What is Dante's Ride??
This is a challenging recreational road bike course in Central New York south of Syracuse, which has a series of distinct hill climbs, averaging 3-11%, with steepest sections above 21%. The hills are between 0.6 to 7 mile long climbs. It has two "sides", East and West, and each side is about 70 miles and has nine component hills. The ride has been a cult interest of a group of local riders known as "Team Dante's", but more and more cyclists have been expressing an interest in this route.
It is a great training route. Many consider it hard, and some consider it "hard as hell"...
"Dante's" comes from "The Inferno", a classic written by Dante Alighieri c1300AD about his version of what Hell might look like. On the main gate is inscribed these words" Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here". He describes his vision of the nine concentric "circles of hell", at the center of which resides Satan himself. This ride has hill climbs which by some accounts loosely resemble these nine circles, nine to each east and West "side". We have yet to find Satan anywhere on this magnificent course.
"In the interest of historical accuracy...
You get the picture now.
See below for the route directions, and the maps and profiles.
First of all, there has been a lot of recent increasing buzz about these rides.... mostly, "What the hell is this ride?", "Why would one do this?", and "Can I do this?", "Is my bike right?", etc. Just show up and try, and learn. I hope everyone shows up who has even considered this. You will not be disappointed. You will see average grades of >10% on some of these hills, and max grades to 21+%, again and again! You can do one hill, a few, or many, or all, fast or slow, it does not matter. It will grow on you. "Dante's" has grown piecemeal with additions to Tom's concept resulting from brainstorms from the likes of Gordon Stevens, Jon Loftus, Mike Zipprich, and myself and others. Four of us have done the whole thing in one day: including John Cico, Chris Murphy, and Dan McCarthy ("Team Dante's"), and these were long epic rides, like the "The Long Walk" at times (with lots of muttering, Gatorade, bananas, Gu, rainstorms, broken chains, and punctures). These rides trained us well for other rides like the Highlander (http://www.highlandercycletour.com/), Triple Bypass (http://www.teamevergreen.org/triple) and Death Ride (https://www.deathride.com/), the Bumps Northeast Hillclimb Series (http://www.hillclimbseries.com/), and for Dan McCarthy, La Ruta de los Conquistadores (http://www.larutadelosconquistadores.com/info/) (he has done this event 11 times, tied with one other!). These are all big rides, but honestly, I think the Dante's route is as challenging, if not more so, than the others (but maybe not La Ruta: "the toughest mountain bike race in the world").
This course has been gradually assembled and grown over time, and it is a demanding giant now. But we usually do half (East or West) per day, often back to back days, so it is manageable, and does not mess with people's training schedules too much. Again, about 70 miles each day, and >6000' East 4.5 hours, and 7000' West 5 hours. These are ride times, and do not include breaks. When we do the whole thing, we usually start at 5-6am and do the West first; estimate 10-11 hours riding time. It is best to build up to this a little at a time, and in a piecemeal fashion.
An easy bail-out point if you drive to Alliance Bank is to continue down Peck Hill Road instead of the left on Palmer, continuing right on South Eagle Village, back to 173, left on 173 and left on Enders, back to Alliance Bank, and you still have done a very respectable ride of some 30 miles of three awesome hills: Gulf, 13-Carry's-Fenner, and Stanley!!
From the West, you can bail from the top of Frank Long Road, and descend down Sweet Road to Broadfield and Pompey Center Road, and back to Enders and back to Alliance and your car, or from Apulia Road South after coming down Eager, and climb back up Pompey Hill via 20 East to Palmer, and Clark Hollow, then to Newell Hill Road and finish down Henneberry and continue the tail of the West course.
Re: gearing: I know of some people, Kevin Hanlon and Chris Anklin come to mind, who did the harder West side with "normal gears": 39x25 (ratio 1.56). They suffered on the steeps, but they did it. Dodge, Frank Long, Case Hill, Ortloff, Newell, and Hitchings are bears with such gears (all with 21%+ sections), but they did it. If you want to make it easier, and if you do not have a triple (which makes it much more manageable), consider a compact (34x25 1.36, or 34x26 1.31), or a bigger cog in rear cassette, if possible (39x27 1.44, or 39x28 1.39). More recently, a young and enthusiastic Chris McCarthy showed up recently for the West course never even having even done 70 miles, "just to try a couple of hills and see...", and he did the entire West side with a tri bike and 39x23 gears (1.69)!! It merits mentioning that he was only 23 years old, and he seemed to have no idea what he was up against, which was probably a good thing. I offered to trade him some gears for some heartbeats on Case Hill Road but he seemed to be ignoring me at the time.
Overview of Dante's (hills in bold):
Dante's West (3.0): Manlius at Alliance Bank: Broadfield to Henneberry to 91 to Frank Long to Gates to 173 to Apulia to Coye-Eager to Apulia to Dodge to 20 to Hitchings to Kingsley to 80 to 20 to Case Hill to Cook to Barker to Otisco to Tully Farms to Webster to 11A to Ortloff-20 to Palmer to Clark Hollow to Newell Hill to Berry to Kelly to Berwyn to 20 to Henneberry to Brown Gulf to Watervale to Number 2 to Pompey Center to Alliance Bank...
Dante's East (4.0): Manlius at Alliance Bank: 92 to village to
North Street to Duguid to Rte. 5 to Gulf-Palmer to 173 to Dyke
to Olmstead to 13-Falls-Carrys Hill-Bear Swamp-Nelson-Larkin-Buyea
to East Road-Bingley to 13 to Rathbun to Stanley to Peth to
Peck Hill Road to Palmer to Route 92 south to Rte. 20 west to
Gulf to Oran Delphi Road to Rte. 20 east to 13 to Burlingame to
Cobb Hill Road to Dephi Falls to Number 5 to Pompey Center Road
to Number 4 to Cemetary to Henneberry to Number
2 to Pompey center Road to Alliance Bank...
The whole route, East and West (3.0):
Profiles of Dante's rides (Thanks John Evans):
Dante's West (3.0) Directions:
Dante's West (3.0) Map (Thanks John Evans):
Dante's West (3.0) Hills and Facts (Thanks John Evans):
Note: Dante's East recently was upgraded at the suggestion of John Evans, who noticed a "glaring flat spot", Pompey Hollow Road to Route 20, and also an obvious solution. We always thought the East side was "anemic", and John showed his Dante's qualifications by suggesting that the course be changed to add a hill up 92 to Cazenovia, then over 20 headed west (another small hill), and then descend back down to the intersection of 20 and Pompey Hollow and continue on the 3.0 version back up 20 West to Pompey, etc. This added about 600 feet and to keep the nine hill- nine "circles of hell" concept intact, rather than drop a hill, we merged the "mini" Number 4 Road Hill with Cemetary Road as one hill, the 8th of the West nine.
East side directions (v.4.0):
The East course still has 600' less climbing than the west side, and therefore, remains a kinder and gentler beast, but is also around 70 miles; 4 to 5 hours ride time (9 HILLS in CAPS):
92 to Manlius village,
right on Academy,
right on North St to Duguid to route 5 east (Fayetteville),
right on GULF-PALMER #1,
descend to Chittenango,
hard right at bottom on Dyke,
right on Olmstead,
right on 13,
left on Falls,
straight through four corners to Carrys Hill Rd (13-CARRYS HILL #2),
straight at top onto Bear Swamp Rd.,
left on Nelson then immediate right on Larkin (you are on Fenner Hill),
right on Buyea,
right on East, cross Nelson,
to Bingley (big descent) back down to right on 13,
back to Chittenango Falls,
left on Rathbun,
left on STANLEY #3,
through to right on East Lake Rd,
then immediate left on Peth,
right on Peck Hill Rd,
left on Palmer,
descend to left on RTE’s 92 (#4), to Cazenovia,
right onto 20 (up short hill then long down 20 EAST hill),
crossing Oran-Delphi climb up 20 WEST (#5),
left at top on Gulf,
descend to Oran-Delphi,
left on O-D Rd,
right onto 20 EAST #6,
up to Cazenovia, right on 13,
right on Burlingame to Cobb Hill Rd,
descend to right on Delphi Rd. and descend to Delphi Falls,
straight through to NUMBER 5 RD #7,
climb to top and right turn and still Number 5 at top,
descending to right on Pompey Center Rd,
left on NUMBER 4 / CEMETERY #8,
cross Ridge Rd at top and descend to right on Cemetery,
top out at Pompey Hill, cross 20 and long descent down Henneberry,
right on Brown Gulf,
descend to right on Watervale,
then quick left onto NUMBER 2 #9, last climb,
and descend to left on Pompey Center,
right on Enders,
STOP at 92, Alliance Bank on right.
Refuel at Delphi Falls if necessary, about 55 miles.
Dante's East (4.0) Map (Thanks John Evans):
Old Stats from Dante's version 2.0 (Thanks John Cico):
Questions: email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, Dan Wnorowski, Dante's Ride addict and caretaker.