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Rapha Racing Northwest
Teams are a funny thing. They’re like tribes; you can’t entirely explain why you belong to the one you do, you just know it’s right. Portland is lucky to have a mash-up of every bike tribe around, not to mention innumerable subsets within the tribe know as racers. Rapha Racing NW is one of those tribes. Interestingly, I’ve been a part of it for nearly 20 years. That’s not bad math. Rapha has been in Portland for five years, but the team that bears its name has been riding together (in an only slightly-varied version) for much longer. We’ve had some roster evolution, but of the 15 riders on our team, 10 of us represent the core of a group that has, over the last 20 years, put riders on the US National team, into the pro peloton, and onto the podium at some of the biggest races in the US. What we think of most, though, are the coffees before the Sunday ride, the beers after, and the buzz that combines from long days in the saddle with old friends. We selectively forget how often we spent out time scraping for gas money, sleeping on someone’s couch and borrowing wheels from the bike shop—a trifecta undoubtedly familiar to many reading this.
It’s hard to define what makes a good team. Fast riders alone don’t do it. Guys who get along off the bike aren’t enough. You need something more, some kind of chemistry born from endless miles together. A mix of shit-talking, inside-joke-telling, nickname creating camaraderie that transcends the often-brutal nature of logging thousands of training miles, countless office park crits and innumerable road trips to towns you can’t recall to do races you wish you could forget. Rapha Racing NW travels less now than we did. We work more, drink a little more coffee (and lot more beer) and juggle the various roles of “grown ups” (fathers, husbands, business owners, winemakers). But we remain connected to the core of bike racing, to a collection of friendships that now outstrip many of our childhood and school-day ones, and to the passion that kicks up every time we wheel the bike up the stairs or out the back. We ride and race, together, because we don’t know how not to.
Photography by Motofish from the 2009 NW Rapha Gentlemen's Race
Words: Otis Rubottom
- Last week was a great one for Rapha Condor JLT, all the action and images now up on the team site: http://t.co/ftBejPnnCJ
- RT @alainrumpf: Well done @mike_cuming and @raphacondorjlt winner of #TdK2013 under the scrutiny of latest drone… http://t.co/gv81uP9mHP
- In their attempt to cross the US in 24 days, @michaeltabtabai & Andrew Hudon will ‘Leave It On The Road’. → http://t.co/Per6QsCAtt
- We are delighted to announce the opening of a one-month, pop-up @RaphaCycleClub in Tokyo this summer from 22/6–21/7 → http://t.co/Jrc0EKZ9ky
- Huge congratulations to @raphacondorjlt’s @mike_cuming for winning the @TourdeKorea2013 and to @tomsoutham for best DS. #TdK2013
- @danfromnam in Corsica — outtake from our 2013 Spring/Summer shoot #corsica #beningstagram http://t.co/03A7pT9mtj
- Winner Winner Chicken Dinner ! The most important jersey of #TdK2013 hot off the press. http://t.co/Pflx0eUfdv”
- What a day... The boys keep Mike Cuming in yellow, after having to chase all day. Great performance by all.
- Just rehearsing the whole of Pacino's speech from Any Given Sunday to recite to the boys...
- UK: Thanks to all who came to to tonight’s Rapha Étape Evening in London with @CyclefitUK — one of our biggest turnouts yet.