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RPI challenge

Stefanie Wilmert

Stefani
I had an Incredible experience with the RPI (Rebecca’s Private Idaho) Challenge this past 8 weeks. This year was the 8th year and due to COVID, had a virtual setup. The whole experience included Training Peaks training plans, members only weekly Science and Stoke Zoom meetings, and expert nutrition advice from Namrite Brook and other expert guests with Rebecca Rusch was motivating. The training plans went along with your choice of challenge. There was the Queen’s Stage race: a three day stage race that culminated with a 102 gravel ride. The Baked Potato, a 192 mile option, the French Fry, 56 miles, and the Tater Tot, 26 miles. Each ride option also had a specific amount of elevation. When designing our course to race it needed to meet these specific requirements as well as be at least half gravel. The French Fry, 56 miles and 4309 feet of climbing, was out of my comfort zone and something I really wanted to obtain but would require all the things offered to me in the experience to complete.

I arrived “late” to my start point because of a bad route on my part. During my ride I also took a wrong turn more than once but it was an absolutely stunning day on a beautiful course in the Blue Ridge mountain area around Dahlonega GA. My 56 mile course took me up Coopers Gap, Springer Mountain and then down Winding Stair. It was super challenging with lots of beautiful scenery along mountaintop vistas and rumbling creeks with waterfalls and leg burning climbs. I was solo on this with scooter sweep from my hubby making sure I was safe out there. I had lunch at Primitive Baptist after Noontoola decent at the halfway point; peanut butter & jelly, almonds, nectarine and Starbucks iced coffee helped fuel my finish. So glad I had hydrated well with Infinite!

Stefani during the RPI Challenge 2020
I felt so accomplished when my Ride with GPS rolled over to 56.1 but a little defeated when Wahoo showed only 54.9 and then showed only 54.8 on Strava upload. I did get this straightened out and the upload to the Challenge showed me completing the 56. I completed 6769 feet of climbing and boy my legs feel it. The event had virtual podiums in a zoom meeting and finisher prizes after all rides were uploaded to Strava! The race promoters were very specific on the date of the Challenge and timeline in which the files had to be uploaded to Strava. I used a Wahoo bolt to record my ride. I am so very very happy, content and rewarded to have completed this #RPIChallenge and would recommend it to anyone wanting to challenge themselves. I truly loved this!

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