30 December 2015


A bit of a lengthy post combining my recaps from the #Festive500 rides 28th - 30th December.

The 28th saw a horrendous headwind make this ride a pain to finish. I can deal with wind for a bit but when it follows you no matter which direction it soon grates me down. I had hoped getting up early would mean I avoided the worst of the weather. Whilst it remained relatively dry the wind soon took it's toll on the 5th day of riding and so I made the decision to retire my ride early. 20 miles added to the Festive500 bank but I was worried the goal of completing the challenge would be slipping further away...

There were a lot of times during this ride I thought about turning home early. My legs were hurting, standing to climb was a challenge. But I couldn't get the idea of reaching Dartmeet out of my head and finally getting to the peak.

I made my way through Princetown, Two Bridges and carried on across the moors, Dartmeet in sight. A couple of climbs and descents later I neared the 12% downhill before it. I zoomed down the hill and reached the cattle grid at the base of Dartmeet. This is the one of the nastiest features of this climb. You pretty much have to come to a stop and slowly make your way over the grid, only to be greeted by an incline that instantly kicks up. I began the climb, legs already no cooperating. I paused where I had the first time I attempted it, contemplating turning back early. I thought about the Festive 500 challenge and how it was all about challenging ourselves. I decided to push on and finally tackle the rest of the climb. It hurt and I had to stop another time before reaching the top, but when I finally got there it was definitely worth it. Number 8 on the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs = done. Now I just need to return on a warm summers day and try to beat my time...

With Dartmeet finally conquered I start making the jouney home, passing a few groups of cyclists in the opposite direction. Home to cup of tea and a hot bath which relaxed my aching legs.

With reports of 50mph winds and torrential rain, I had essentially written off today as a cycling day. I rechecked the weather and the worst of the winds seem to be dissapeearing around 11am. I went out with the aim of 20 miles if the weather was okay. When I reached my potentail turnaround point, I decided to carry on. The rain was relentless, apart from a brief 5 minute period where it eased off. The wind on the other hand had relaxed a lot. With just the rain to cycle against, it actually turned out to be one of the best rides I've had so far in the 500k challenge. 40 miles cycled meant I edged closer to hopefully completing the last miles of this #Festive500.

Lesson learnt from today? Give it a go, you can always turn back. 

Now just the final push tomorrow to try and reach that magic 500k marker...

I'm taking part in the Rapha Festive 500 challenge on Strava. Cycling 500k in 8 days from the 24th-31st December. I'll be tweeting,instragmming and blogging my journey as part of documenting my progress.

Total: 424/500k.

27 December 2015


After the slight fail of yesterday's ride, it was time to redeem myself. The forecast again wasn't great, winds and heavy gusts were again forecast - but they weren't so bad as to not head out. It would be a challenge, but one that wasn't impossible. During my Ironman training I discovered a ton of routes, some of which I headed back to today during my short explore across Dartmoor National Park - one of the BEST places for cycling.
The winds today weren't as yesterdays but it was almost as if the winds got heavier as soon as I cycled passed the "Welcome to Dartmoor" sign. Thankfully there wasn't as much surface water today so I remained relatively dry, which was a lovely change! From there it was a short ride to Dousland, before looping around Burrator Reservoir. Dartmoor has some amazing views, all of which were sadly covered up by mist and fog this morning!

I started to make my descent off the moors and slightly altered my planned route to bring my down a bit quicker. Taking this different route however meant I was somehow faced with more climbing as parts of the route head up again before dropping down. With my Garmin nearly auto pausing due to the slow speeds up hill, I was very grateful to see the top. After a couple more short accents it soon leveled out meaning I was on the final flatish section home.

Although it was by no means a fast ride, I guess what matters most is getting the miles in. I had a great ride on the moors and it was nice to challenge the legs with some longer climbs and revisit my Ironman training ground again. It was home to a cup of tea and a shower to wash away all the mud and debris I'd picked up along the way. Just under 51 miles for this fourth day of #Festive500 riding.

Once again the lessen was learnt to just keep pedaling!

I'm taking part in the Rapha Festive 500 challenge on Strava. Cycling 500k in 8 days from the 24th-31st December. I'll be tweeting,instragmming and blogging my journey as part of documenting my progress.

Total: 243/500k.


Yesterday's ride (26th December) was a bit of a no go for Festive 500 attempt.
I woke up at 5am ready to get set for the day - with howling winds outside. I then checked multiple forecasts to see what would be in store for the rest of the day. With 40mph+ forecast from 6am to late into the evening it just wouldn't have been possible for me to go out. I'm not that strong a cyclist to battle heavy winds for extended periods of time. Instead I decided to cycle the short route down to the gym, and back, for a speed session on the treadmill. Even the cycle home was a bit of challenge so I think I made the sensible decision not going out for a long ride.

Today's, although still rather windy, went a lot better! A separate blog post coming on my ride from today is coming up this evening.

I'm taking part in the Rapha Festive 500 challenge on Strava. Cycling 500k in 8 days from the 24th-31st December. I'll be tweeting,instragmming and blogging my journey as part of documenting my progress.Total at the end of Boxing Day: 161/500k.

25 December 2015


First off - Merry Christmas everyone!

My plan from the beginning had always been to cycle on Christmas Day. One of the perks of being an early riser is that a 4:45am alarm sometimes isn't too bad. I was out the door just after 5am and on my way, with the aim of returning before 8 - and before the parents woke up.

The route plan for today was flatter one that yesterday's adventure. With the sky clear of rain for the first 10 miles I was optimistic that it was going to be a dry ride. Then the heavens decided to open. Aided by the headwind that seemed to be following my every move the miles seemed to be taking longer to tick off. My route mainly consisted of loops of a section of road, repeating this to rack up my miles before doing the 10 miles back again. I got to 25 miles and the rain, wind and surface water led me to the decision to head home. With 10 miles left to ride I knew the total for the day would be 35. Luckily the wind wasn't as bad on the journey home today. Torrential rain I can deal with for a couple of hours, but a relentless headwind just makes for unpleasent riding. The occasional heavy gust and a mostly calm(ish) breeze for the journey home.

As I neared my house, I couldn't get the idea of failing to do 40 miles out my head. This resulted in my circling past my home 4 times to make up the extra 5 miles to hit the average for the day. With 40 miles on my Garmin I was happy to be just ahead of target two days into the challenge. I arrived home to my parents having just woken up - perfect timing. A quick shower and change before tucking into some chocolate gold coins as a pre-breakfast snack. Now for a day of eating all the foods and a cosy film viewing.

I'm taking part in the Rapha Festive 500 challenge on Strava. Cycling 500k in 8 days from the 24th-31st December. I'll be tweeting,instragmming and blogging my journey as part of documenting my progress. 

Current total = 153/500k.

24 December 2015


If there's one thing I learnt from the pouring rain and horrendous headwind it's, just keep pedalling.

My Festive 500 got off to a very wet and windy start this morning. I began my ride later than usual as the 50mph winds that were forecast at 6/7am were very inviting. I was up by 6:30 for breakfast and then spent a bike of time going over my bike and making sure it was ready for the ride. I set off in the rain, the wind having slightly faded a little.

As I made my way up towards Dartmoor the rain got heavier, And heavier. With a lot of surface water and a the rain from above, I quickly got soaked through but was still warmed thanks to my Adidas kit. With torrential rain and a headwind making it all a little less fun I turned around on Dartmoor and decided to adjust my route.

As I reached my turn around point on the loop, the headwind lifted a lot. This meant for the last 25 miles my average speed dropped. I never thought about turning around to head home early. I wanted to make sure I atleast reached the 40 mile a day minimum. I returned home ready for cosy kit, food and a warm cup of tea. 

I'm taking part in the Rapha Festive 500 challenge on Strava. Cycling 500k in 8 days from the 24th-31st December. I'll be tweeting, instragmming and blogging my journey as part of documenting my progress. 

Current total = 89/500k.
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14 December 2015


Having only purchased my road bike last October, I only briefly discovered the Festive 500 after reading Sarah's blog. My bike mileage was low and there was no way this challenge would have been possible for me to do in 2014.  However, this year I'll be tackling the challenge to see how I fair!

Rapha's Festive 500 is an annual challenge encouraging riders to tackle 500km (around 312 miles) in the eight days from Christmas Eve's to New Year's Eve. If you spread that distance out over the full 8 days it equals just shy of 40 miles per day.

My plan for the Festive 500 is to rediscover some old routes I used for training during my Ironman preparation and to hopefully complete the full 500km. My fingers are crossed for some dry weather as well as some mild temperatures. I'll be mixing up the routes with some flat, easy routes as well as trying to get a good chunk of climbing in.

I'm planning to write a blog post each day documenting my rides each day and will be sharing the posts links via my Twitter and Instagram.

It all starts next Thursday, so who's in?!
Learn more about the Festive 500 here and join in on Strava: Rapha Festive 500 2015