Sunday, December 25, 2016

The 2016 Festive 500

At this time of year there is the Festive 500 challenge  - to ride 500km between Christmas eve and New Year. Every year I think, 'that'd be great to do' and I never do.

Here's cycling magazine recommendations for completion of the Festive 500.

So this year I said I would and then it dawned on me that in the 8 days of the Festive500 I have 2 hardcore cyclo cross races which, although they tire me out only count for 12km and leave me without the time or inclination to do anything else.

I also like to go out for a mountain bike ride with Glyn and TSK and this year we combine with the extra pleasure of meeting Glyn's new laydee. So I won't be missing out on that. Mountain bike rides are, by their nature, shorter and mostly harder than road rides.

Cycling Weekly recommends that I avoid hilly rides to churn out the kms. Fortunately I live in Sheffield so avoiding climbs isn't a thing. Apart from being pretty bad at climbing, I actually really like it. The challenge, the warm, the rhythm, the change of position on the bike, the focus.

Thanks to my japanther boots, the cold is no longer an issue. I am hoping that yesterday's wind fest was the worst of it so I have already ridden through the toughest, riskiest day of the 8.

When there's cyclo cross on the cards though, pacing myself isn't going to help. When I was passed yesterday by Sheffrec's 22mph pace group there was nothing I could have done to jump on the back for a lift due to being half way through a strength training regimen that leaves me a little more tense and more exhausted everytime I do it so I will have to settle for what pace I get and with my legs and the storm, yesterday's was 10.5mph.

A day off. Well. Based on doing reasonably well in one of those cross races, a day off is essential but does reduce the number of days available to ride kms.

So how do I do the Festive 500 then? Well, I don't. With maths though, I will find a way. Whether I double my off road miles as 2 wheeled chick suggested or multiply my miles by their training zones or count every 100metres elevation as 1km (giving me an extra 24km yesterday). I might somehow achieve my own Festive500. Whether Rapha send me a cloth badge through the post or not is not something that I will not lose sleep over in 2017. Will I have had more fun on a bike than someone ploughing through Cambridgeshire lanes in he dark and pissing rain? Maybe so.  All we can be sure of is I will have ridden more different bikes in more varied conditions with a wider selection of friends from Britain's quiet cycling elite to work colleagues who go back 20 years.

I am happy that's going to fulfil my Christmas wishes.

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