Friday, January 26, 2018

Ronde de Rosey Q&A

A proper Ronde de Rosey Q&A with the man has been a long time coming. With this spring-like weather in the NECX it felt the time was right. So here follows my lame questions and Rosey's awesome answers

1. What inspired you to put on a “Ronde”?
I'd been commuting from Boston out to Watertown and Waltham for 5+ years and had some great dirt roads and under utilized trail options that I took to get off the road as much as possible.  Every spring, people were stressing to register early and paying $50+ to go ride a few dirt roads in nowhere New York.  I wanted to create something in Boston that encourage people to stay local and take advantage of the hidden gems they'd been missing while out on their training rides.  I also liked the idea of getting out on the cross bike in April as opposed to only Sep-Dec.  I had done a few Rapha Gentlemen's Races and decided to adopt the team format.  

2. What is the “Ronde”?
The Ronde is an adventure on bicycles.  I used the hashtag #getlost in the past and I think that still holds true.  We start and finish at the Washington Square Tavern, but you can expect at some point between start and finish to #getlost.  Every year I add something new, something that I hope makes the riders say "wow, that was cool, I never knew that was so close to Boston!"  But I also hope riders are humbled by the adventure.  I keep the route a secret until just a few days before the event.  Partially to add suspense, and partially because I'm looking for more adventure until the very last moment.

3. What is the weirdest thing that has happened on a Ronde?
The first year I ran the event, Garmins were still a new concept and the idea of following a GPS track on your bike was definitely not the norm so I went out the week before and starting marking the course.  Spray paint on the road for turns, pink ribbon in the woods to draw attention to turns.  Well apparently the pink ribbons were not well received and someone or some group had taken a bunch of them down on Friday or Saturday.  I only learned of this because I caught the lead groups in the woods early on and they were not able to tell which way to go.  I had to remark 50% of the course during the event.  It was stressful! 

4. How has the use of technology changed rides like the Ronde?
The first version had a cue sheet with something like 60 or more turn points.  Things like "take a right at the chopped down tree."  I had to spray paint route markers for some of the trail entries from the roads too because almost all of the trails were unknown to people and there was no way riders would notice the singletrack entry while cruising at 20mph on the road.  #getlost was not a concept, we didn't explore. 

5. What do you think is the best bike to ride on the Ronde?
The best bike is the one that you want to ride on singletrack, trails, and roads for 6 hours.  I've done the routes on my cross bike, single speed mtb, and single speed cx bike.  The original routes were probably best suited to a traditional geared cx bike (partly because that's what everyone had back then).  The newer routes are good for a 29er or a disc cx bike with 40mm tires.  I think my favorite choice is a single speed cx bike with 40mm tires.

6. What is your favorite beer?
Depends on the season.  Since it's winter, I'd say a good stout like Long Trail Unearthed: 

7. What team has overcome the most adversity and finished the Ronde?
 Oh man, I think Cort Cramer and his Svelte Team had a squad that tore a derailleur off, diverted off course to pick up a pit bike, got back on course, broke a chain, had a few flats, and still finished with smiles. 

8. What is the secret to riding the Ronde?
Leave your attitude and selfishness at the door.  If you don't like to deal with adversity, you shouldn't come.  I think the Geekhouse squad had the best mantra - cat 1 for fun.  

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