Words: Guest Author | Date:
The Rapha Continental began in 2007, driven by the idea to discover, or perhaps rediscover, the lost art of cycling. Too many riders that we knew had started to lose sight of why we love to ride, slipping into a racer’s mentality and putting our focus on measuring watts, counting calories and doing ‘efforts’. Don’t get me wrong, many of us excitedly pin numbers to our jerseys and line up each week but we’d reached a point where somehow the ends didn’t seem to justify the means.
Now in our fifth year, the main sensation that we, the ‘non-team’ of riders known as the Rapha Continental, have encountered, is wonderment. When the goal of a ride is about the experience instead of the speed or the distance, it changes everything.
It seems an obvious statement but it’s one that is easily forgotten with the fast pace of life, work and family. The 60-plus adventures we have ridden across the country have been a constant reminder that something spectacular happens when you mix hard riding, good friends, beautiful surroundings and punishing roads.
The communities we have temporarily become part of as we have ridden through them have given us memories we would never have had if we hadn’t passed through them on bicycles, or if we hadn’t been open to the notion that a good conversation was more important than getting in before dark.
We didn’t create this style of riding. In fact, we’ve been inspired by hundreds of like-minded cyclists we’ve met on roads all across the country. To a man (or woman), they are riders who have a penchant for gravel, who delight in a local’s tale, and who share our appetite to push the boundaries of distance and ability.
On some occasions we’ve had the pleasure of riding alongside them; on others, we’ve exchanged a simple nod and wave as we pass by. Whether we rode alone, tackling the route of the Amgen Tour of California, or whether we joined the ranks of the best organized rides we could find, the goal was always to be part of, to help create, a story worth telling. And that, I suppose, is the point of it all.
The Rapha Continental Movie is an account of our travels through 2010, made by, and with, friends. For inspiration and information about the most beautiful rides in North America that we will continue to ride this summer, follow us here. Next up is the new Colorado Pro Race and the BC Grand Fondo. Join us.