2014 Rapha Prestige - West Coast Edition

I love a good challenge, and that is just what the Rapha Prestige is...a good challenge. 

To kick off the second weekend in May, I found myself puzzle piecing together Ingrid (my car) with cycling essentials: tires, food, shoes, good tunes, water, a bike. I set Siri to Walnut Creek, grabbed a coffee, buckled in my sidekick Bucky and started cruising.
Partner in crime. 

See ya Lah-Goo-Nah. 
After 6 hours of belting Rihanna and Katy Perry at the top of my lungs, 2 Starbucks coffee stops and 1 wrong exit I pulled into the driveway of our host house where several other brightly smiling biking Rapha ambassador babes were building their bikes. We had to be one of the luckiest teams at the Prestige between our host house, and the box of Conti 4-Seasons tires and other goodies we had been supplied with.

Friday afternoon we headed out on a lite-spin around Walnut Creek and up Diablo, our fearless leader and host Gannon Myall showed us the way and gave us a few tips and tricks for the race-ride the next day. Gannon was an absolutely delight to talk with; listening to him tell stories about his children put a huge smile on my face - I love listening to parents talk about their kick-ass kids...
My girls.
So glad I was connected with these amazing individuals. 
The Athletic made our legs look amazing all weekend - Huge thanks to Julie & Jeremy. 
How you can tell we are cyclists:
Wine, Water bottles and over-flowing plates of outstanding food made my Juila.
I wish I could eat like that every night....
It really shouldn't be a surprise: we were extremely fashionable and slightly on the late-ish side. The morning was filled with Stumptown espresso, donuts, bananas, cookies, bagels, and just about every other gluttonous food you can thing of that can be consumed before a 109 mile bike ride.

Babes will be babes. 
Our Trek Domane 5 Series all lined up and ready to go.
The night before we decided our plan of attack would be enjoy the first 80 miles, and then hammer the last 20 miles. We also decided to ride the climbs at our own pace and then regroup at the top, and that Cynthia was always in the middle.

Insert The Hills are Alive music here...

The weather was perfect, the Garmin we were provided with directions was not. We didn't hear our start and casually ended up rolling out, only to take a wrong turn and wait for the next team to go so we could follow them. Smart, eh? Once we actually got rolling there was no stopping us, just a small game of cat and mouse with one of the teams support vehicles (what happened to the idea of non-supported?). The first climb had 3 false summits - it was a grinder.

Every wonder what it is like to ride with World & National Champions? 
Once we hit the decent, we realized we need to do a quick bike fix/pee/snack break. This may sound funny, but, seeing all 6 of us work together without a glitch was pretty neat - it made me think wow, if we actually rode together more and trained for this stuff we would be pretty f**king fast. 

I feel you dude...
The next thing we had to tackle was Mt. Diablo. The same climb that the pro men would tackle only days later during the Tour of California. My plan was to hang tight to the other girls and summit together, but, something hit me when I saw the Ritte girls scream by - I knew it was time to start up that little motor in my bottom bracket and GO!

All of the amazing photos that you see, are courtesy of  the ever talented Nick Kova
What goes up, eventually comes down
Twinsies with Meredith at the summit of Diablo. 

Always smile. 
We re-grouped at the top of Diablo, and started the decent. Now, when you have girls that are predominantly mountain bikers on a 10 mile decent...chances are they are going to go REALLY fast.

After shaking our hands out and grabbing another quick snack we started possibly the scariest part of the entire day - some random canyon with heavy traffic, no shoulder and insane wind gusts. Hey, but, we wanted a challenge, right? Plus, knowing that we were encroaching the dirt section kept us pedaling strong. And, I may or may not have known there was a surprise awaiting us towards the last little kick...

Steve Blick, from Oakley and the legendary Katerina Nash were waiting for us with cold beers and Luna bars at mile 98! 
Best part of the day? Flying through the campsite to find Steve Blick of Oakley along side the one and only Katerina Nash greeting us at mile 98 with cold beers and Luna bars! Seriously, little surprises like this are what these rides are all about - getting off the beaten path, being irreverent, enjoying the day - enjoying the passion. Then we continued the awesomeness by hitting the dirt section that everyone had been talking about...

Worst part of the day? The 23%+ quarter of a mile hill that stood in-between us and the finish. We literally all turned the corners and said 'you've got to be kidding me', with slightly more vulgar words,  but, of course we pushed through it!

One bad ass team: 6 talented riders, 109 miles, 11K of climbing, 8+ hours. 

To My Team: 
Thank you for being so inspirational - I have read the other blogs you have posted, and they are all so thoughtful. Each one of you helped push me through the day - thank you for providing endless laughs, and meaningful conversations. Thank you for the smiles, and making sure we stuck together as a group. Thank you for being a part of my life; I am so happy that Rapha brought us together - seriously, I have to be one of the luckiest humans on earth to be put in touch with such a beautiful and diverse group of riders. Thank you for listening to my breakup story a zillion times, and keeping an eye out for tall, brunette, cyclists with tattoos for me while we were riding. Thank you for cutting me loose on the climbs; and listening to my candy cravings. Thank you for being so fashionable, and sharing the same obsession with amazing nails as I do! You women are stunning.

The art of nails. 
Check out the #raphaprestige hashtag on Instagram, as well as my other teammates for other great photos from that day:

To Our Partners: 
This program wouldn't exist without all the love and support you give all 14 of us Ambassadors - honestly, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

And, a gigantic thank you to those of you who helped get that box of Conti 4-Seasons tires to us, and The Athletic for keeping our feet styling! 

Lastly, Rapha put together a kick-ass clip of what our day was like out on the bike - check it out below:

Sending Love,

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