Inspired by bikepacking events overseas, Rapha introduces the Rapha Yomp Rally

A rally, not a race, 100 select riders will tackle 375 mixed-surface miles over a max of 5 days

Rapha Yomp Rally
(Image credit: Rapha)

Rapha today announced the launch of the inaugural Rapha Yomp Rally, a five-day 375-mile adventure across some of the most stunning mixed-terrain roads California has to offer.

Only 100 riders will be selected to tackle the pre-designed route between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles in May, and the application process opened today.

What is a yomp you ask? Originally a military term, a yomp refers to a quick or energetically jaunt, usually while carrying a lot of equipment. In other words: a bikepacking event!

A rally and not a race, the format is simple: complete the given route within five days,  be prepared to take care of your needs and offer a helping hand to your fellow riders when needed, and be respectful to the surroundings and its inhabitants. It's a self-supported, bike-camping adventure. Some may opt to challenge themselves and ride it all in one go, while other will need every minute of those five days to complete the course. 

The Yomp Rally is the brainchild of Rapha's Head of Marketing, Brandon Camarda, himself a Silk Road Mountain Race finisher and no stranger to bikepacking

" I wanted to bring the rally style bikepack event to the U.S. I've seen them growing in Europe, and feel like there's a void in U.S. bike pack events," Camarda told Cycling Weekly.

"So many are fully unsupported, with the full set of rules that can be intimidating and off putting to some folks. I wanted to create an event that felt a little more friendly, with plenty of room to push the envelope but enough guardrails to entice folks who might be hesitant to buy their own SPOT tracker and sign up to a trackleaders bikepacking race. The goal is really great experiences, positive energy and an incredible ride."

That's not to say that it won't be a physical challenge, Camarda warned.

The route was designed by Rapha athlete and trail steward, Dillon Oslenger, and  spans across coastal desert ecology, California wine country, the rugged Sierra Madre range, and through high pine forests and mountain chaparral. It racks up nearly 40,000 feet of climbing across 375 miles. 

"It will be hard for sure! To finish on time you must average at least 75 miles + 8,000ft of climbing per day," said Camarda.

Free to enter, the inaugural Rapha Yomp Rally will serve as a test event, and the limited field of 100 riders is meant to keep the logistics manageable. 

"It's a big undertaking, a long course, and I want to make sure riders have the best experience possible. It's a small crew bringing it to life, and to make sure we don't bite off more than we can chew, we decided 100 was a great group," Camarda said. "Enough folks to rally, but also look after if something were to go wrong. "

The application process serves not just to limit the field but also to help Rapha reach an event goal of 50/50 gender split among the participants. To apply, visit the Rapha Yomp Rally website. 

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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.