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Rapha Racing NYC: Battenkill Prep
Text - Dylan Nord
Photo - James Nord
Central Park is empty and dark. All of the other guys are probably eating pasta, or spending time with their wives but I've still got a few laps to go; just long enough to allow me to finish the stern talk I'm giving my legs. I'm trying to focus tonight. In two days, the Tour of the Battenkill begins, the first important race of the season and this easy spin alone is part of my preparation.
After the ride, I pull dried kit from a makeshift clothesline and pack until midnight: base layer, jersey, bibs, socks, oversocks, shoes, tubes, gloves, helmet, arm warmers, cap, knee warmers and leg warmers. Oh, and embrocation – options are important. Everything is piled neatly into a worn leather weekend bag (always with the Rapha contrast stripe facing out) that my father's clothing used to fold into. As the bag closes, I’m starting to feel prepared.
Then the bike must be checked and cleaned – the Battenkill course is 25% dirt. Upon completing the race, my bike will be unrecognizable. But on the start line, it will look new. After 30 minutes (and a liter of something citrus-powered) my drivetrain shines. The hoods are paper white, hubs polished black and even though you can't see the carbon behind the bottle cages, there’s no dirt there, either. I take a step back to look at the gleam of the thing; now I really do feel prepared.
Packing a clean bike and kit make the race seem less daunting but come Saturday, the only thing that will really help are the hours spent on the bike through the winter: the base miles, intervals, hills, the lead-outs and all the fartlek. During the race, I'll start unpacking them on the first climb, unraveling my fitness with each pedal stroke. By the last 200m, I hope to have a few things still left unpacked, even just one thing left to reach for, all the way at the bottom.
The Nord brothers are part of the Rapha Racing NYC team. This weekend, they will head to the Tour of the Battenkill in Cambridge, New York. This upstate battle against the elements has quickly established itself among East Coast racers as a classic. James and Dylan will be racing in the new Pro Team Jersey and the new Pro Team Base Layer. We wish them the best of luck.
- @tribryan Hi Bryan, that’s a discontinued Irish Country Jersey which is no longer in production, sorry to disappoint.
- @vickiewoodsford @richardhier @daithetooth Thanks Vickie, glad we were able to help too.
- @ServiceCourse @richardhier @daithetooth You’re all too kind, thank you.
- @richardhier Thanks Richard, have a good weekend. Will pass on your thanks to Peter.
- Stylish, creative, sharp? We all know a sartorial city rider that can be tricky to buy for. See our guide for hints → http://t.co/dul9phwMoX
- Who's excited for snowy racing #inbend this weekend? We brought tshirts and coffee for the weekend.… http://t.co/aYYPjQEXTG
- @playa_mansa Sorry, somehow missed this. Our backpack is great for general use. Most of us here use it both on and off the bike.
- @TheRaceRadio A man experienced in sheep aerodynamics, perhaps. → http://t.co/4ysrDy5bie
- The most recent Rapha Gentlemen’s Race took place in Adelaide with 18 teams lining up for the rolling 160km route. → http://t.co/ZQ3Dzz0NEX
- @andersmagnus Hi Anders, there’s been a delay unfortunately, but thanks for being patient. It will be out as soon as possible.