Rapha will go ahead with its annual 'Women's 100' campaign, marking its eight year anniversary, and there's even a celebratory bike to match the 2020 Women's 100 design.
The clothing brand has been encouraging women to get together with friends to ride 100km for the past eight years, but for 2020 - with the event taking place on September 6 - it's changed tact.
Inspired by adventure racer and author Emily Chappell, this year it's putting a focus on what Chappell calls the 'invisible peloton'. The global nature of the event and the current Covid pandemic means that many of us may be riding alone, but we can imagine the support of our friends, family, or idols.
Fastest female in the 2016 Transcontinental Race, Chappell is no stranger to reaching into her reserves - and she explains in her book, 'Where there's a Will', that imagining friends and family around her has been instrumental in helping her to dig deep.
“The Invisible Peloton was born of that desperation you feel when you reach the bottom of the tank, realise you still have much further to go, and start frantically grasping at anything that might possibly keep you going, just a bit longer. You don’t have any strength left of your own, so you start borrowing other people’s," she says.
The campaign is being fronted by some of the heroes of women's cycling, with Rapha including women from a wide range of backgrounds and on different journeys within cycling.
As well as Chappell, Rapha has included para-cycling World Champion Kadeena Cox; author, presenter, and blogger Jools Walker; Lyndsey Frain - who has made it her mission to build awareness around endometriosis (and the relief she finds in cycling); also featured is lawyer and cycling advocate Shuhena Islam who has made it her mission to encourage Muslim women and people of colour to get on a bike.
As always, women are asked to share pictures of their rides on social media with '#womens100', and there's a collection of kit to mark the occasion, as well as a Canyon Endurance bike in custom colours. The brand has also patterned with Strava, allowing riders to measure their rides and celebrate each other's success by joining the challenge.
Each of the campaign's riders will be featured on the Women's 100 web page, where there's also information about support, virtual workshops, how to join the challenge and links to buy the celebratory kit.
In the lead up, Rapha will be supporting those preparing for it with training rides on Zwift and via virtual workshops.
The Rapha 100 kit includes:
- Women's 100 Pro Team jersey - £145
- Women's 100 Core jersey - £60
- Women's 100 Core bib shorts - £85
- Women's 100 socks - £15
- Women's 100 cap - £20
- Custom Endurace - £3299 with SRAM Force AXS eTap
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.
A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly.
When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.
She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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