By guest writer and TeamKP member Dom Doan
Rolling country roads, gravel, glorious hills, suffering faces, blood, sweat and tears, the Brisbane Rapha Gentlemen’s Race put six TeamKP riders through a grueling day on the saddle.
Riding over a challenging 146km route through some of Queensland’s most scenic and toughest roads provided a challenge to all.
Arriving into Mt Alford in the early hours of the day, the sun was beaming over the lush green valleys and the scenery put most postcards to shame.
Embrocation was applied, jersey pockets filled with ‘nutrition’, gillets zipped up, bidons filled to their brim and TeamKP was set out against 14 teams for the first Brisbane Rapha Gentlemen's Race.
The first section was well underway with smiles on faces and many riders lost in the moment taking in the beautiful surroundings and kicking a very decent pace.
In true Rapha style, dirt roads were to be expected. One team had passed and to their dismay shot off the wrong way while the well-reserved TeamKP followed the pink arrow into the first section of gravel.
It was then through the town, showground and passing horse stables TeamKP finally made some headway into the undulating stages through Boonah passing cattle stations, local spectators and crop fields.
At this stage the team was in good form. Together, good pace, happy faces and no mechanicals until we hit the gravel.
Probably the toughest of all sections, testing each rider’s skills maneuvering meticulously through the beaten road. Much like the Paris-Roubaix, all members held their own lines through the gravel until a puncture ensued halfway through.
Unsupported, no spare wheels were at hand so a tube was quickly replaced and off we went.
The team swiftly rolled on hunting down lost time and passing teams.
After a quick rest stop at the 100km mark, a solid pace was set. TeamKP formed a solid bunch powering through to Lake Moogerah passing though open properties, cattle grids and km’s of undulating country roads.
120km’s down, the next section of gravel was near. 6.8kms of hard gravel pushed team members to near breaking point.
A quick stop to clear the dust from the eyes and fill up on fluids, of we went again to chase down the leading pack.
With all the seductive novelties of a Rapha ride exhausted albeit the suffering, TeamKP was on the last 20km stretch to the finish line.
Rolling a respectable pace, all six stuck side-by-side rolling together in true gentlemanly form through to the final climb.
At this point, club president Aaron had made a breakaway and was shortly followed by Cameron, Tom and Scott. The breakaway didn’t last long with Claire gaining some decent pace up the hill rejoining the bunch.
With a King of the Mountain on the line, it was Club Captain Cam who took away the win followed by Tom and Scott.
Reaching the top of the climb, the team regrouped and the last of fluids were sipped, jerseys zipped up and aero positions engaged for the final descent into Mt Alford.
Staggering speeds were reached and a fast pace was set up for the final ‘sprint’ into the finish.
Onto the finishing straight, race marshals kept a good eye on the team making sure we finished together. Cameras eagerly awaiting our presence were snapping away. TeamKP had crossed the line!
Finishing at a reasonable time, no crashes and only one puncture the team was spent! It was a fantastic day on the bike and everyone was eagerly awaiting a well-deserved meal and beer!