"13,000 ft, gravel climbing, single lane and unknown distance" was the message I received two months ahead of the Rapha Women's Prestige last winter. An old skiing friend was in need of fast legs to keep up with her fellow tarmac crushers as they competed as a team in the 2nd annual event on and around the slopes of San Francisco's Mt. Tam.
Rapha Film: "The bird's still remember what we have forgotten".
Light weight with strong legs and a big heart, Kristen was born for climbing but she had trouble taming her free spirit in training. She said that she usually "just starts smashing it". So we worked on keeping her in a stable tempo, with just changes in cadence to liven up the experience. After just six weeks she was off to the races with more confidence, having completed a range of intensities and accrued a greater repertoire of sensations.
I might just have to recreate the route if I get a chance to return to the area this January / February. Too epic to pass up. Here is how it played out.
Rapha’s Womens Prestige was an incredibly freeing day on the bike because it was uncomplicated. The goal was simple: 'just go ride your bike with 5 of your friends'. It was 123 unknown miles with 13,000 unprecedented feet of climbing and the only way to complete the race is for all 6 team members to cross the finish line together. I think Rapha related this day to birds because they are simple, free and gracefully fly together, which is exactly what’s required to succeed in the Prestige.
Ben’s balanced training approach complemented the type of physical and mental preparedness I needed for the Prestige. When you race for 8:45 hours with 6 people, each person cracks at some point. Ben helped reach the a level of fitness and mental clarity where I felt able to keep it simple, process the various challenges as they come and ultimately have a day the my friends and I will never forget.
Labels: Toque Coaching