A Little History

In 2010, John was lucky enough to get a spot on the Pedro's 6 person team for the Rapha East Coast Gentlemen's Race. This race included some amazing dirt climbs and descents around Kent CT. John came back after that race raving about the route and the format.

John and I love to ride on dirt roads and we love to climb. And we really love a team format where a group of cyclists ride and work together. While John was off doing the Gentlemen's race that weekend, I was taking part in a fleche, another long distance team event, that also took in lots of climbs and a few dirt roads. Now don't confuse team with relay team. In a relay team, riders can rest and move forward inside a support car while other riders ride. This is a proper team event, where all team members ride the full distance and the riders work and finish together. The ride is also self-supported, meaning you carry what you need and live off the land.

Despite the fact that the Gent's Race was advertised as having lots of dirt, many riders still chose skinny tires for the day and paid the price with punctures. Fatter tires may add some weight, but they do make for faster descents on rugged terrain, and likely prevent lots of lost time fixing punctures. The race also featured lots of climbing. Some folks were a bit over-geared for the day, and more than once the two foot gear was pressed into use. Finally there is distance. The route was over 200km, a distance that intimidated some.

But it sounded like it was custom-made for us: a self-supported all day ride with long, hard dirt climbs and descents.

As John described the events of the day, he also mentioned that Bilenky had sent a team of tandems. They, like many other single bike riders, had struggled with punctures, and ended up finishing very late. Later in the year, another Gentlemen's Race was held on the west coast. Again, Bilenky sent a team of tandems to this event. I read about their experience here.

Inspired and intrigued, I began to wonder how we could do if we put together a team of experienced tandem riders, who liked to do long, hard self-supported rides on dirt roads, using tandems with voluminous tires and low gears. The seed was planted.

In 2011, John was racing for the Ride Studio Cafe (RSC) endurance team. As a Rapha shop, RSC got an invitation to the 2011 East Coast Gentlemen's Race. There were more than 6 folks from the team who really wanted to do the race, but the Gent's team is limited to six riders. John's previous experience, as well as his long-distance CV, made him an obvious choice, but I suggested that John could give his spot on the RSC team to another rider if we could get an invite for a team of tandems. But no pressure, and only if he really wanted to...

So John talked to Rob Vandermark (of Seven and RSC) about a the possibility of tandem team, and Rob got very excited. He helped to get us an invitation and helped us to brainstorm a team name and logo, and even provided some beautiful Rapha jerseys with custom embroidery.

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