12 riders from Rapha completed the Bryan Chapman Memorial this weekend.
Not heard of it? It's one of the most challenging events on the UK audax calendar: 600km across Wales, with extremely limited sleep. 

On Tuesday, the 12 riders were back in Rapha HQ.
Ordinary life resumes after being superhuman just 48 hours ago.
They've been through emotions and experiences that deserve to be heard, so I asked them three questions straight from the saddle. 

MEMORABLE MOMENTS:

No one moment, there was so many - falling to the back of the team and seeing them riding in immaculate formation looking perfectly turned out, the new route adding in a section of almost dreamlike quality, the constantly high spirits, the sunset, eating eating and eating more, the products working perfectly, snippets of conversation from other riders. Basically everything going to plan.

Descending Pen-y-Pass at sunset. The light was amazing at the top but I thought we'd missed the sun going down. As we turned the first corner, there it was - a huge peachy orb sinking slowly into the clouds. 10-minutes later and we'd have missed it. Magical. 

My single strongest memory is the whirr of cassettes and the zing of tyres on tarmac. I couldn't talk much during the ride because I was concentrating on keeping up and riding in formation so I did a lot of listening. 

I think it would be the panic I had at the start. The first 80k it felt like my heart was going to explode with fear and excitement. Second memory.  There was one feed stop before the 90k back to the hostel. I looked around and everyone looked so messed up. It really brought home what we were putting our self through. 

WHAT DO YOU MISS NOW YOU'RE OUT THE SADDLE?

How smooth the roads were, and how fresh the air was.

Th escapism. Having to think about more than just riding and eating feels particularly abrasive today.
 
I miss being able to focus on something as simple as the next climb or the next 100K, to the exclusion of everything else. The tunnel vision you develop when riding your bike for a long period of time is a real luxury, and in a ride that long I usually don't really want to think about the finish. I just have to think about things in increments of time or mileage.  

Eating beans with every meal! Having one focus it was amazing. 

WHAT DID YOU LEARN, THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW 600KM AGO?

I realised about 100k in, that 10%(?) of the London office was on the ride, and everyone finished happy and strong. That's impressive. Not sure another company has fostered that sense of adventure and camaraderie in their employees. 

We're stronger together. I mean, I always knew this but the BCM brought it into focus like nothing else. I can't count the amount of chats, back pats, texts and jokes that kept me going this weekend. Without each other, there's no way it would've been such an incredible and enjoyable experience. 

I really thought doing this ride I would be enlightened or figure out I was good and mathematics. None of this happened I just got to have a great weekend with friends doing what we love doing and I'm still shit at maths.  

I didn't know I could ride so far on Tesco biscuits and instant coffee!

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Riders quoted: Graeme Raeburn, Mark Errington, Kati Jagger, Lucy Mullen
Photography: Harry Dowdney, taken from Rapha UK instagram
See Mark's photo-set: http://mark-erro.tumblr.com/