Rapha Festive 500 Challenge - Daily Diary
It’s 8am and misty rain is coating everything in sight. We have an ambitious goal of starting with a 60-miler - just long enough that we feel we’ve completed a fair amount, but not too long that we fatigue on the first day. I’m feeling hesitant about what we are about to take on, but I know we will complete the feat nonetheless.
Doug and Erik are joining us for the challenge, making things a bit more interesting. Erik has completed the challenge once before and we sense he might be sandbagging us with his comments about “not doing it this year” and “I’ll be your support team”. We know better than to fall for that old game.
We’re keeping the amount of climbing to a minimum knowing it’s best to save our legs for the rest of the week. With some steady ascents, we can get some easy mileage in on the descents.
I’m getting a bit bored around mile 50 when we finally reach the next town over and Doug suggests stopping for a coffee and grilled cheese. Of course, I fully support this idea. However, Erik decides to break off and complete the ride on his own. We find out later that Mr “Not this year” did a bit extra and cranked out an 80-miler.
Full and refreshed, we head out again for another 25 miles to turn our ride into a 75-miler. It was rather satisfying to ride more miles than we had planned. On the other hand, with saddle time approaching 5 hours in one sitting, my bum is quite sore. This might make things a bit more challenging going forward.
It’s Christmas, so Dad and I are hesitant to leave the family festivities. We decide to head out at noon after a brunch and a few homemade cappuccinos. Eric has already completed his ride for the day, but Doug joins us for 25 miles (for the 25th of December).
I’m happy to be home and I quickly regain what I’ve just burnt off in biscuits, stuffing and roast potatoes.
Feeling unmotivated and already quite exhausted, Dad and I are slow to get out. Mum joins us last minute for half of our planned route. Riding with Mum puts some wind in our sails again. We are tempted to turn around and go home with her, but we carry on with our goal of 50 miles for the day.
It’s just gone 12 and my hunger starts to suck out what energy I have left. Dad knows just the remedy. We stop at my favorite coffee shop for a bacon & egg sandwich, cappuccino and bearclaw. I’m ready for another 20 miles.
We decided to double back rather than complete a loop due to some gusty winds (facing a headwind will tire out our legs more than we need to at the moment), but we stay ahead on our mileage goal for the week.
I thought we weren’t going to ride today. Dad and I fell asleep on the couch after lunch and as 3 o’clock rolled ‘round, we were scrambling to get ready to fit in a quick 20-miler before dark.
Dad bought both of us a Rapha cycling cap and water bottle to commemorate the challenge so I was excited to use them right away.
The sun was low as we (Mum included) headed out, but we knew we had just enough time to complete what we needed to complete.
Not everything went quite as we had planned though.
Dad got a puncture - I’m grateful it was on one of our smaller rides. I forgot my rear light and my front light ran out of battery on the way home. We had a 25 mph headwind. Some dickhead in a Lexus honked at us. So not the best ride, but I’m really glad my Mum joined us again. She mediated the mood a bit.
I’m relieved we pushed through our exhaustion and went for a ride today because that means we are still ahead of schedule. I’ve also changed saddles, making all of this mileage a bit more bearable.
Today was a much more uplifting ride. We had a checkpoint: county line. I’ve never been that far out on Mines Road before so I was looking forward to some new scenery.
A ride with steady climbing and rolling turns - it was just what I needed to put some spring back in my step. Traffic was minimal as well, allowing us some freedom to stray a bit from the hard shoulder.
I felt a lot stronger today. It could’ve been the new route or it could’ve been the fact that we were more than halfway into our challenge, but I really enjoyed this one.
I kept an average heart rate of 134 bpm, making sure to continue to conserve as much energy as possible. The only time I went up to 181 bpm was when I beat Doug in a sprint to the county line sign. He’ll only tell you about how he overtook me on the downhill segment towards the end of the ride though. Maybe I need to put some bricks in my jersey pockets next time we ride downhill together.
The temperature dropped to 37 degrees Fahrenheit when we dipped into the shaded canyon approaching county line. I was very glad I brought my shoe covers and thermal gloves. It was pure bliss when we emerged to catch the last rays of the afternoon.