Outdoor adventures, mostly gravel rides, but not always


Rapha's annual winter challenge to ride 500KM in the eight days between Christmas Eve Day and New Years' Eve Day

By the Numbers

64 miles
3300 feet
Moving Time
Streams are plentiful; food available in Sequim.
Parked in Sequim at the high school though next time I’d park at the ODT park.

I’m a huge fan of Rapha’s annual #Festive500 challenge. The challenge rules are simple: ride 500KM in the 8 days between Christmas Eve and New Years’ Eve, inclusive. I look forward to it every year because there’s something about riding in the cold, dark, wind, and rain which appeals to me.

Date Daily Distance Accumulated Distance Remaining Distance
December 24 118 118 382
December 25 24 142 358
December 26 34 176 324
December 27 81 257 243
December 28 (nordic skiing) 257 243
December 29 103 360 140
December 30 41 401 99
December 31 104 505 0

December 24

Icy & frosty morning to kick off the challenge
Icy & frosty morning to kick off the challenge

I have long wanted to ride the Chilly Hilly course back-to-back. In preparing my riding schedule for #Festive500 I decided rather than back-to-back I’d ride three Chilly Hilly courses. The logistics would be simple, leave from the house and use the house as a SAG, and it would kick the week off with decent distance. That was the plan.

The plan failed. I had ensured the batteries were charged and the brake pads new but what I had failed to do (ever) was replace the CR2302 batteries in the brifters. I had ridden over 6K miles and they had never failed me – 9 miles from home, on the first day of #Festive500, and I was on the phone calling my wife to pick me up as I could no longer shift the rear cassette.

Fortunately we had spare batteries and I was able to replace both of them, eat lunch, and head back out. I ended up with a double Chilly Hilly. An inauspicious start.

December 25

An easy holiday ride on my normal route when I’m looking to ride about an hour or so.

December 26

A fun ride on the local trails and some of my favorite local roads (looking at you Tolo). At this point I wasn’t sure completing the challenge was in the cards. The following day would be important to keep within a reasonable finish.

December 27

Sunrays after the rain
Sunrays after the rain

My plan had me riding my standard 100KM Port Gamble loop. When I woke up it was raining, really raining, so I decided to wait out and see if the rain would let up. The hours passed and I eventually got out of the house a little after 11am. I decided to cut this ride short and only ride as far north as Lincoln Road in Poulsbo.

Today was the low point of the challenge. The cycling felt mindless and I was really questioning why I was putting in all the effort and time away from the family.

December 28

A much needed break for nordic skiing in the Cascades – definitely the reset I needed.

December 29

Mountains & farms
Mountains & farms

After a break from the bike, a big day was needed to get back on track and I knew I wanted to do something outside Kitsap. I put together a route covering some of the same roads on our Jimmycomelately ride but extended on flat roads by using the Tour de Lavender as inspiration.

This was a great ride. I continue to enjoy the gravel roads in the Blyn area and even rode Jimmycomelately Road in it’s entirety which I had never done. It’s always fun riding among farms and the flat quiet roads in Sequim made for a great day of touring.

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

December 30

Needing kilometers to give myself a shot on the last day, I enjoyed a mud ride around the Island – exactly what I needed to clear my head and gear up to complete the challenge.

December 31

Cold & rainy
Cold & rainy

The big finish required recruiting a friend to help push me over the line. R. joined me for the Port Gamble loop ride I failed to get in a few days prior; it was great to have a partner to push me in the final kilometers. It proper PNW fashioned in rained for a decent amount of the ride but we got it done.


  • Super excited to have completed the challenge
    • I had only one the low point mid-week when the weather sucked and I felt like I was mindlessly riding just to log kilometers (which I was)
  • Perhaps easier to mentally prepare for a few longer rides than several shorter rides?
  • I can only ride the Chilly Hilly course so many times


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