Organized athletic events really took a hit in 2020, but brighter days lie ahead, and we might soon see the return of our favorite races and competitions. One encouraging sign: Rapha Prestige, a series of amateurs-only cycling events held in gorgeous locations around the globe, will make a (tentative) return this year. Twelve events spanning five continents are on the calendar, with the first one scheduled for May.
Prestige events have been held for 14 years, and they present a unique challenge for cyclists. The rules are pretty simple: Small groups of amateur riders must start and finish as a team and pass through all the checkpoints on the route together. Apart from that, things get complicated: Each event is completely unsupported, and riders are responsible for finding their way and carrying all their own food, supplies, and repair equipment.
The routes take cyclists both on- and off-road through iconic locations around the globe (past Prestige events took participants to Malaysia, Spain, and the Ozark Plateau in Arkansas), which makes these events a real draw for cyclists with strong legs and an even stronger sense of adventure.
The Rapha Prestige Sanjo is the first event in the 2021 series, and it’ll be held in May on a mountainous route through Niigata, Japan—the organizers are hoping Covid restrictions will have eased by then. Later in the year, Prestige will head to iconic locales in Australia, Europe, and North America as well. Prestige Mt. Riga, located in Columbia County, NY, is scheduled for September, and Prestige Santa Barbara is slated for October.
Mt. Riga entrants will tackle a 100-mile route that sends them through the rolling terrain of eastern New York, western Massachusetts, and northern Connecticut, and the Santa Barbara event follows backroads through vineyards, canyons, and over two mountain passes. Other locations in this year’s lineup include South Korea, Denmark, and Taiwan, but like most everything else lately, the schedule is subject to change.
To sign up and stay updated with the latest news, check out the Prestige page on Rapha’s website.
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