Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Rapha Etape Luchon-Bayonne: I'll do it myself sometime this century

The 1910 Challenge from RAPHA on Vimeo.

After the buzz of completing the London to Southend bike ride in such a worthy manner, our thoughts have been turning to our next challenge.

At the moment this looks like it could be the Essex 100 in September. Last year's event was sparsely attended and due to the nature of the climbs and weather conditions, more of an event for the dedicated rider.

Maybe after that we can start to look at the London to Paris and possibly a couple of years from now, we could tackle something like the Etape Luchon-Bayonne.

This particular ride is the subject of the film above, and follows the 326km stage of the 1910 Tour de France. It was the first time the Tour had taken in the Tourmalet, the highest climb in the Pyrenees, and as the Rapha riders will attest, those initial competitors will have had nerves of steel and the determination of mountain goats.

They set off at 3.30am on July 21 2010 - that's 100 years ago today - in the dark with candle lanterns mounted on their bikes to light the way, and fuelled by chickens.

There was no such thing as halogen lamps or wetgear, and even the brakes would have been a bit dodgy. The climbs would have been bad, the descents petrifying.

But they did it and in the process marked a turning point in Tour history.

What's more, the 1910 riders completed the stage in 14 hours. The Rapha team took 16 hours and 5 minutes. Which says a lot for chickens.

If you get a spare 15 minutes today, watch the film, then try and stop yourself from getting on your bike.

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  1. Its a great film, and they were slower........ But the only reason for that was the continual changing of Rapha kit to display the whole range. Obviously the bikes were their own as these did not get a mention, and do love the Brooks bar ends.


  2. And those leather handlebar cases, for that added retro touch. Looks like they used Brooks saddles too, to add a touch of 1910 pain.
    I guess the constant kit-changing is going to slow things up a bit!