Rapha Yomp Rally: these 38 hours in the saddle changed my perspective on biking forever

A rally, not a race: This five-day adventure was the ultimate bikepacking experience

The iconic Gibraltar climb seen from a drone
(Image credit: Gretchen Powers)

We’d gone off course. My Garmin was stubbornly insisting otherwise but even in the dark, we could see by the shoulder-high grass and rutted out singletrack below that no bikers had gone this way for a very long while.  

After what we’d gone through in the past six hours, this section of bike-pushing, weed-clearing and technical riding had initially seemed par for the course. After the snow and creek crossings, cattle-ruined fields, sheer cliff faces, rockfall and small boulder obstacles, what was a bit of singletrack? 

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Anne-Marije Rook
North American Editor

Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.

Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.