Here's Rapha's take on the fabulous Gentlemen's Race they put on in New Paltz last month. The five minute film is a hoot and the images on their website make the world look just a bit more beautiful and weird than it ususally does in only the way an expert photographer (or photo editor) can. Keep your eye's peeled for our signature green Bicycle Depot jerseys. It was truly a day to remember and it will probably be some time before I race in an event that sports its own film and camera crews. It was an honor to participate, a thrill to take second place and a hell of a lot of fun to ride.
Each of the teams was asked to send in a ride report. You can read them all at this link. Here's ours:
It all began on one of our regular Saturday morning rides in mid-April. When Mike shared the news that Rapha planned to stage a Gentlemen’s Race in New Paltz, it sounded too good to be true. A 200K race in our backyard with strong riders from across the East Coast? As the local boys (ex-locals for some), we knew these roads like the backs of our hands, but it was the first time that this team of six would ride together.
The climb up 44/55 went by fairly painlessly, and so too the rollers up to the base of Sugarloaf (some locals have dubbed it Pinch-a-loaf). Up until this point we were having a good time sitting on Danny’s wheel; chatting and screwing around a bit, but for better or worse we all knew what was in store. The hardest climb of the day broke a couple of us more than the others but the food and water at the summit was a big bonus.
The top of the Frost Valley climb prompted the now famous, “wounded animal” quote about the sounds one of our riders was making, but the descent off the backside was just dessert. In hindsight, stopping at the deli was probably a bit of a waste of time since the next good chunk went by very quickly as did just about everything until the base of Mohonk.
The final climb showed us for what we were: A mismatched bunch of locals who thought this race sounded like fun…almost six hours earlier. The 90 degree heat wore on us and though some of us climbed with no signs of fatigue, others fought back tossing Hostess Fruit Pie (apple) all over the road. Still, we all made it with some semblance of grace and were inspired to get this thing over with. We half expected one of the stronger teams to come rushing past us in the final trudge up Route 299, but it was not to be.
As the horses started to smell the barn, the skies opened up and we got some well-earned relief from the heat. With the rain, headaches disappeared, sore backs and legs felt new again - riding was truly fun for the first time in a while and with only Empire Cycling in front of us, it looked like the beer was staying in New Paltz this year.