Photos by Jesse Burke
During the height of the summer of 2008, the Rapha Continental did what turned out to be a hellishly beautiful ride in the hills surrounding Litchfield, Connecticut. Little did we know that these same hills (combined with more than a few gravel roads) would become the East Coast’s 2010 version of the Rapha Gentleman’s Race. While last years edition saw the overtaking of New Paltz, NY in a fashion that surprised many with its idyllic landscapes and extended climbing, the word on the street this year was “gravel.”
To say that everything went off “without a hitch” would be an understatement. Aside from a few flat tires and more than a few tired souls, there is not much more that could make for a perfect day on the bicycle. Combined team efforts along the way — pushing, pulling and generally working together — added a necessary element to a racing equation that it sometimes lacking in this department. Besides, if it takes two extra hands to ensure that everyone finishes together, then is that not the name of the game?
There were also a few surprises along the way, one of which was a bagpipe specialist at the finish line. The second came when the sun had gone down and the last team was rolling in via tandem, suddenly, without warning the sky exploded with a display of fireworks that seemed all for them. From the looks on their headlamp-lit faces, they were just as surprised as we, and while no one could discern what the fireworks meant, it only added to the delight of everyone around.
During the week that has passed we have received all manner of compliments as well as bids for next years course. There has even been the slightest rumblings of an autumn version? However, the best compliments usually come in the form of an experience. How cyclists relate to one another, more often than not, is through the mutual expression of pain. So, it should not come as a surprise that one of the best quotes of the day came from the Eastmans Team Captain. He turned, just as he was heading towards his car, glancing slightly over his shoulder to look from whence their team had come and said “Thanks for the suffering.”
1: The Eastmans 7hrs 43min
2: Embrocation Racing 6:40
3: Bicycle Therapy 7:25
4: HUP UNITED 8:15
5: Rapha Racing NYC 8:00
6: Rapha Continental 8:17
7: Geekhouse Bikes 9:23
8: Seven Cycles 9:38
9: Fifth Street Cross 9:45
10: Independent Fabrication 10:10
11: Bilenky Cycle Works 10:55 (all tandems)
12: Adler *Finished a man down 7:15
13: Pedro’s *Finished a man down 7:30
14: BH/Garneu *Finished a man down 7:34
Other reports from the bike have been trickling in as well — one from Bilenky Tandem Team rider Jed Kornbluh on the Bilenky Cycleworks Blog. And another from the Embrocation Racing Team which contains a few details of their exploits as well.
Brian Vernor and Jesse Burke covered the photography end of things while Stebs and Justin from Paper Fortress provided the official video documentation on the day. Stay tuned the first week of July for a full story, photo treatment and video for your viewing pleasure.