Festive 500: It’s in the bag!

In the immortal words of NBA Jam …. Boom shaka laka!

With a final gentle ride today I completed the Rapha Festive 500! Thanks to an epic solo mission yesterday I found myself ahead of schedule. Something of a rarity for me I managed to stay on track and stick to my game plan. Actually I finished a day earlier than I had anticipated. That forward planning really paid off.


It was good fun, but I don’t think I’ll do it again. Having the time and opportunity to spend so many hours on the bike over the festive period is not something that happens very often! I was lucky this year. Also apart from the first day the weather has been pretty kind. So let’s check out my trusty spreadsheet:



You can see I didn’t quite hit my 320 target, but to complete the challenge I only needed to ride 311 miles so I did what I needed to do. Today’s 28 miles were very gentle on very tired legs.

Just as Rapha promised, it has been the “gift of fitness” at Christmas. Having ridden for the fifth consecutive day yesterday I really noticed an increase in endurance as I cranked out my first ever imperial century. Now to carry that fitness into the new year!



Festive 500: Half time score

My Festive 500 spreadsheet is looking pretty good! As planned I completed a big ride on the first day. It was a tough ride through some pretty grimy weather. I probably pushed a bit too hard, but it needed to be done.


The ride on the 26th I cut short as it was below freezing. I delayed the start until mid morning and it was still -1.5 deg C even then! To keep the legs in the groove I added a short and very gentle ride today.

raphaI’m over half way through the mileage needed with half of the challenge days over. I really need to stay focussed and keep the momentum going in order to get this completed. Looking forward to a good night’s sleep then straight back in the saddle in the morning!


Festive 500: First day, first ride

Christmas Eve and it’s the first day of the Rapha Festive 500! :-) As per my previous post I had a bigger ride pencilled in for today. I was planning on a pre-7am start, but the conditions were poor to the point of being dangerous, so I delayed until 8am for safety.

It was truly grimy out there this morning. Looming grey skies, horizontal rain and blowing an almighty howling gale! The rain subsided after a couple of hours, but the wind was relentless for almost the entire ride. Battling along at crawling pace into a block headwind was not much fun. Total for the day was 150km at a 27kph average.


So an admirable start to the Festive 500, also the December Gran Fondo completed and the best home made sausage roll ever at the cafe stop in Tenderton too.

That’s 30% of the challenge out of the way already!

Retro bike fettling with Dad

I’m having a bit of R&R time down at Mum and Dad’s before the Festive 500 starts in a few days. This morning I was mostly tinkering with some retro and custom bikes that Dad has in the shed. Here he is test riding the “longrider” custom cruiser:


The bikes were packed up with the rest of their belongings earlier this year and shipped by sea from Australia. Dad’s a bit of a “tinkerer” himself, which is where I get it from!

Photogram-20141222112342The bike hadn’t been ridden since the move so was in need of some care. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve messed around with Sturmey Archer internal gear hubs! This particular 3-speed hub was stamped 1986. Almost as old as me. The bike is a chopped road frame of unknown origin and most of the parts have been sourced from various other donor bikes over the years.

I’ve got my own bike to start working on soon. It’s a beach cruiser brought over from the US by a friend of a friend. It sat outdoors in the elements for around four years rotting away before they moved back. It’ll be my winter project, obviously the basket will be the first thing to go!


See, I’m not all “need for speed” road warrior! I’ll probably strip this one down, paint it black, add some white wall tyres, new bars and saddle plus a few other “rat rod” style touches then use it to cruise the beach front boulevard! They see me rolling… :-)

Festive 500: A bit of planning

With less than a week until the Rapha Festive 500 kicks off, I thought I’d get cracking on a plan on how I’d be able to clock up the 311 miles required. On average I am going to need to cover just under 40 miles per day across the eight days between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

To get a good head start I’ve put my longest ride on the first day of the challenge, that way I can hopefully stay ahead of the game. It can be a busy time of year so I’ve sat down and figured out exactly when I can ride and how many miles I need. This is my ideal riding plan:


December 27th is out due to commitments and travelling, although I might squeeze in a couple of miles that evening if I can spare the time. I’m hoping to have this in the bag and not have to ride on the 31st, but it’s free if I need to.

Technically I “only” need 311 miles so aiming for 320 gives me a small margin. In the summer during the holidays this would be a breeze (damn you people doing it in the Southern Hemisphere) but in the depths of winter this could be tough.

Better pack a warm jacket!  #festive500

The call of winter miles…

Winter rides, how we learn to love them. Awake before the birds and well before sunrise, pull on layer after layer of clothing (all carefully laid out the night before) then out the door. Friends think you’re mad and maybe you are. Why on earth would anyone want to cycle at this hour and in these conditions? Why do we do it?

Check the weather one last time. Rain? Wind? Chill to the bone temps? It’s all irelevent as long as there’s no black ice. Today we ride. Solo or with a group we clock up the miles. Besides, the coffee tastes better when it’s earned through hard winter mileage.


It’s out with the winter steed too. Laden with mudguards and lights it’s certainly no feather weight. Don’t forget those dependable winter tyres too. No matter, it just adds to the training that’ll make us stronger come spring time. Pure workhorse. There’ll be no summer speed machine today.

We all yearn for another ride on that slick summer beauty. Mine is currently bolted to the turbo, tempting me to hop aboard and endure another drenched-in-sweat interval session rather than hitting the road.

deer_parkBut the road, she calls.

A call that must be answered.

After all, I am a road cyclist…