Rapha's annual winter challenge to ride 500KM in the eight days between Christmas Eve Day and New Years' Eve Day
By the Numbers
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 28||(nordic skiing)||257||243|
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.
An easy holiday ride on my normal route when I’m looking to ride about an hour or so.
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.
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.
A much needed break for nordic skiing in the Cascades – definitely the reset I needed.
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.
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.
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 really want to participate in the Seattle Rapha Brevet
- I can only ride the Chilly Hilly course so many times