Rapha Prestige

Margaret River

On October 29th 20 teams of riders set off on a taxing 175km route along the trails, tarmac and single track around Margaret River, in Western Australia. From life-long racers, to those new to cycling, the groups were diverse and the challenges came in many forms – from wind, to extreme heat and altitude. But the aim throughout was the same – to start and finish together, as a team.

Cape Naturaliste is a place of stunning natural beauty. Famous for it’s wine and mixture of surfing and family beaches, Margaret River and Dunsborough shared the top billing as hosts of Prestige Margaret River.
Sixteen teams gathered in the heart of Dunsborough. The weather gods had turned in anger and filled the downcast sky with threatening clouds and swirling westerly winds.
Rolling out in one of the teams was Doug Willing. At 75 years old he has hardly missed a day's riding in his life. Having only recently retired from racing, Doug shared his stories throughout the day with all the teams.
Teams were greeted with many gravel roads. Pink arrows guided riders down the Cape to Cape path, through blooming wildflowers and native bush.
Heading back through the peninsular, stunning beaches, rolling hills, and kangaroo-filled groves made it hard to keep one’s eyes on the road. Teams were starting to gather and regroup but as soon as one caught back on another would slip away, the hilly terrain making it tough for many.
The teams worked their way south, through the lush and mighty Howard Park Winery, onto the first of many pea gravel roads.
It became a magnificent day of teams ebbing and flowing, working together and helping each other out.
Continuing toward the most southwest corner of Australia, riders entered a glorious canopy of gum trees towering above the Margaret River Heritage Rail Trail. The old railway line runs into the heart of Margaret River.
The Brewhouse Margaret River played host to a fine, unexpected lunch at the 100km mark. The heavens opened up and the cyclists gathered in the warmth of the restaurant and brewery and gorged themselves on pizzas, roast chicken and tacos.
Heading out of Margaret River the route took the intrepid cyclists through single track open pastures, more gravel roads, skirting alongside the famous Leeuwin Estate Winery before turning north for home.
A fast downhill run into Geographe Bay and the ringing of the ship bell outside the Pour House pub signalled the end of a gruelling but a truly epic and rewarding 175km ride through the beautiful playground of West Australia’s wine estates, forests and beaches.
The wind had forced echelons to form throughout the journey south but on the run for home it became the riders' best friend, pushing them with haste towards the finish line.
Pizzas, beer, musettes and Prestige caps greeted each participant as they rolled back into town to celebrate a day of camaraderie off and on the bike.