Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Events: Rapha Rising 2017

Events: Rapha Rising 2017

(2017) For road cyclists it’s the most wonderful time of year – if that whole spring classics portion of the calendar was removed. World Tour teams have finalized their rosters and published them for this year’s Tour de France. Media personalities have Instagram Story’d their arrival in Dusseldorf. Riders have announced their last workouts before twenty-one days of French madness. And then there’s an event the rest of us can do.

 

Rapha Rising is a twenty-three-day-long event taking place on the cycle- social page of Strava. It is straightforward in its scope. Climb the equivalent of the hardest stage in the Tour, except you get twenty-three days to do it. Participants will climb 4600 meters/ 15,100 feet over the majority of the month of July. How nice of them to give us the nearly three weeks when the pros are expected to do it in one stage.

Naturally there are overachievers out there. Strava is offering a chance to win a trip to the Cent Cols Challenge through Rapha Travel for anyone who completes all 4,600 meters in one ride. To put it into perspective, that would equate to fifteen times up Whiteface Memorial Highway in New York state, or eleven times up Mount Washinton in New Hampshire. Both are 'Beyond Category' climbs. If anyone completes that, they'll need those remaining twenty-two days to come back down to earth.

 

It is a challenge for many North Americans to average nearly 650 feet per day. In the west they have the miles-long climbs that mimic the Tour stages. Fair enough, but I doubt it’s easy for riders to slay 15,000 feet in quick succession. Imagine living in the heartland of America where there are few hills. Rides would involve miles upon miles of pedaling in any attempt to get major upward mobility. In the east with our famous short and violent climbs, expect to see riders descend a hill only to hang a U-turn at the bottom and head back up. That’s that strange cycling behavior we’re known for.

  Photo via Strava for the Rapha Rising challenge.

Photo via Strava for the Rapha Rising challenge.

The best part about Rapha Rising is that it encourages people to get out and ride. Past Julys saw my daily rotation as: work, come home and watch the full coverage of the stage, make dinner and wish I was riding, go to bed, repeat. Somehow I would fall behind and never really get to utilize the two rest stages as riding days. With Rapha Rising, I just may utilize the fast-forward button through more than commercials. Getting another roundel for the collection is always a strange motivator.

 

With a goal of climbing I just may develop that decree about the Bucks County climbing challenge. It just may have to overlap with Rapha Rising next year in the hopes of getting a patch. It is a unique time of year now. I am actually looking forward to some climbs that my favorite spring classic race does not have. Maybe I’ll just ride the Fleche Buffoon route multiple times to get those 15,100 feet.

 

 

An original version of this posting stated Rapha Rising took place for the entire month of July. In actuality riders only get from July 1-23 to complete the challenge. The error has been adjusted to reflect accuracy.

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