Unser Kumpel Manuel hat mit diversen anderen “verrückten” vor gut zwei Wochen am Rapha Prestige West Country teilgenommen. Obwohl er gefühlt mehr Zeit auf dem Rad als auf der Arbeit verbringt, war er dennoch so frei und lässt uns und euch an diesem Trip teilhaben. Danke Manuel!
What is a Rapha Prestige?
They always say it’s not a race…might be true for some but there are always those who are either naturally quick or very competitive. And even though having fun and finishing as a Team is the main aspect of a prestige you can easily get carried away with ‘finishing one place better’ or even ‘first?
Those Prestige Events I have been to so far have always been great fun, awesome people, cracking routes in areas where you might not travel that often.
Prestige West Country…
Meeting point was Bristol at the well-known ‘MUD DOCK’ Cafe directly at the waterfront. If you’re into bikes, coffee or just some good food definitely give it a go. Very nice and well equipped Bike shop in the Basement and a nice Café upstairs. Great view over the waterfront and even a roof terrace to enjoy the sun.
How to prepare for the Prestige?
Just be ready for everything…as the prestige is unsupported and the route can offer very challenging terrain. Haven’t had any prestige so far without hearing endless stories of punctures so better bring some bullet proof tires.
Oh and very important…each Team has to bring 6 beers from their home town or favourite Brewery. That alone gives you an idea that it’s not the normal Sportive or Race.
The warmup and preparation starts the evening before. Meeting in the HQ…the MUD DOCK for socializing, beer, great food and discussions about race tactics (oh it’s not a race by the way).
Surprise with the Prestige West Country was the fact that the given route was not mandatory…the Teams only needed to get the brevet Cards stamped at the Check-Points, do 2 mandatory sections and avoid forbidden A-Roads (you don’t want to ride them anyway).
Given the fact that our Team will only be complete minutes before the start and being short of some GPS devices we decided to stick with the given route. Good decision as the route has just been awesome.
Let’s get started…
In the morning each Team needed to sign in…starting with 35 Teams that day this did mean queuing. But also a good opportunity to catch up with friends and grabbing a last bite before the start…Breakfast included. Quick instructions before heading out. Tricky first part out of Bristol as we ended on a small path with gates and stairs. Out of Bristol the small lanes started and the beauty of the countryside. It’s been a ‘muggy’ start as it was cloudy but very damp. Having other Teams in front and behind we pushed it a bit being drenched in sweat not long into the ride.
The (Race) Ride
Even without the Prestige the Route would be a stunning but challenging ride. In case somebody is fancy to tackle it head over to www.komoot.de/tour/11346561 for more details. The Route has been packed with small country lanes, steep climbs and nice and fast descends. Those hedges to the left and right…those typical British lanes have something very special.
The checkpoints have been well picked. Checkpoint 1 was the Rapha Archive Store in Kilver Court which is not far from Bristol. Worth heading over there as the last season articles are sometimes less than half price. No time for shopping…just a quick bite, refill the bottles and keep smashing it (oh it’s not a race…). Gravel by surprise…a very nice and fun offload section which puts fun on some faces and surprise (and mud) on others. Funny enough we handled this tricky and rocky one without any pictures…catching more later on. Second Checkpoint was Weston-Super-Mare. What a stunning view as we came around the corner being welcomed by the Rapha H-Van in the middle of the Beach. Giving away free Ice-lollies, great natural, gluten free and handmade Energy Bars by Pedal Bites and for sure some great Coffee. Lost more time by Punctures 2, 3 and don’t know how many we headed off again.
Target number three was the well know Cheddar Gorges Climb. A ‘have to do’ on the list to reach Checkpoint three. It’s a stunning place and worth a visit on its own. Also in good riding distance to Bristol one can head out there, enjoy some coffee in the Café at the bottom and tackle the climb. No stopping for us as we headed directly to the Feed stop / Checkpoint at the top of the climb. Besides Cheddar Cheese lacking some gluten free options you rather bring some bites…as mentioned it is unsupported. The legs start to get tired with all those steep climbs which are sometimes just a bit longer than expected. But the view and the sun pushes us on to head back towards Bristol. Last checkpoint is the Bristol Airport where the Team needs to take a Photo with a recognizable Landmark…not too difficult to find at an Airport. Although we skipped the idea to choose the runway for it 🙂
We’ve been happy to get to the Airport as our local hero mentioned that we’ve done all the climbing…unfortunately there was quite a big one to come. But keeping up the good mood we made it back into Bristol. Not ridden there much the view from the top with the City spread over the big rocks, the gorge and the seafront is just stunning. Glad to arrive way over the finish in MUD DOCK those steep Bristol roads been all downhill.
Remember the 6 beers to bring? Yes…the Prestige is a fun event and so was the Award Ceremony and the get together with the other Teams at the finish. Big thanks to the whole MUD DOCK Team as they’ve been awesome hosts for the Prestige. There’ve been great food (included) to refuel after a hard and long day in the saddle…and drinks. Big thanks to the RAPHA Team for organizing another cracking Prestige. You’ve been great. The route has been well picked (and good to stick to it) and the Coffee and Feed stop (with my favourite bars from Pedal Bites) on the Beach at Weston-Super-Mare been my highlight. Another big thanks to our Team supporters from www.merci-cycling.be for the great Jerseys and www.thewonderfulsocks.com for the cool ‘Need-for-Speed’ socks.
See you all soon again for the next Prestige.