Monday, June 1, 2009

Rapha Gentlemen's Race

Last weekend (May 23rd and 24th) we participated in a unique event. Clothing company Rapha hosted a wide range of regional teams to participate in a team time trial style race in New Paltz area of New York, up into the Catskill mountains. It was a phenomenal ride and we got to connect with many friends, including Embrocation founder Jeremy Dunn, who has been traveling the country as a rider for the Rapha Continental team.

Bradshaw got some good little bits of video from the ride - really the most important parts:
- The Rapha team departing for the ride
- The spotting of the day's first lawn ball
- Us getting dropped by Empire
- Pete Smith getting a puncture caused by a fragment of an unidentified animal's skull
- In the paceline with the Continental team
- Finding our way back onto the course after missing a turn. Oops.

Lawn Ball! Red! from Peter Bradshaw on Vimeo.

Each team started with six riders. Slate Olsen, in charge of Rapha USA and this race, had seeded teams with various start times by their perceived strength. In other words, slower teams started first with various time gaps to the faster teams - first team to complete the 120 mile loop were declared the winners.

We fielded 5 of our team riders: Peters Smith and Bradshaw, Jay, Josh and me plus Matt Roy, a guest rider with Embrocation and a long-distance race specialist. Our team started in the last wave alongside the Empire team our of NYC. To make a long story short, they dropped us in the first 10 miles - they went on to pass every other team on the course and finished first, winning themselves some pretty nice looking Rapha jerseys for doing so.

While our race wasn't really competitive, we did get 120 of the nicest miles I've ever done. With winding back roads, great views, solid climbs and technical descents the course Rapha had designed for us was beautiful and challenging. After one of the main climbs we caught up with the Rapha Continental team, who we joined with for the remainder of the ride. Justin Spinelli of Svelte Cycles was a guest rider on the Continental squad and has a good blog post on this ride as well and yes we did leave them after the last checkpoint and yes, they did beat us anyway. Serves us right.

Rapha rented a house in the hills outside New Paltz to serve as the start/finish and after-party venue. More than 100 hard miles, plus beer, plus fireworks = things your mom told you never to do.

It was one of the better weekends of cycling I've had and a good bonding experience for team Embrocation and a chance to catch up with some good friends in a light-hearted setting.
It was also nice to do a hard organized ride without worrying about the ultimate results. This weekend resulted in a lot of good pictures and other media, some of which will appear later on in this blog while others can be found on the Rapha Continental Site. Keep an eye on these guys and track the progress of Jeremy's quest for the perfect tan lines.


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