How to Ride Rapha’s Festive 500

About 3 years ago I rode the festive 500…actually it would be fairer to say it rode me. Christmas eve morning I woke up with a slight pain in my neck, I ignored it and rode to and from work (a 60km round trip) and thought nothing more of it. I was working between Christmas and New Year so it seemed the perfect excuse to commute to work on those days bringing me closer to my holiday goal of 500km. By the end of the week that niggling pain had become almost unbearable and I was in A&E come January, I was then immobilized and subject to a couple of months of physiotherapy, acupuncture, electro-stimulation treatment and any stab in the dark that I thought might stand a small chance of getting me back on my feet and more importantly my bike again. Thankfully I made a full recovery and despite being told I wouldn’t be able to ride a road bike with drop handlebars again I was pleased to prove the naysayers wrong, with their years of training and expert medical opinions, pah!

Christmas 2016. I had some time off work but declared that although I might sign up to the festive 500 I wouldn’t break into a panic if I didn’t make the distance. And for me this year, this was the secret. I sneaked up on it, I looked the other way pretending not to play while secretly popping out to clock up a few cheeky kilometers. Bolstered by a decent club ride at the start of the week and a hefty 130km effort mid-week (See my next post on – How to ride the Leith Hill Octopus) and suddenly by Thursday morning it was within reach. I’d not stressed about it, just calmly taken each day at a time. Stepping out into the cold each morning got easier each time and quickly the kilometers added up. The final ride was a group ride with friends in Bristol, 60km out to the coast for coffee and cake, the perfect way to finish the week and with Leige-Bastogne-Leige just under 4 months away the perfect start to the New Year training schedule.