The 2012 North West Rapha Gentlemen’s Race #RGR

Last year, the NW Rapha Gentlemen’s Race was one of my favorite events to document. There’s something classic about staring down a 200k, grueling, day’s-length ride and greeting it with acceptance, not anxiety. Each of the 26 teams this year were rolling fast and the course was even more epic’er than last year’s, totaling 122 miles and over 11,000′ of climbing.

The stage was Government Camp, Mt. Hood and included two loops through the countryside before ending with a gnarly 10 mile gravel climb. Reports came in of it being akin to a Civil War battlefield, with wheels and riders lining the road in shambles.

My day wasn’t nearly as painful, as I hopped in a support car and hung out of the window, taking what I could.

Click on the above photo to launch the gallery, or here to open in a new tab, also see the complete results below.

1 River City Bicycles 6:53
2 Cycle Path 7:09
3 Wooly Mammoth 7:17
4 Ritte Racing 7:21
5 Donkelope 7:24 (first to finish)
6 Bicycle Haus 7:31
7 Rapha Racing NW 7:37
8 Half Fast Velo 7:38
9 The Super Fun Bend Team 7:45
10 Chris King 7:53
11 Trusty Switchblade 8:11
12 Rapha Continental 8:20
12 Portland Velo 8:20
14 Grundelbruisers 8:27
15 Upper Echelon 8:42
16 Ten Speed Heroes 8:44
17 Lost Highway 8:53
18 HUP United 8:59
19 Cars R Coffins 9:08
19 Mission Cycling 9:08
21 West Coast Women 9:18
22 West Lion 9:24
23 Blue Competition 9:57
24 Velo Dirt 10:10 Lanterne Rouge winners
25 Sorella Forte 10:15
26 Team Beer 10:31

  • Matthew Long

    Wow, images are amazing. Pin sharp.  Thank you!

  • Mr Bridge

    Killer set John, that looked like a grand day out.

    • John Watson

      Weather was perfect too. Upper 70’s.

  • Nick Valdes

    Wow.  This may be the best set yet.  Definite ride envy going on now.

  • Wilis

    God damn John, Nice work!

  • donalrey

    Loving the shots man.  

  • gabrielamadeus

    Good to meet you briefly at the 7/11, and thanks for shooting. 

    • John Watson

      Ditto dude!

  • Geo

    Holy cow. Killer shots

  • Jbolt86

    Wooly Mammoth killin’ it for ATX!

    • John Watson

      They had the best kit. Down to the custom Jawbones!

  • vicky

    U r so sexy prolls

  • Michael

    Damn, there are some awesome landscapes to roll through up there.

    • John Watson

      It was pretty rad!

  • Slate O.

    Oregon, it’s for dreamers.

    Thanks for coming out John.
    Can’t wait to see you ride it next year.

    • John Watson

      You bet! Can’t wait.

  • Ben Jay Stoddard

    beautiful photos Dude! Out of curiosity did you use any kind of filter/photo finishing with these shots?

    • John Watson

      No filter, just a little bit of post.

  • Tucker

    This is too cool.  When I get out from under Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae, adventures like this are at the top of my list.

  • Robert martelli

    Hey man, what are you shooting these on? Looks nice.

    • John Watson


  • Jamie McKeon

    #51 is so ace dude!

  • Chris

    I just want to be a part of something like that one day.

    Nicely done as usual Mr. Watson.

    • John Watson

      Thanks man. I can’t wait to actually ride it for once!

  • Guest01

    I’ve been following your progression for years now mate and I have to say these are phenomenal. Theres an energy to them that isnt easy to catch. Bravo.

  • James


  • Kim


  • Powell

    #61 is fuckin’ metal

    • John Watson


    • Destroi

      destroi mother earth = metal

  • ⚒ d.patrick1a ⚒

    Some great photos in there!

  • Guest

    so beautiful. is there a route?

  • CyclePhoto

    top notch photography. what kit did you use? nikon or canon bayonet?

    • John Watson

      This entire set was shot with a Canon 5DMkii and a Canon f2.8 70-200 L mki – almost all photos were shot wide open…

  • PDXracer

    last year’s race was more epic harder

    • John Watson

      It would appear so. I think it definitely was.



  • Adnan

    awesome photoworks 

  • Nathan Jackson

    I really love your photos!