Rapha Prestige: Kamikatsu

Lee Basford
4 min readNov 28, 2018

Possibly the toughest Prestige in Japan to date took place over a weekend in the remote mountainous area of Kamikatsu, Tokushima, on the island of Shikoku. Famous for it’s unspoiled mountainous landscape and zero waste mission. With a contrast of falling cherry blossoms, almost 4,000 meters of climbing and the longest gravel road in Japan — 35 teams from across the globe pushed themselves beyond their limits on the beautiful but punishing 150km parcours with only 7 finishing.

5AM traditional Japanese breakfast

To date, over 1200 riders from 300 teams have covered countless kilometres at Rapha Prestige events. From the roads connecting the hidden villages in the mountains of Japan to the overwhelming humidity of America’s Midwest, each Prestige offers something unique. Teamwork is essential in these unsupported and unmarshalled adventures across stunning terrain, all members must stay together over the challenging course.

“The mountains of Japan’s Shikoku region are profound, the hum of tires on asphalt highlights their silence. We climbed the third mountain, minds focused, acutely aware of the moss-covered ground beneath our wheels. The damp tunnel awaiting us at the top of the climb seemed to suck us in, initially losing our balance as we entered the darkness, then blinded by the bright sunlight on the other side.” Masanao Ochi

The first tunnel of the day leading to longest gravel road in Japan.
Lee Basford

Designer, photographer, illustrator and artist. living in and around the overlap of art, design, photography and bikes | humankind.jp leebasford.com