Rapha Festive 500 Christmas 2016

This would be the second Festive 500 for me. Last year was terrible due to the very wet weather. What would this year bring?

My plan was to ride shorter rides twice a day where necessary to minimise the amount of time I was out. This was the plan but like a lot of plans things have to change.

Day one - 34.5 miles

Christmas Eve would be a day spent with the family before the big day when they would do their own thing. I got up early to do a short ride before my son arrived when the plan was to do a longer ride. Both rides today would be on the CX bike but with road tyres fitted. The second ride didn't go exactly to plan as the ride with my son was a little shorter than planned. Still, the weather was excellent and it was great to get the challenge started.

Day one CX bike on road

Day two - 32.5 miles

The title for this Strava ride was Grim. I was on the road bike but the weather was a bit damp, the roads wet and there was some wind especially on the exposed sections during the last 8 miles. I found this ride very tough but character building.

Day three - 28.7 miles

Woke up with a bit of a head cold but managed to get out on the bike. This would be the only ride of the day as I didn't want to do too much and make myself ill and risk not completing the challenge.

Day four - 47.6 miles

Today would consist of two rides. The first was basically riding around the village for just over an hour. This was monotonous but got another 20 miles in the bank so served a purpose.

The second ride was a little more interesting and consisted of riding a local loop and was rewarded with a beautiful sky near the end of the ride. Still got the head cold.

Beautiful sky

Day five -43.7 miles

Another two ride day with the first being early and had the benefit of the sunrise and the second seeing the sunset. Both rides were amazing and enjoyable

Not much to see on the second ride

Day Six - 54.8 miles

Another two ride day. Needs must as I had some miles to make up to get back on target. Tomorrow would be difficult as I would be out for most of the day.

The first ride was the most enjoyable as it was mainly off road and the sun was shining on a beautiful winter's morning

Cold, sunny day with ice on the lake. Stunning
Toot toot

Day seven - 13.2 miles

Today was never going to be a big day as most of it would be spent shopping. Once home I planned to ride twenty miles on the cx bike as that would leave me with about 46 miles to do on the final day.

Unfortunately my bike had other plans and at around the 8 mile point one of the pads in the rear brakes failed. This left me with a very slow ride home with only a front brake. I had to be extra cautious in case I met any horse riders as the front brake was very very noisy.

Stopped to take this picture and then the rear brake failed

Day eight - 62.1 miles

The final day had arrived. To complete the challenge I needed to ride around 56 miles. The plan was to ride a loop that included a few hills and take it steady. The weather for the first couple of hours was very foggy in places and the roads were wet. The average speed was slow but I wasn't interested in speed just 56 miles. As I neared home after a little over 4 hours in the saddle I had climbed 1,000 metres and I had ridden more than 56 miles which meant I had completed the Festive 500. I arrived home having ridden just over 59 miles and I said to my wife that I wanted to ride another 3 so that I could then complete the 100km ride to tick off another Strava challenge. So off I rode for another couple of miles and I arrived home for the second time only when the Garmin showed 62.1 miles.

Challenges complete :-)

Bike needs a good clean


  • Approximately 317 miles ridden
  • Had a head cold for the majority of the challenge. This made it much tougher to complete
  • 1 set of brake pads - CX bike
  • Two jockey wheels - Road bike
  • Approximately 14 litres of Skratch drink used, mainly hot
  • Three packets of Skratch chews
  • Four Clif Bars - My favourite choice of bar
  • Hunt Wheels Aero Four Season (road) - top quality wheels that gave no issues at all
  • Continental GP Four Season (Rear) 25mm Gatorskin wire bead (Front) 25mm - no punctures or problems :-)
  • Specialized Roubaix Pro CX bike on road
  • Specialized Trigger Pro 2Bliss tyres CX bike off road
  • Apart from jockey wheels on the road bike and rear brake pads on the CX bike I had no mechanicals or punctures.

Will I do it again? Watch this space

Created By
Paul Stewart


Paul Stewart

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