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 at the Seashore

Events: Rapha Rising at the Seashore

 

Climbed: 4,052 feet/ 11,048 feet remaining

 

(2017) Rapha Rising is a self- motivated event pitting riders against the calendar and elevation. Climb 4,600 meters between July 1 – 23 and riders will earn a simple roundel. Riders living in hilly areas benefit from access to elevation. Participants who live in mountainous areas certainly have an advantage to completing the challenge. In America, people who live Midwest will have to get creative to find elevation changes to add up to 15,100 feet. One other location riders have to get creative with elevation seeking are those who spent July Fourth at an eastern beach town.

 

For these few days, the offices of creakybottombracket.com have relocated to the beach town of Rehoboth Beach, DE. Its strong cycling infrastructure is one reason the bike makes the trip each year. Diverse cyclists use the bike lanes on the shoulder of Route 1 alike to get from one town to the next. It becomes a study in persistent effort. Let off the proverbial gas pedal and speed will drop off instantly. Think you’re ready for the time trial championships because you just smoked it heading south? Prepare for the headwind on the return or vice versa. One obstacle not listed is a remarkable climb.

  The Indian River Inlet Bridge is so high its pillars were in the clouds. Fog. 

The Indian River Inlet Bridge is so high its pillars were in the clouds. Fog. 

That is the difficulty of trying to substantially chip away from the sum of the event. Seashore towns don’t lend themselves to the ease of completing an event like Rapha Rising. Any change of elevation must be manmade. Luckily there is one manmade superstructure that takes small bits out of daily climbing totals. It is the Indian River Inlet Bridge.

 

The bridge is part of a potentially demoralizing feeling when riding: It can be seen miles before one is upon it. The bridge, newly opened in 2012, spans the Indian River Inlet, which dumps into Indian River Bay. It juts up from the flat landscape and can be seen for miles in any direction. It is a bridge that shakes up the rhythm of a time trial effort along flat and straight roads. Hammer the whole way to the bridge and the sting of the incline could be magnified by the hard approach effort.

  On the northern return from Indian River Inlet Bridge, WWII gun silos sit silent and in need of repair.

On the northern return from Indian River Inlet Bridge, WWII gun silos sit silent and in need of repair.

For the past two days I have headed out to maintain elevation losses by going over the bridge, hanging a U-turn, and redoubling the effort back over in a push for home. Any direction after the bridge will be without elevation gain. Not picking up vertical numbers is a strange feeling indeed.

 

Rest assured, upon returning home, the upward mobility will be resumed and the total will be significantly gouged. That’s the best part about a vacation week: you don’t really know what you’ve got until you step away from it. Should I have reserved an entire twenty-three days in this town, I would have to cross the Indian River Inlet Bridge a total of 120 times. What could be harder? Climbing all 15,100 feet in one day? Or going over the same stretch of concrete 120 times? Bucks County climbs are in the future.

Events: Rapha Rising – Up Cafferty Road

Events: Rapha Rising – Up Cafferty Road

Events: Rapha Rising – Day One

Events: Rapha Rising – Day One