Some time ago German cyclist Rebekka Kirsch contacted Podia and enquired about the possibility of buying four jerseys in which her and her girlfriends could ride in the first European Rapha Prestige for women. We really liked the idea and so four brave young women, equipped in Podia Club Colours embarked on the challenge.
After the event Rebekka sent us her notes. And here they are….

Words by Rebekka Kirsch

When you ride your first real passes in the mountains, with all the sweat and tears and burning legs and swearing you have only two decisions to make. One is: ‘Will I fight my way through and finish this damn ride or will I lay down, cry a bit and wait for sheep to eat my body’. And the second is: ‘Am I in love with climbing mountains, steep roads, passes that lead to alpine lakes, snowflakes and dancing clouds on mountain tops or not?’

The Rapha Prestige Ride in the Dolomites was the first European event for girls only and I simply had to participate. But having never managed any real passes in my very short cycling career, I had no idea what would await me in Alta Badia. I have done two major climbs in my life: the Rossfeld and the Gaisberg; both with two crazy dudes from Salzburg. So when the date of the Rapha Prestige got closer, I got more nervous. My team-mates were nervous too, but more due to excitement. They said ‘It‘ll be a blast!’, I said ‘It‘ll be my death!’ and in the end we were all right.

On the morning of the ride we drunk our coffee, I received the captains briefing and then we waited until our team – #teamchasingmoments – got called for it’s start. We headed off as the third group so there wasn’t much waiting and the amazing sunlight of the dolomites was all ours very early on.

‘You know, ride your speed if necessary with the smallest gear. Don‘t try and ride with the speed of someone else, that‘s just not clever as we have a lot of climbing to do!’ said my teammate Eirini and I nodded. And did as she said.

Eating and riding, riding and eating and…. eating and riding led us to Selva di Cadore and further through some „galleria non illuminati“ to Caprile. Madeleine said we could stop once we reach the top of the next climb. And so we did. However in between was the Passo Fedaia or as named by me the „piccolo stronzo“ due to its length, steepness and switch backs. I was dead. I was also angry and simultaneously disappointed: I was always last. Other teams were overtaking us, I was slowing down the girls and for god‘s sake I was sure somebody changed my chain ring. All my team-mates were up and ahead and I was simply fed up. I think I went through a small mental breakdown at the time. Anyway…

Counting the sheep I arrived at the next checkpoint, the second of three on the route. Coffee, salsiccia and potatoes as well as the scenery of lake Fedaia made me realize what an amazing day and an incredible place we chose to suffer in.

With the Marmolada to the left we flew down to the next pass, the Passo Sella. More breathtaking views, gentle curves of the road, clear air and the snowy tops in the far distance were all worth the effort. I even asked myself, how not to love it especially when I worked so hard for it?

The girls were faster than me again so I was the very last participant to arrive at the last checkpoint after the Passo di Gardena. We got high-fives and rode the last 20km to the finish. Lanterne rouge!

In the end I learned three things: I really love cycling in the mountains, I am in no shape to climb the Dolomites fast and a team that holds and works together is crucial.

It was a blast. And it was my death at the same time. But I did it! Thanks to Eirini, Madeleine and Franzi for making this Rapha Prestige Dolomites an unforgettable experience of my life.

StravaPo imprezie Rebekka przesłała nam swoje wrażenia. Oto one….