I was invited to ride with the NSW team Bike Bar led by Trent Iliffe, Liam Kelly, Jeff Curtes, David Clarke and David Robb.
30 odd teams took up the challenge of the 2nd Australian Rapha Gentlemen’s Race held in Sydney. Teams set off in a staggered start from the country town of Berrima in the Northern Highlands with those expected to be fastest the last to leave.
We started on Scratch and it was clear from the get-go this was no ordinary line up of café racers. Rolling turns out of Berrima (a 2km climb averaging 5%) this was for me, going to be a day of chewing the handlebars!
Each six-rider team, containing at least one female member headed out onto the rolling back roads through Bowral, Robertson and onwards to the town of Exeter before returning home to Berrima via Moss Vale. 110kilometres of beautiful scenery included several sharp climbs and two significant dirt sectors both containing water causeways.
The objective of Rapha’s Gentlemen’s Races is to inspire a different type of riding. One through which there’s no better way to find out if you’re a true team, pulling together through the challenges to get each other to the finish.
Being unmarshalled, unsupported and unsanctioned, the Gentlemen’s Race is unlike more conventional road rides. Everyone stayed around for a couple of hours afterwards to indulge in a few beers, champagne, hot dogs and that other Aussie staple, meat pies at the Surveyor General (Australia’s oldest Inn). As tales of the race unfolded, the buzz and camaraderie reminded everybody of the reasons we all ride: to suffer; to crack; and then put the pieces back together. And afterwards to have a good laugh about it all.
Most importantly .. the Giant TCR Advanced SL O held its own … solid as a rock on and off road!