I told some of my coworkers about the Rapha Rising Challenge and my plans to climb over 22,000 feet this week. One of my more plain spoken team members looked at me with a blank face and asked, “Why are you doing that?” “Well, ummm.” How was I going to explain this?
First, let me explain the challenge. Strava.com, a social website that brings together cyclist online from around the world, periodically offers challenges for its members to complete. There really isn’t any thing much to win — perhaps a “badge” or the opportunity to enter a drawing for a product.
Normally the challenges are related to some event that is taking place. For instance, the current challenge is related to the Tour de France. To be honest, most of the challenges have required way beyond what I have been willing to commit.
This one was different. It seemed doable and I was in need of some motivation. Here is how Strava describes it…
On 15th July 2012, the Tour de France enters the Pyrenees. The scene of countless historic moments in the race’s history, on the 18th the peloton will tackle the infamous Circle of Death, the fearsome loop that includes the Col d’Aubisque (1,709m), Col du Tourmalet (2,114m), Col d’Aspin (1,489m) and Col de Peyresourde (1,569m). Whether, with just four days remaining until the finish, the pre-race favourite Bradley Wiggins will be in yellow, only time will tell.
In the meantime, Rapha is inviting riders everywhere to join the peloton (if only in spirit) by challenging them to climb the combined elevation of the Circle of Death during the period Le Tour is in the Pyrenees. 6,881 metres (or 22,575 feet) between July 15-22. All of the riders that complete the challenge will receive a Rapha Rising roundel celebrating their achievement, plus the chance to win a limited edition Trek Madone 6.9.
As an additional challenge, there will also be a separate competition to see who can climb the most metres on Wednesday 18th July, the date of the Queen Stage of this year’s Tour de France. The KOM and QOM of this challenge will win a Rapha Race Bag containing a Rapha Circle of Death Jersey, Classic Bib Shorts and a pair of Grand Tour Shoes.
I’ll be going for the roundel, but don’t plan to spend my Wednesday climbing! For me, the main motivation is the challenge itself. I’m not competing agains the other 9745 participants. I’m competing against myself.
Tuesday evening I completed 55% of the challenge. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to get it done. I’ve limited myself to 2.5 hours a day for 7 days. If I have to, I’ll have an 8th day to wrap things up. However, I’m 3 days in and already past halfway. I don’t think I’ll need that extra day.
So how do I answer the question? The way I see it, there are some people to whom you just can’t explain what drives you to do these things. There are also those people who don’t require an explanation. They understand.