The Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day (RAMROD) is a one-day ultra-marathon cycling event in the Pacific Northwest. It circumnavigates Mount Rainier National Park on a course that features 10,000 feet of climbing over 150 miles.
If RAMROD were a stage in the Tour de France how would the climbs be categoriezed? There are rules for the categories, but they are a little subjective. At 150 miles, I think RAMROD is longer than any mountain stage in the TdF, but in terms of the climbing portion of the ride inside Mount Rainier National Park how would the climbs be categorized?
Also, are there any mountain stages in the Tour de France that are the equivalent of RAMROD? I ask because I'm writing an article about and would like to be able to compare the climbing in RAMROD to a TdF stage that readers might be familiar with.
There are two big climbs, Inspiration Point and Cayuse Pass. Between those climbs is one small climb up Backbone Ridge. For more information about RAMROD, please see the Course Information page on the Redmond Cycling Club's website.
In the book CLIMB! Conquer Hills, Get Lean, and Elevate Every Ride, author Selene Yeager describes the Tour de France climb categorizations as follows:
- Category 4: These are relatively short and not too steep. This would include a climb that’s about a mile to a mile-and-a-quarter long at a 5-percent grade or one that is twice that long at a 2- to 3-percent grade.
- Category 3: These are a little steeper or a little longer. For instance, it could be a mile-long climb that includes pitches at 10 percent or a 5- to 6-mile climb that grinds away at 4 to 5 percent.
- Category 2: Here’s where stuff gets pretty hard. You’re looking at a 9- to 10-mile climb at about 4 percent or a climb that’s a third of the distance but twice as steep.
- Category 1: Formerly known as the highest category of climb, Cat 1s include anything from 5 miles at a leg-buckling 8 percent to a dozen miles of soul-sucking 5 percent.
- Hors Catégorie: French for stupid hard, or “above category,” these behemoths are a quad-searing mix of long and steep, which could be a 6-mile climb with an average grade of 7 to 8 percent or a 15-mile monster that turns the screws at 6 percent or steeper.
In the 2022 edition of the Tour de France, Stage 16, Carcassonne to Foix, seems to be the closest analogy to RAMROD. It’s one hundred twelve miles long and has two major climbs, Port de Lers and the Mur de Péguère, with a total elevation gain of around ten thousand feet. But, it is considered a hilly stage as opposed to a mountain stage. Are there any mountain stages from any year of the Tour de France that are comparable to RAMROD?