The Rapha Prestige Midwest: Humidity Reigns – Kevin Scott Batchelor

The Rapha Prestige Midwest: Humidity Reigns
Words and photos by Kevin Scott Batchelor

The last time I got the call to cover a Rapha Prestige event, I found myself wondering how any of the teams were going to handle the brutal course that had awaited them. More than 130 miles with 14,000 feet of climbing, on mixed terrain, with dizzying temperatures, sounded much more like a stage in the Vuelta than something my friends might ride. LA was a monster, complete with jagged teeth and scorching breath. With only a fraction of the teams finishing what was surely the hardest ride of their riding lives, this would be the last of the pro tour level parcours, right?

The Rapha Prestige Midwest: Humidity Reigns

On paper, the organizers had come to their senses when they laid out the Rapha Prestige Midwest route. Twenty miles shorter and five thousand less feet in elevation gain seemed more in line with a challenging route for regular humans. As is often the case in life, “on paper” isn’t worth much more than the paper it was printed on. The non-stop rolling terrain, loose gravel, high temperatures, and downright abusive humidity gave the participants all they could handle and more. For at least four of the riders, a dance in the cornfields left them with heat exhaustion they won’t forget.

The Rapha Prestige Midwest: Humidity Reigns

As temps ticked toward unbearable and my t-shirt clung to me, it became obvious I would be handling double duty for this event…photos and heavy support. With the back of my trusty Subaru packed with as many gallons of water as it would fit, we set out on the roads. Hindsight would soon tell me that it wasn’t nearly enough. Perhaps the organizers hadn’t lost their edge after all. Despite the conditions and course doing everything they could to stymie the smiles of the riders, fun was had by all, even if it was type 2 fun.

The Rapha Prestige Midwest: Humidity Reigns

Thanks to everyone who made this one another unforgettable day!


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  • Tyler Shannon

    So good! #31 is fantastic

  • DVK

    The Driftless Area is some of the best riding I’ve ever experienced. Highly recommend the portion in Wisconsin–endless rolling hills, timbered hollers, limestone bluffs, and trout streams. Oh, and more Amish buggies than cars.

  • Matthew J

    The driftless region at the corners of Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin is great riding country. Lot of empty roads twisting up and down steep albeit not all that high terrain. Worth the trip.

  • Can’t even tell you how hard that day was…so hot!

  • Steve Helberg

    #7, interesting shift-lever…

    • Søren Nejmann

      Hmm… Sram Wireless?

    • Bradley Tompkins

      SRAM Wireless??

      • SRAM Wireless has been seen in the Chicago area for the past couple of years. They had several employees out there. It’s pretty wild!

    • Steven

      What bar tape is that?

  • professorvelo

    MW fo’ever

  • Great stuff from Kevin as usual. Team Tallcorn didn’t make this gallery, but we did manage to grab a few shots along the way (heat, humidity, and hills notwithstanding!):

  • beerali

    Love the bib length difference in #36. Different strokes for different folks. Clearly some long term tan line cultivation going down!