Rapha Women’s Prestige 2014

would you like a full run by run recap of yesterdays Rapha Womens unsanctioned, self supported, bike race? i.e. Rapha Womens Prestige. Route here: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/4480778

Rapha Prestige 2014 route + elevation (10,076ft of climbing)

Rapha Prestige 2014 route + elevation (10,076ft of climbing)

TL;DR
I did what I could in all the strength that I carried, and we freaking DID IT. I am more than ecstatic to be a part of Team Gruppetto as we all struggled hardcore that day, but everyone was so uplifting when we all needed it.

 

Course: 107 miles, 10,067 feet of climbing (so says my garmin), at a much faster pace than I have ever done on such a long distance with that degree of difficulty. The first dirt section had been cut from the course (we don’t know why yet) the morning of, and the second dirt section at mile 90-ish marker we were told we weren’t allowed inside the park because that area had seen over 100 bikers already, and Rapha didn’t have permit for all of us to come through there (honestly at that point I was praising Jesus as we were all tired as F). We still did 107 miles somehow though.

 

Conditions: Chillyish start, PERFECT day in terms of weather honestly it was never too hot or cold.
Windy as hell near the end.

 

Race: Oh goodness, I asked one of my teammates prior to doing this “we’re not racing racing this, right?” and she confirmed no we aren’t racing. but good lord yes we were! we made sure to time all of our stops, and I barely had time to think let alone pee. near the end we were more chillax as we realized we were almost done and it’s not like we were nearing the cut off times or in competition for 1st place.
in the beginning teams would pass us (including the team that won, CONGRATS Bethany & Victoria’s Secret Sauce the winning team!!), only a few, but some of my teammates were trying to keep up with them, we surged way too much and kept splitting all up. I had enough and sped up and told the front ladies to stop doing that, this is a 107 mile ride and we aren’t racing at THEIR pace, we are doing our OWN. they understood, but there was still a lot of splitting up and just MAJOR physical strength differences with all my teammates which made it…interesting. we still somehow managed to really work together and stay together when it mattered though. I was definitely the weakest link in my group, which i felt terrible for. Mei San was so generous and would pace with me on some of the climbs i struggled at (Morgan Territory + Diablo). that helped a BUNCH in keeping my spirits up. what good is it anyway in being way far ahead of your group, and watching that last person struggle up the hill? I mean at least have 1 person stay with you, imo. stragglers always need the mental support whether you believe it or not. shout out to Erin too for pushing me when I needed it, and mentally being there at the end when i was CRANK-Y.
 anyways…I was just not prepared or a raceish pace, 107 miles and that much climbing. I was asked last-minute to join this ride, like 1.5 weeks in advance so I had no preparation physically. I also had stupid stomach pinches in the beginning (MRI fucked my stomach up royally, i noticed it does on hard efforts. as a pre drink its ok, during? No.) felt like i was going to puke at mile 90, but thank god for antacid chews. also i felt it so hard to stomach food in general, I REALLY really cannot do Clif bars, or any packaged bars. wrapped vegetarian burritos were LIFE SAVERS my lovely SAG Jennifer made. and that donut Yuriy got for me from the Rapha coffee area in the morning I ate after Diablo, why are pastries/sweets/candy/soda the only thing I can stomach on centuries?? Coke is also a life saver.

 

What could’ve gone better: Sticking together a lot more, less surging, more looking behind and making sure your teammates are even WITH you before hauling ass.
in terms of RAPHA themselves– they could’ve talked with the park rangers and figured that dirt stuff out in ADVANCE, i dunno. as much as i was thanking god we didn’t have to do the dirt, i kind of wish we did. other people were  bummed we didn’t get to as well. also, we each got food tickets for the food truck after the race, me and about 10 other people had been waiting in line for like 20-30 minutes (while i could see others cutting but whatever i knew i was getting my food at some point), and LITERALLY as i was about to order, one of the  Rapha reps told everyone in the entire line that the food truck was going to stop taking orders as they only had the truck until 5pm, and it was 5:05pm. “are you fucking kidding me??? then what was this ticket stub for we got in the morning??” Honey, dude, you dont mess with a horde of hungry tired women cyclists. other people expressed their anger with cussing and the Rapha dude was nice enough to redeem himself and offer everyone dinner at the close by tofu hut (or whatever that place was), still. WTF? put a SIGN on the food truck or those little ticket stubs saying ONLY GOOD UP UNTIL 5PM. ya know? Grumble. that’s it really, in complaints of the entire thing.

 

What went well: Sticking together when it really mattered, no one truly cracked to the point of literally giving up and calling it quits. they could’ve easily as we had 2 SAG cars. one teammate Marisa was saying after Diablo how horrible her cramps were getting and she honestly didn’t know how much longer she could go. She finished it though! I cracked on top of Diablo, felt ashamed I was holding my team back, and started crying, but I centered my focus, ate a donut, and carried on. BTW no other team ever was rude to us either, everyone was supportive!
& now onto the fun photos!

morning of was SO hectic, barely time to think and gather my thoughts. lots of hustle and bustle.

if you know me, I am a pro at taking photos a lot during rides. but we were riding this at such a pace it was impossible to stop and take photos, not to mention i was HURTIN’ 80% of the time.

mile 32. rest stop for a quick bite to eat, refill waters, then go-go-go!

flying down Morgan Territory. the pavement was pretty much shite and you really had to watch your line. not something I am used to.

 

our last stop, mile 90-ish? to stop and urinate at an actual bathroom (not some random bush), eat some food, water, chamois cream reapply etc. THANK YOU again to our 2 awesome SAG friends–Yuriy & Jennifer. LIFE SAVERS!

here is where the drama happened. we were told by park rangers we were NOT allowed in the last challenge of the day–the dirt section! we waited here for a good 20 minutes until the Rapha people came and talked with about 7 cop/cars and we were confirmed to turn around and just finish up the race. Apparently Rapha had no permit to let all of us in that park, and the park rangers had no clue who was in and didn’t want to be liable for anyones injuries, etc,. rumor has it 5 teams wound up not doing this part.

wound up running into a teammate! there was 4 of us out there doing this ride. (note: I am not in my team kit. I also changed tops from the WCA kit to a plain one a this white one was more breathable as it got hotter that day)

one of my ex Team Velo Girls teammate, Tiina was out there crushing it this year again!

one of the last photos i got from the day, the huge downhill at the end there (but not before another gigantic uphill!) my Gruppetto teammate Meisin there flyin with me

can you believe it? WE DID IT. so happy! left to right: Crystal Harpstreit, Meisin Yan, myself, Erin Sorani, Marisa Strong, Barbara Greening.

THANK YOU http://www.pamelapalma.com for this photo of us!

THANK YOU http://www.pamelapalma.com for this photo of us!

we all pretty much deserved a 6 pack after this. one sufficed though 🙂 THANK YOU Crystal for inviting me to this party, and Rapha for hosting it.

 

that nights fortune cookie, HA! too good.

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