2016 FESTIVE 500
Since 2010, Rapha has been challenging me (and thousands of others) to ride 500km over the last eight days of the year (between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve). I've always wondered if I could complete the challenge, but I've never seriously attempted it. Instead, I would doubt myself every year and I'd opt to take the safe route and play "wing man" for others looking for some company as they hammered out the miles. This year started out much that same way. However, on Christmas night, after trading some texts with friends, I committed myself to the Festive 500.
While the overall distance itself wasn't necessarily a challenge, knowing you needed to average 44.4 miles per day to complete the challenge in seven days (I didn't ride on Christmas) was mentally taxing. Lucky for me, I have an amazing group of friends, and I leaned on them to help me get to the finish line. In fact, I don't think I could have done this without them. There was a stretch in the middle of the challenge where I rode by myself and those miles ticked by so slowly. The wind and rain didn't exactly help either. By Day 6 (and my third solo ride), I couldn't stomach anything more than a 20 mile ride.
However, for the last two days, I put my head down to finish strong. It didn't hurt the final two rides were designed around a food stop. On Day 7, we headed north to Snohomish in search of a slice of pie at Snohomish Pie Company and on the last day, we stared at our GPS units counting down those final miles until we could duck into Meet the Moon Cafe for celebratory coffee and pastries.
After years of wondering, I now know I can do the Festive 500! It was an interesting mental journey for me. It wasn't always easy but I'm glad I participated. And, a huge thank you to my friends for truly making this a festive challenge. Without them it would have been the Rapha &^%$#@ 500 as there was nothing festive about riding in the rain and cold while battling head winds by yourself.
My Festive 500 summarized: