good and has a great spot for lunch (le Tramassel) if you ignore the turn off for the ski station and head for the very top. @frank has also been known to rave about Luz Ardiden.

    I’m here until the start of next week – not on a cycling trip, a family holiday where i’ve obtained permission from the VMH to pop off for the odd morning out. Did the Port de Lhers and the Col De Port last week while staying near Tarascon.

    I may go partway up Luz Ardiden tonight to check the hire bike out and get my legs going after a week of no riding. Drove up the Tourmalet today. Feeling fine about the climb now, but shitting myself about the descent.

    Until I rode these high cols I thought I was a decent descender – turns out I’m not!

  30. @RobSandy

    If you’re there with the velominippers take them up to the Hautacam for lunch and to the rail mounted tobogan ride. It my help with your descending too!

    Descending off Tourmalet was pretty frightening when I did it. It was OK until after the avalanche protection tunnel below La Mongie but after that there were some pretty steep sections that had a lot of currugations in the braking zone where the ski coaches also brake hard and ripple the tarmac. Braking hard through those bumps meant that there were a few time when my front wheel came off the ground momentarily and tried to lock up when it came back down. It may have been resurfaced since then but don’t leave your braking too late.

    Still insanely jealous…

  31. @Buck Rogers

    Hell, man! We are looking to buy one of the VW Camper Transporters when we arrive.

    Since we’ll be living there 6 years, we need a camper van that I can drive to all the sportif’s in!

    But in the meantime, we are shipping our Honda Odyssey over until we get the VW.

    Cannot WAIT!!!

    As I don’t think I had a mid life crisis, I think I’m revisiting the opportunity later and have a hankering for a T2 thought the T5 does make more sense for long distance travel.

  32. @chris

    @RobSandy

    If you’re there with the velominippers take them up to the Hautacam for lunch and to the rail mounted tobogan ride. It my help with your descending too!

    Descending off Tourmalet was pretty frightening when I did it. It was OK until after the avalanche protection tunnel below La Mongie but after that there were some pretty steep sections that had a lot of currugations in the braking zone where the ski coaches also brake hard and ripple the tarmac. Braking hard through those bumps meant that there were a few time when my front wheel came off the ground momentarily and tried to lock up when it came back down. It may have been resurfaced since then but don’t leave your braking too late.

    Still insanely jealous…

    Yep, Hautacam is on the agenda for the weekend. Just got back from going most of the way up Luz Ardiden (i sadly missed what looks like the really good bit) but I didn’t want to get stuck in the dark and I wanted to save some legs for tomorrow.

    The tarmac on the Luz side is beautiful – no worries about that, but the first bit of road over the col looks terrifying, big hairpins with huge falls below. I’ll be taking it steady there. Expect a full report tomorrow. Maybe some pictures.

  33. Two years after we connected here as fellow Cheeseheads, finally had the pleasure of meeting and riding with @kyle. Rode the final event in the WI Bike Federation Spring Classics Series, the inaugural Route Du Sud in southern Door County, co-sponsored by the Door County Silent Sports Alliance.

    Below L to R: @teleguy57, @kyle, Dave Schlabowske (WI Bike Fed) and and Al, a local rider).

    On one of the narrow gravel sections following the Lake Michigan Shoreline (apologies for the lens smudge):

    Despite the sun and dandelions it was a decent Spring Classics weather day, even for mid-May: 42 degrees, stiff NW wind that had me looking for a wheel all the way outbound. But it was a great day on the bike.

    I don’t have many miles in my legs yet this season (missed meeting @Wiscot at the Cheesehead Roubaix last month) and am still even more too-fat-to-climb than last year. We headed out at a faster pace than I knew I could keep for 110k, so when Dave and Al split off for the 70k route due to time commitments @kyle shook some sense into me and we chased them down for a great foursome riding the 40k back in.

    If you look closely you can see the creative logo blending the LOF and the WI Holstein. Fun riding when you have towns named Brussels, Namur, Walhain… This area hosts the largest Belgian settlement in the US (according to local reports) so you’ll see a lot of tricolor flags on farms. This weekend I even saw a Walloon chicken paired with a US flag on a pickup — how many rednecks have one of those? :)

    Kudos to the DCSSA and WI Bike Fed for coming up with the series.

  34. @chris

    Tourmalet twice in one day. That is all I have to say on the subject for the time being.

  35. @RobSandy

    @chris

    Tourmalet twice in one day. That is all I have to say on the subject for the time being.

    Respect.

  36. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @chris

    Tourmalet twice in one day. That is all I have to say on the subject for the time being.

    Respect.

    Stupidity.

  37. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @chris

    Tourmalet twice in one day. That is all I have to say on the subject for the time being.

    Respect.

    Stupidity.

    OK. Respect for your Stupidity.

  38. @RobSandy

    @chris

    Tourmalet twice in one day. That is all I have to say on the subject for the time being.

    You are clearly twice the man I am.

    or half, there are few people, even stupid ones, who would want to drag that much weight over it twice.

  39. @chris

    @RobSandy

    @chris

    Tourmalet twice in one day. That is all I have to say on the subject for the time being.

    You are clearly twice the man I am.

    or half, there are few people, even stupid ones, who would want to drag that much weight over it twice.

    Based on comments elsewhere it seems there is a story behind this that will unfold when he recovers!

  40. @Teocalli

    @chris

    @RobSandy

    @chris

    Tourmalet twice in one day. That is all I have to say on the subject for the time being.

    You are clearly twice the man I am.

    or half, there are few people, even stupid ones, who would want to drag that much weight over it twice.

    Based on comments elsewhere it seems there is a story behind this that will unfold when he recovers!

    I’m looking forward to reading all about it!

    @RobSandy

    For the avoidance of doubt I wasn’t suggesting that you’re too fat to climb the Tourmalet twice.

  41. @chris

    @Teocalli

    Based on comments elsewhere it seems there is a story behind this that will unfold when he recovers!

    For the avoidance of doubt I wasn’t suggesting that you’re too fat to climb the Tourmalet twice.

    The main problem was my inherent optimism. I’d set off from our campsite in Luz Saint Saveur at about 7:30, with plenty of time to complete the 100k loop starting northwards along the main Luz Valley road and crossing the Col de Crox Blanche before descending into the valley of Bagneres and returning to Luz via the Tourmalet. However, as I got to the first road junction a typical French homme stopped me. ‘Non. C’est ferme.’

    ‘Quelle heure?’ I asked.

    A shrug. ‘L’apres midi?’ he answered noncommitally.

    That was enough ambiguity for me – I quickly decided to do the same route as planned, but in reverse, thinking the road block would probably be clear by the time I got back down to the valley some 90k later.

    There are no prizes for guessing what happened when I got to the Luz road from the other direction. Ferme. Totallement. Again, the hommes manning the road block were casual about a time for re-opening. Apres?

    At this point, having planned for a 100km ride I was empty – of food, water and energy. I knew that just to turn around and start riding back straight away would end in failure. Also, I still had hope the road would be open. So I found a pizzaria in Soulom and had an hour lunch break. A complication, however, was my family expecting me back at about 11:30 – which resulted in some frantic calls to the campsite in my dogshit french to explain what was happening.

    At about 1pm I’d finished eating and made the decision to ride back to the road block and if it was still in place, I’d have to start riding home.

    And the latter is what happened – back over the Col de Croix Blanche, back up the Bagneres valley (which is evilly uphill from that direction) and then back over the mighty bulk of the Tourmalet. I was sans. I was depanne. But somehow I kept the pedals turning and got over the top, descending as quickly as I could and arriving back at the chalet around 5:30 a complete shivering wreck.

    At this point we looked up the road block – turns out it was serious.

    The report described 800kg blocks, on the road and dangling in the netting above the road. There are more pictures here:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1021774994538094&set=pcb.1021775171204743&type=3

    180kms. 4200m of climbing. 8 hours riding. I’m still slightly in shock/ashamed/proud about the whole thing.

  42. @RobSandy

    Epic, as you say stupidity but epic. Does that make it Epic Stupidity? Bloody brilliant, but I hope you forgive my laughter.

  43. @RobSandy

    Oh yes, what an epic day out !

    Well played sir !

  44. @RobSandy

    Truly an epic, strong work!

    I can see why you’d planned to go the way you were intending, hitting Tourmalet with no miles in your legs would have been tough.

    You might curse your stupidity in setting off when you knew the way was blocked but you should also be thankful that it supplied you with the perfect amount of dumb to get you back over the climb on your way home!

    I’m still insanely jealous.

  45. This is a love story.

    Yesterday, I rode my first mass start race in 22 years — the Morgul Bismark Road Race in the rolling hills southeast of Boulder, CO.

    Three laps of a 13.2 mile loop with a few tough little hills; each lap is closed by a half mile climb at 5% (“The Hump”) followed by another 1.3 mile climb at 5% (“The Wall”), with a traffic circle on the descent between them. The back side includes a long, sweeping descent where speeds hit 50-60mph, followed by a pair of sharp right-hand turns. I dusted off the Cat 4 license I earned as a junior and raced it with the Masters 40+ bunch. Narrowly missed a nasty crash (stayed up despite a guy who was in the process of hitting the deck colliding with my right shoulder), was briefly in a three man chase that pulled away at the top of The Wall, felt strong on the climbs (though still shaky descending and cornering in the bunch, which cost me a lot), made a tactical error that I’ve learned from, and generally had an amazing time. Finished mid-field, but for my first race back, that’s a result.

    I don’t know if folks outside the U.S. know it, but the Morgul Bismark is a legendary route in the States. It was featured in the Red Zinger and Coors Classics. All the great American riders of the 70s-90s raced it. Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond tilted at Andy Hampsten on it. As a kid, I read and re-read Davis Phinney’s accounts of racing on it.

    To be back on my bike, racing a route like this, is such a dream come true.

    Vive la Vie Velominatus.

  46. @LawnCzar

    Very cool!

  47. @LawnCzar

    American Flyers!

  48. @Oli

    @LawnCzar

    Very cool!

    Agree!

  49. @RobSandy

    How did I miss this story ??? There is epic… and then, there is EPIC. What a perfectly classic looney tunes cycling adventure. Cheers !

  50. @LawnCzar

    Congratulations. I love the feeling of butterflies pre-race. I am sure you had a few after a 22 year break in the action. Smart move racing Masters 40+. Those guys can hammer, but they usually have enough experience to stay upright most of the time. They also have experience with tactics, which can only be learned through participation and pain.

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