Jo recaps the Rapha Women’s Prestige

Last weekend, we joined over 100 women on the Rapha Women’s Prestige in Merricks North. Jo gives us a hilarious account of her day…

Teams of 4. 125km. The H Van pumping coffee and lunch at Elgee Park Winery. All good selling points, which clearly worked well, as 112 women arrived on Sunday morning raring to go on this fun ride around the Mornington Peninsula.

Being suckers for a free coffee, we had two teams entered: Trek Fondo (TF) and Fondo Trek (FT). I was in the first of the two teams, TF, to leave although that almost went badly as I was late arriving having waited for Brooke to eat her breakfast. As she was in the FT team this was possibly an attempt at sabotage but I’ll let it go this time.

HazyP, Lucky, Ella and I set off on the gravel, over cattle grids and up hills with a vague plan to wait for the other team so we could all ride together. However, if you’ve ever tried telling people with a competitive streak to ‘wait’ you’ll know this is a big ask so we plugged on into a headwind, telling ourselves we just wanted to get this bit out of the way and then we’d wait!

Don’t worry, we got our comeuppance. After a couple of km along a scary road with traffic whistling past at 100 kph we thought maybe we should check the map as surely Rapha wouldn’t send us this way? They didn’t. Back we went, made up a bit of a detour and picked up the correct route. Never put a time trialist on the front, we don’t do navigation!

Happily, we found another group and latched onto them thinking they could haul our sorry Fondobutts to Point Nepean and some coffee from the Rapha van. Then…………………BANG!!!!!!! That was my rear tyre exploding. I found a nail in the road that even the super sturdy Bontrager AW3s couldn’t fight off and ripped a whopper of a hole into my tyre. After resorting to the old ‘dollar bill rescue remedy’ we finally set off again.

The Rapha van, the FT team, all the other teams, toilets and ice creams were eventually tracked down at the Quarantine Station in Point Nepean National Park. Everyone had a tale to tell, including the FT team who managed to get some CX training in via some steps, past a locked gate and a sign that said ‘no bikes’ (oops)!!

Anyway, now we were all together for the spin along the beach to Arthurs Seat. A well rested Anna T took to the front to lead us to the base of the climb. Cruelly, the route went up the back way to a gravel road to join Arthurs Seat Rd a quarter of the way up. They forgot to tell us it was 12%. I think I heard swearing! A quick regroup at the summit of Arthurs, a snapshot to prove we’d been there and the final 16 km back to the winery. Until HazyP’s Di2 had a hissy fit. She spent the best part of the mainly downhill home stretch in some ridiculously high gear, spinning those little legs furiously. Good, if slightly extreme, way to clear the lactic.

Once back at the winery, we were treated to a fantastic lunch catered by the Merricks General Store and wine from Elgee Park Winery and some giveaways from those awfully nice Rapha folks.

It was great day out, we all had a blast and look forward to the next one. Thanks Rapha. Special thanks to Ella Atkinson for joining the team for the day.

xo Jo

Follow Jo on her cycling adventures on Instagram.

The Teams

Trek Fondo: Hazel, Siobhan, Ella, Jo

Fondo Trek: Anna T, Anna S, Brooke, Bridge


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