Monday, January 23, 2012

Rapha Festive 500 - Report



In December of 2011, Team Stuckylife decided to undertake Rapha's Festive 500, an informal competition between riders worldwide to log 500km in the saddle during the last week of the year. Rather than pursue our 500km goals as individuals, members of the team rode every day (sometimes twice a day!) in the dark, in the cold, and at night, to accommodate work schedules and family life and make achieving the 500km possible for everyone.

Click through for amusing personal anecdotes, poetic ramblings, and horror stories from the team.


Parker Bloom

First impressions
Lots of long rides. Epic Saltspring day trip. A good excuse to spend time with friends. So many coffee stops. Beecher bay and East Sooke Park. A lot of rain. Cleaning my bike.

Best ride: Victoria downtown to Leechtown. 55 km of the Galloping Goose trail.
The grade was mellow, but apparently that doesn't equal an easy ride. The final 20 km from the outskirts of Sooke up to the remains of Leechtown is one of the most exhausting stretches of false-flat gravel on lower Victoria Island. The Goose is stunning this time of year, and while dog walkers crowd the urban parts of the trail, it's more remote sections are clear and quiet. Being able to ride through several microclimates all within an hour's ride from town is remarkable.

It's quiet out there. When you look up from your handlebars and see nothing but that crescent of trees enclosing the horizon of the path, all memories of sunny summer riding seems secondary to the crisp clarity of December.

Food: Glorious all-day breakfast in Metchosin. Lots of little packets of jam- you've gotta get some sugar in. Too many plasticky packets of glucose goop. Bagels and cream cheese all across the peninsula. Coffee. Experiments with substituting caffeine with Hot Chocolate. Back to coffee. Jagermeister.

Cleaning: Crunchy BB in the track bike after Clay's Three Ferry ride (Clay's Saltspring Epic).
1 bright orange track chain, and 11 bright orange ball bearings extracted from each cup after 10hrs of wet and three days of neglect. Even if your knees and hips don't feel like they can make it, it's worth taking your bike down to the shop to clean it up. And lots of worms plastered to my downtube.

Planning: Riding side by side with friends for the 20 hours of the Festive offered countless conspiratorial moments. Extensive plans for a warm summer of riding bikes have been made, with every beach beer stop decided on, and countless lake swims deliberated. We've got races coming, randonnées planned, brewery visits in mind and stops on several Gulf Islands, to which you're all cordially invited.

Distance: 700 km in 9 days.





Andy Achuff


Having come from a place (Edmonton) where riding outside every day from Christmas to New Years is usually impossible, if not suicidal, I opened my mouth and said it would be a great idea to tackle the Festive 500. Then I had to back it up.

What did I learn? 
I will show up and ride for hours in the rain and dark, just because other people will, and riding with everyone showed me some of the best routes and roads in the area. I can’t wait to ride them again in the warm and dry!

If someone builds you a kickass set of lights, any excuse for not riding at night is just that: an excuse. And I never really appreciated fenders before. But now.....

There is no substitute for great company. Thanks to everyone who participated! Same time next year?

Distance: 543 km. 9 rides.





Clay Webb

The Instigator:
When I saw that Rapha was once again putting on the Festive 500 challenge, I figured the Stuckylife team had to get on board. I knew coming into the holiday that I was going to be tied up with a variety of family and holiday commitments, so for me, the 500 wouldn’t begin until Boxing Day. I could have just started out with a nice mellow spin to get the legs ready for a week of hard riding, but decided it would be a better idea to kick of the week with something really stupid, and one evening after a few festive beverages and a session on Google maps the plan was hatched. I just needed to find a few bastards crazy enough to join me. Luckily, Parker and Halldor are no strangers to taking on stupid epic rides on track bikes with me, so I figured they would be up for the challenge. Parker did take a little coaxing, claiming it was a crazy ride to tackle on track bikes, but he joined on regardless. 

What’s so fucking crazy about a ride on track bikes featuring three ferries, 140km, cold weather, greasy roads with loads of climbing and not enough daylight to possibly complete the ride before darkness?
Distance: 500km in 4 Rides






Dan Leonard



We'll let the pictures do the talking.




Gillian Carleton

The kick off to the Festive 500 on December 23rd was my first time in the saddle for more than an hour after crashing and breaking my pelvis in November, and the prospect of logging some serious chamois time after not walking for three weeks was daunting. The 500 provided great motivation to get training again, and by the end of the month, my 15 minute roller rides had turned into 4 hour hilly epics.

Best ride: On Boxing Day, Brandon and I braved the clusterfuck that is BC Ferries during the holidays, and rode 80+km through Sidney, Ladner, and South Surrey with full messenger bags to visit friends and family. Christmas dinner never tasted so good.

Distance: 484 km in 7 rides

Gillian's first 100km ride in 2 months.