Be careful what you wish for. It’s a saying that comes to mind when talking about racing the Rapha Gentlemen’s Race. Last month’s race was made especially difficult with temperatures topping 101º, putting even the strongest riders into risk of blowing up early and often. When you’re racing as a unit of six, being able to rely on and look after one another is a huge part of the equation. So it was possibly easier in some ways to be the two solo racers that were the ‘race within the race’. For the first time of the Gent’s Race we allowed two professional racers to battle it out as individuals on the day. Jason Sager (Team Jamis) had been asking to race it since the inaugural event three years ago and Ryan Trebon (Kona-FSA) just happened to ask about doing it on just the right (or wrong, depending on current p.o.v.) day. So this year we opted to let them have at a man v. man race.
While more than one team watched as a single teammate was cursed with eight-plus flats—one team having a combined thirteen flats for the day—they watched from the side of the road as Jason and Ryan flew over the rocks and roads seemingly unscathed. Jason started behind Ryan on the stagger, bouncing through team after team until catching and riding with Ryan for just long enough to get a sense of the big man’s shape. Pulling away to victory, Sager finished the entire route in 7:15 an impressive 39-minutes faster than Ryan and a full hour-and-a-half quicker than the fastest team time of the day. A time gap made especially impressive because Jason and Ryan raced nearly ten miles more than any of the teams on the day because we cut the race down to ensure teams would make it to the finish line celebration at all.
Congratulations to Jason and to the women of Veloforma, who returned this year a more unified squadra to deliver the first overall victory for an all-women’s team.