Jun 29, 2009

Mas Video: Rapha Gentlemans Race

A few weeks ago I had planned on having a weekend off from racing. It was going to be all ice cream, hammocks and sparkling water.

Rapha Gentlemen's Race - New Paltz, NY from RAPHA on Vimeo.

Then the emergency 'Brown' phone lit up and on the other end was a gaggle of riders blubbering on about how 'therewassixbutonedroppedoutandnowtheyneedanother'. Turns out it was an unofficial, uninsured and unlikely gentleman's race put on by Rapha outside of New Paltz NY. Bicycling Magazine had a crew of mostly mountain bikers put together and it was captain Cushionbury who had called me (could have been a text, email or twitter).

I had to make the tough decision of sitting at home sipping lemon spritzers or travel for a 125 mile group ride through a place called the 'Gunks'. I can't resist anything called 'Gunk' and so I packed the green machine and headed to Emmaus to meet the crew. I rolled into my favorite Bikeshop/ coffee bar South Mountain Cycles, had a shot, shot the shit and waited for the band of pirates.

Soon teammate number 1 Selene, the Fitness Chick, rode by and informed me that rider Joule (sp) had just called and was out due to a crash on the bike that day. Damn. Now we had to scramble to find a 6th person, so we lit up the hovering network of cell signals in the sky and had a last minute commitment form Aaron Synder himself, despite the fact that he was leaaving for Europe in 2 days and his girlfriend was left not happy.
Now all we had to do was kill a little time while we waited for Mr. Snyder to show. What better to do than ask to take Cush's souped up Subaru WRX for a quick spin. In the space of 30 seconds I was almost hit twice before I even pulled out of the parking spot in front of the 10 people waiting to go, all laughing at me and placing bets on the car's and my survival.

As I pulled away, Aaron pulled in, and when I got back in one piece, we scattered.

There is an ironic element to the fact that I was about to do a team time trial over 125miles. I had just written a point-counterpoint argument about the merits of Solo Mountain Bike Stage Racing for Mountain Bike Magazine, which Cushionbury had assigned to me. Now I was in a position to see what it meant to race as a team, where no one was allowed to be dropped, and all bonking would be shared.

After a day that saw one rider who had come despite a terrifing crash on the Track earlier in the week, began falling apart at about mile 40, another rider fighting through severe cramps at mile 105, a missed turn and one flat, I realized the spiritual value of riding 'with' people. It required an empathy I'm not used to calling forth and the type of team bonding experience I usually leave for the movies I don't go to see. Except maybe 'Shaun of the Dead'.

Anyways it was a great time. Beautiful place and great team mates. Thanks, Mike, Selene, Mike, Brad and Aaron.


Bruce said...

Used to climb loads up there. How'd the Mohonk Mountain House look?

coco said...

ultimate bromance video!

Selene said...

We were so happy to have you.