“Difficulty-wise, the Ramble Ride isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s every man or woman for themselves.” -Amanda Delcore.
Every year we tell riders the events are hard. Don’t let the “supported” moniker fool you. The roads are long, steep and desolate. You’ll be challenged even if you consider yourself accomplished on a bicycle. You’re still carrying gear. You’re still riding 200 miles over an average of 20K feet of climbing. On gravel.
Every year I tell riders about the difficulty and every year at least five folks say “I didn’t believe you”. Here’s a bit of real-talk: don’t come on the rides if you haven’t been riding. As much as I want you to, don’t. If you can’t ride 75 miles to 100 miles at a time, it’ll be hard and you won’t enjoy yourself. 10 mph is the golden mean that each Ramble Ride seems to confirm. That means 8-10 hours a day on a bike including stops. Challenging but not undoable. Summer events have the benefit of hours of light. Fall events not so much. Keep that in mind. We do have one new rule in 2018 though: two hours from dinner (typically 6 pm), vehicles push forward and sweep everyone more than 20 miles from the end. This is for safety and to ensure we’re all in camp for the evening at a decent hour.
I like to say that the ride is individual time. The camp is community time. We do everything we can to ensure your personal ride is challenging but safe and that you make it to camp with enough energy to enjoy it. In 2017 over 200 riders took part with smiles and high fives at the end. If they can do it, you can too.
In general, rides are Thursday through Saturday. The exception is Asheville which runs Sunday through Tuesday (because of leaf peeping traffic on the Parkway, we want to avoid the weekend). Rider meetings and check-in are the evening before and typically last a few hours. During event communications, we’ll let you know about camping, accommodations, parking, etc. Oregon and Asheville are round trips. Steamboat and Fort Collins are point-to-point.
Oregon Ramble. Starts and stops in Prineville, looping through the Ochoco National Forest. The first night is primitive camping. The second night is in Mitchell at the Spoke’n Hostel. Pat and Jalet are wonderful hosts and we love staying here. You will too (and haircuts!) . Beds are first-come-first-served but there is plenty of floor space and camp area on the property. If you know Oregon, you know about “Juneuary”. In 2017 we had sun, rain, and snow. This is the one event where you’ll want to make sure you have rain gear and some warm items. Just in case. Camping is provided in Prineville at the fairgrounds but there are other accommodations should you want. Central Oregon is a gem. I love it here and the route is stellar. Day one is longer and different than last year. Day two is nearly the same, but day three does add some additional gravel miles. See the whole route and ride information here.
Steamboat Ramble. Starts in Fort Collins and ends in Steamboat Springs. Sunday, shuttles take riders back to Fort Collins. This is the classic Ramble route though in 2018 we’re changing it up. It’s longer and tougher with additions on day two and three. The first night we camp in Red Feather at a standard campground. The second night, we’re in Walden and back to everyone’s favorite Stockman Bar. The third night we stay in the KOA in Steamboat Springs along the Yampa River. End of ride festivities and dinner will be held here this year. Saturday night, you’re free to go out on the town. But don’t miss the shuttle back to Fort Collins on Sunday which departs around 11 am. See the whole route and ride information here.
Fort Collins Ramble. We had to give our hometown some love. So this ride starts in Steamboat Springs and ends in Fort Collins. We’ll follow the classic route but in reverse with a little extra on day one as we make our way to Walden. The second night we’re back in Red Feather and the last night in Fort Collins. The Fall colors should be at their peak for this ride. It’s going to be spectacular. Thursday, we’ll shuttle everyone the three hours to Steamboat Springs. We’ll leave at 4 pm, giving us plenty of time to get to Steamboat and set up for the evening. See the whole route and ride information here.
Asheville Ramble. Possibly the hardest route. Elevation gains aren’t the same, but the climbs come one right after the other and are steep. You won’t feel cheated by the shorter course. But, classic North Carolina. Beautiful Blue Ridge riding on nearly all the gravel roads Pisgah National Forest has to offer. Bucolic farm roads. Steep climbs and amazing views from the Parkway. This ride runs Sunday through Tuesday to minimize exposure to traffic on the Parkway. The first night we camp at the Bike Farm in Brevard. The second night at a private campground which is as down-homey South as you can get. This ride is very special to me after living in this area for over fourteen years. I was stoked to share this route in 2017 and even more stoked to share it with you this year. See the whole route and ride information here.
A note about Ventura. If you follow the Ramble Ride on social media, you know we were in the middle of scouting a ride in partnership with the city of Ventura. The route was awesome but sadly, just three weeks after finalization, the entire area was engulfed by the Thomas Creek fire. Over half of the route was burned. Luckily, the campsites were spared but the community was ravaged. We obviously needed to cancel for 2018 and will assess 2019 when the time comes. Our hearts go out to our partners and friends in Ventura. We’ll be back.