Here’s a recipe for some weekend fun in the saddle: take an old world cycling event, bring it to the Roanoke Valley, extend it to impossible extremes, and give it the catch phrase “The toughest group road ride in the history of Virginia.” Sounds like a blast right? That is the aim of the aptly named Star City Vicious Randonnee. The Randonnee cycling event got its start in France and Italy in the 19th century when day-long sports aimed at challenging the body and mind became popular. Must have been all the absinthe flowing in those days. Similar to a Gran Fondo, a Randonnee event features long distances, big climbs, and groups of riders. Although it is technically a race, there is no emphasis on finishing placement, just finishing, so that gives you an idea of what you are getting yourself into. The Suiride route covers over 115 miles and 14 rated climbs totaling over 15,000 feet of climbing along a mix of pavement, gravel, dirt, and singletrack. Oh yeah, did I mention the whole thing is unsupported? I didn’t? The whole thing is unsupported.
Fortunately, you don’t have to commit to the Suiride route to participate in this friendly group ride. There are shorter options in the Vicious route (96 miles, 12,389 feet of climbing), the Gran route (69 miles, 8,858 feet of climbing), the Medio route (38 miles, 5,292 feet of climbing), the Challenge route (25 miles, 3,251 feet of climbing), and the Prologue route (12.5 miles, 1,372 feet of climbing). All rides leave promptly at 9am Sunday, August 18, from the East Coasters Bike Shop in Roanoke. Last year, two riders completed the Suiride route.
You may be signing up for a punishing day of riding, but there is a silver lining to the whole thing: it’s free. So hope on the bike and head for the hills around Roanoke this weekend for some punishment in the company of the likeminded.