Thursday, July 09, 2009

Ronde van Salt Lake

Sunday, July 19th, 2009 is going to be the first annual Ronde van Salt Lake. Come join the fun. We'll meet at Blue Star Coffee House, at 2300 E and the 80 (right off the freeway if you're heading east from SLC, at 7 for coffee. Roll out around 7:30

This was a rousing success. As far as I could tell, a good time was had by all. The course is great, and even more Flanders-esque in a group. The "cobbles" and bergs were hard and took their toll as the day wore on. Big thanks to George at Blue Star Coffee for the post-ride refreshments. We finished just in time to see the final climb of the day.

Looks like this is going to be some kind of event. We'll shoot for spring next time, as it's supposed to be a spring classic. In fact, we'll probably even hope for some of the opposite of what we faced over the weekend, replacing the 100 degree temps with snow flurries. See you in April!

Here's a route map where you can enter GPS coordinates and such:

I've marked most of the course. There will be two versions of this ride: An easy-ish 100k-ish loop and a hard 150k-ish loop (NOTE: "easy" ride is about 100k, the hard ride is 96.9 miles). The latter has the steepest climbs (Zane is registering 26%) and most of the cobbles. Both are beautiful and circle the Salt Lake valley. In addition to marking the course I'll have some maps with the course drawn in, and verbal descriptions, at Blue Star. Detailed description below.

For now, go here for the info:

Best Urban Ride in the US

Some other FAQs:

How hard is the ride? Not super hard. Even the long version has short climbs. Steep, but short. The "cobbles" don't add up to much mileage. This ride isn't nearly as hard as doing a few canyons in a day because there isn't that much sustained climbing.

What are the "cobbles" like? They are mainly sections of the Jordan River Parkway that haven't been paved. A few are on the Bonneville-Shoreline Trail. They are mainly very short. If you've never been mountain biking you could find these kind of grim. But if you have, even easy mtn biking, then they aren't technical. You can just pedal your bike and steer. You don't need great bike handling skills. For the most part they aren't nearly as hard as riding over Belgian cobbles. The last sector, through Parley's Nature Park (or Tanner dog park as many call it), has one little hill that is fairly technical at the end. If you get off and walk, it'll only be for a minute or so.

How are the climbs? Short. Some are quite steep. Zane is supposed to be the steepest street in town but it's probably barely 20% and two blocks long, with a break (cross street). Again, if anything is too hard, you won't be walking for more than a few hundred feet, tops.

Will I get punctures on the Jordan River Parkway? I've ridden it twice recently and not had one. Not only that, the bike trail is in good condition and most, if not all, vegetation can be avoided. I'll ride it again this week and report but I'm thinking that most of those "puncture" rumors are in the fall when the goatheads are out. They should still be soft and green. Bring a patch kit and inflate your tires (to avoid pinch flats) just in case. Rode it yesterday. It's fine and clean. Did get a puncture but I think it was from riding off the path to place a route marker. The pavement is very clean.

Will the course be marked? I'm going to mark it with the above signs next week. Hopefully most of them will survive til Sunday. I'll post a map and long verbal directions next week as well. There is a basic route description in the comments of the above link. It's an EASY course to follow and NOT GET LOST. You may get off course but since it's a circle around the city if you have a map you'll find your way back on it, or you can just ride home.

Why should I do this ride? It's awesome! Over its entire length there aren't too many places where I don't think "this is SO cool", especially when I look around. It passes many of SLC's most famous landmarks. It's challenging. It's gorgeous. I can't imagine any city in the US could come close to matching it.

Are you sure I won't get lost? Hopefully there will be at least a couple of small groups. The course is marked with the above logos. However, some almost certainly will get removed. View the detailed description (on the link and I'll post another later in the week). I'll have some general maps at the start. In general, for the signage, a sign on the right means go right, on the left means go left. Across the street means straight. If it's a dead end the marker will be placed in the direction you should go. If there are "bike route" signs you generally follow them. Once you're on the Jordan River, always take the fork that keeps you next to the river.

Basic Route Description:

From Blue Star, head up the frontage road past Parley's (dog park) and right onto 2700E. Follow this to 4500 (44-something at this point, a light). Turn right then left onto Wander Lane. Follow Wander (wanders but marked and is obvious) to Jupiter, a natural place to turn right. Head down to Holladay Blvd. Turn left. Continue straight past 6200S (Cottonbottom is here if you already need to imbibe). Follow bike route signs onto S. Big Cottonwood Cyn Rd. Climb up past the Mill to Ft Union. Second chance for a drink as Porcupine Pub is across the street.

Turn right, then left on Nut Tree. Follow it around right, then left and up to Brighton. Left and up Brighton to Bengal. Left and up the hill. Look for a back alley in the parking lot to cut off the corner of Bengal and 3500E. Take 3500 to Wasatch, merge right. Follow this to the Little Cottonwood Cyn fork and take the left (uphill) option. Climb up to the neon sign and turn right. Scream downhill, cross Wasatch, and make the first left on 9710S. Make the first left and go left again at S 3100E. Turn right then left on Dimple Dell. Head downhill for a while. Right on 1300E, then left pretty quickly at Sego Lilly (first light). This short section sucks for a couple of blocks. Head downhill to the trolley tracks and turn right onto the bike path. At 9400S, carefully cross the street and take the road next to the bike path. At 9000S, again carefully, cross the median to go left and head down 9000. Go under the freeway (another sucky section) and turn right on the frontage road. At its end, turn left and in a minute or so turn right and enter the Jordan River Parkway.

After a mile or so, be careful crossing the road, and go left to get back on the path. The bike path does cross under the road but it's super muddy. Unless you want your bike to look like you've ridden Paris Roubaix in the rain, it's easier to cross the street.

The next 10 or so miles are on the bike path. All major streets are crossed with bridges or underpasses, at least until you're back in SLC proper. I've marked every important turn. If the signs are gone, always FOLLOW THE RIVER. This will never lead you too far astray.

The first cobble sector is where the path is closed around 2100S. Go left on dirt for about 50m, then take the first right through the construction zone, then right again on the detour back to the bike path. After going under the river, take a right fork at a golf course away from the river. Carefully crossing active trolley lines. Again, follow the path with is now back on the river. At Franklin Elementary, leave the path (just before it end at I-80 anyway) and go right for a couple of block. Turn left and head under I-80, then take the first right onto 200S.

Turn left off of 200S where the trolley tracks turn left in front of you. Make the next right and cross under the Gateway Arch. Go left in front of the Gateway Mall and right onto S. Temple. Follow S. Temple through downtown, moving left through the short construction zone (almost a cobble sector--ride fast). Stay on S. Temple to 700E. Stay in the right land and turn right, then turn left on 100S (in front of Wasatch Touring).

If you're hungry, turn right at 800E and go south two blocks to the corner of 300S. Cafe Niche awaits.

Get back on 200S and head uphill. The first steep berg is just before the university. Go straight through the light at 1300E and right on University. Turn left and climb up past the stadium. Try not to get hit by a train (what kind of cobble ride would it be if trains weren't a factor?). Stay on this climb to the top of the university. Go left at the light and continue uphill (right at the Wasatch fork) til the road ends.

For the short version, turn right and finish the ride from the Medical Center climb. For the long version, turn left and then right on Federal Heights and descend into the avenues.

Left on Virginia for a block then right at 4th. Turn right climb into the cemetary on Central. When it forks, go left, keep climbing to the left on Main, which is steep a windy--a beautiful and hard climb. Left on 11th, then quickly right on K Street. After a brutally hard two blocks, follow it left and head straight to the end of the road. Wind down Capitol Park to D. Turn right, cross 11th, and head downhill to 3rd. Turn right and head into Memory Grove Park. Turn right on Canyon and climb up through the park. At the top, go left and then right behind the capitol. Right on Columbus (Victory) and head north, downhill, to Beck St.

Head north on Beck. Turn right on the Bike Route into the quarry. Re-enter the road (now Hwy 89), take the diagnal shorcut before Center (light). Then left on Center. Follow Center until it's possible to enter the Jordan River Parkway (so don't cross a river). Go left (south) and take the JRPW til it "ends".

Keep going into cobble sector 2. This is overgrown and narrow. When you can exit onto a road. After a 100 meters or so take a dirt path off right. Sector 3 is long. Follow the markers right at the fork and over a bridge, then right (west). Back on the pavement, go left then right onto 2100N. Take this til you can turn right on 3200W. Sector 4 is a long dirt road that's part of the Hell of the North bike race. At its end, turn right at 3300N and right on 2200W. At 2100N, turn left. At the end go left and right and back onto pave sector 3. Sector 5 stays right at the bridge and ends at Redwood Road. Carefully cross this and enter the Jordan River Parkway. Follow the parkway until it turns to dirt. Sector 6 is an easy dirt road that follows the river and ends on a golf course. Stay left on the grass until the next road. 7/16: Sector 6 is close. Go left at the bridge and right and down the bike path. Turn left at the road 1000 N and take this until it bends and meets 600N. Turn left and follow 600N this over the I-15 and down into West Capitol Hill.

Go through the lights and turn right on Wall St (the end). Get psyched. Follow Wall until a steep road angles up at left. Take it (Zane) for two very steep blocks. Turn right at Columbus, left in front of the capitol, right on State, and left onto E Capitol Blvd. Climb up past the capitol and straight into the one-way street, staying in the right lane (bikes and peds only). Wind around to 11th Ave. Go left and up to I St. Go left and climb. After three horrible blocks it gets easier. Wind around to the top. Right on Terrace Hills and go steeply down. Just before you hit 11th, look for a street veering off left (Chandler). Take this. Up at left is Karl Malone's old ridiculously large house. As you begin to climb, on your left is the end of the Bobsled bike trail. Over the top, take the first right on Virginia and descend to the stop sign. Left on Popperton Park Way. Climb up and get on the bike path at the gate. Climb over the top and enter sector 7 as it turns to dirt. Follow this down around right (past Cold Canyon). Take the second left dirt road (the flat one), and look for a very small but smooth bit of single track splitting two wider roads. Take this down to a parking lot. Turn right then left to exit it.

This is where it meets up with the short ride. Turn left and climb up under the Cancer Center. Go left into the higher parking lot and go straight til it ends at the Bonneville Shorline Trail. Enter this. Sector 8 is short but has a short loose climb. Stay left on this and follow the dirt road. Turn right after 100 meters or so onto the road (construction is straight ahead). Descend to Chipeta (first big street). Go left and downhill to Arapeen. Go left to Sunnyside.

Turn left and climb up past the zoo. Turn right on Crestview, climb and follow the Bike Route signs. Left at Kennedy, right at Vista View and follow the bike signs, which keep you high on the bench. Eventually the pavement ends at the Bonneville Shoreline trail. Enter this and look for a short steep climb heading off left. Take it, then follow the single track to its end. Descend the "Bike Route" to Foothill. Get on the sidewalk going against traffic for a block until you can enter the bike path. Follow this down and then steeply up to the bridge.

For the short ride, turn left and head down through Parley's back to Blue Star.

For the long route, keep climbing until you exit at Wasatch. Take the first left (Warr). Climb to Cascade, turn right, then left on Plateau, then veer left on Teton. Go right (down) at Monte Verde, then left (up at Crestview). At the end, go right and left on Astro, and down to S. Mill Creek Rd. Left and across E. Mill Creek (4-way stop), and start climbing. Stay to the left and climb Parkview. Turn left at Park Terrace, right on Zarahemla, and crest the road looking up at Mt. Olympus. Turn right at the first street and follow it down (Cumorah and Oakview). Turn right at Jupiter (stop sign, school on left), and follow it down to Wasatch Blvd (light). Turn right and follow Wasatch back towards the bike path. Right at 3300 S, back down the bike path. Take the bridge (that you didn't take climbing up) and descend to Parley's Nature Park.

Careful entering sector 10. It's loose gravel for a hundred feet or so (easily ridable). Turn right and follow the main trail down, across the bridge, then back up. The last bit of the climb is loose and very rocky. Dismounting won't lose you much time but if you're racing you'll lose, because at the top you turn right and ride down the hill to the finish at Blue Star.


marc said...

"just looked at the ronde description; absolutely beautiful! absolutely looking forward to it..."

Steve Edwards said...

it's SO awesome. it's going to be fantastic!

marc said...

what time are you guys rolling out?

Steve Edwards said...

No many guys yet. A bunch of "I'll try"s, so far. We're thinking of meeting at 7am at Blue Star. Probably rolling out 7:15-7:30ish.

marc said...

i'll be there. i passed on info to a few grommets who would definitely enjoy it; hopefully they'll ride...did an epic yesterday of the monster cx; hurting for sure today but will try to get some miles on the roadie...sedentary to active seems more difficult than it used to! see you sunday.

psychenaut said...

I'm considering coming to this, but I need to study a map a little better before showing up early Sunday. If I don't get to it before you, wanna make one over here?

The auto-route feature works pretty well. Turn it off for the off road parts and then turn it back on when you're back on a street.

Steve Edwards said...

Thanks. It's done. Let me know if you have any more questions. It's going to be great. You should do it for sure!

Lisa Romney said...

We're strategizing on better signage for next spring, and perhaps starting a permanent signage process with County government. Anyone should be able to find and ride this route any time! (especially the short version :-))

psychenaut said...

Had an awesome time. Feel better this morning than I have a right to, for sure. Loved the climbing and the majestic views. I might need to do a slower version of the short one with a group soon-ish. Need to check out Blue Star early in the morning as well!

Thanks again, Steve. It was nice getting out for a ride with a bunch of new people!


Steve Edwards said...

Thanks, Ryan,

Great meeting you. Not sore or anything today, either, though I wasn't hammering the way you were. It was great. Harder than I expected on the whole, but that's a good thing, right? Catch you on your Friday night ride one of these days, or down at Blue Star. Their weekend breakfast is off the hook, so check that out for sure.

Sean Bergeson said...

Thanks again for organizing the Ronde, had a great time. I've posted the few pictures I took on the ride, and looking back wish I took more. They are on my photostream here -

Look forward to next Spring and trying to make it past mile 80!

Thanks again....