FILM: Kintaro Studios
Southern Highlands, NSW
20 teams started and all 20 finished the second Australian Rapha Gentlemen’s Race. A testament to the preparation, commitment and teamwork of each group of riders, it was another thrilling adventure.
Taking place in the beautiful Southern Highlands, just 90 minutes drive south of Sydney, the teams set off from the historic town of Berrima at a three minute stagger with the fastest six (by reputation) setting off last.
Being unsanctioned, unmarshalled and unsupported, a Gentlemen’s Race (also open to gentlewomen) is meant to extend the boundaries of the road race into a more exploratory and chivalrous realm of competition. New roads and a sense of the unknown filled most riders on the start line with tension and nervous chatter.
The hilly 120km course in New South Wales was plotted to explore the challenging and varied terrain. The quiet country lanes and undiscovered villages and settlements, such as Berrima, Bowral, Kangaloon and Moss Vale that make up the Southern Highlands, made for an intriguing but testing voyage.
However, Bellmore Falls, nestled within the Highlands rainforest, was arguably the ‘queen’ sector of the course. The falls themselves tumble dizzily down to the valley floor. Riders traversed the creek above the falls with vim and vigour, oblivious to the 80 metre drop below them.
The race was a chance to ride hard with friends, form new bonds and support each other over a tough parcours. Swapping stories and enjoying beers after crossing the finish line was a perfect conclusion.