Posted by: marissaridesbikes | April 16, 2012

Ride Report: Rapha Women’s Prestige

Our newest teammate, Elle Anderson, rode the inaugural Rapha Women’s Prestige event, based in San Francisco on Saturday, April 7th. Please enjoy Elle’s blog entry, highlighting her experience in this incredible endurance event!

Team Strava at Rapha Women's Prestige

At the start line, and ready for the 114 mile adventure. Left to right, Vanessa, Maria, Elle, Helena, Starla, Lea.

On Saturday April 7th, I participated in the first women’s only iteration of the infamous Rapha race events – this one called the Rapha Women’s Prestige. This is the perfect kind of Rapha creation, fitting into their hard-core branding and true “classic” cycling style. I didn’t wear a wool jersey, smoke cigarettes/drink while riding, or ride helmet-less, but this event certainly reminded me of the historic days of cycling and racing.

This Rapha event is structured around teams of 6 riders, all female, and is completely self-supported. You fix your own flats, bring your own food, and select your own places to stop and fill up on water, etc. Oh, and I almost forgot – the route is not only unmarked, but also 114 miles with nearly 10,000 feet of climbing. Definitely a prospect to keep you up at night leading up to the Event.

I led the team riding for Strava.com, where I work. The roster turned out to be pretty impressive, but also diverse. I convinced my friend Helena to join, and at the time that I asked her, her longest ride EVER was 60 miles. She has recently picked up cycling, and I don’t know why she agreed to ride 114 miles with me, but she definitely has an adventurous spirit. Also on the team was Maria (a cyclocross/mountain biker); professional mountain biker, Olympic hopeful, and Strava Ambassador Lea Davison, and two professional road racers from Team Vanderkitten-Focus– Touchstone alum Vanessa Drigo and also Starla Teddergreen.

Team Strava climbing out of a valley during the Rapha Women's Prestige.

Team Strava's Vanessa, Elle, and Starla (from right to left) climbing out of a valley during the Rapha Women's Prestige.

All in all, this was an amazing event. I had no idea that 114 miles could pass with such great team spirit, team work, and laughs. Certainly a testament to our great team chemistry, but Rapha also put on a great event. Lots of positive energy and well organized.

Team Strava crushing some Northern California climbs.

The team out on the road, crushing the popular Alpine Dam climb. The Rapha Women's Prestige featured nearly 10,000 feet of climbing in 114 miles.

Without setting out to do so (our only goals were to get through the day and have fun) we tied for 2nd place in the event overall. The winning team–from Portland, Oregon–won by almost 30 minutes, but I guarantee they didn’t have nearly as much fun as we had.

Finished!

The team toasting at the end of a great day at the Rapha Cycle Club. From left to right, Starla, Elle, Maria, Lea, Vanessa and Helena. The team finished a strong second place at the Inaugural Rapha Women's Prestige Event.

With all those great base miles in my legs, I’m looking forward to a great race season!

-Elle

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