So this year i decided to take part in the Rapha endorsed, Strava recorded Festive 500. Why you ask? Well I have never been very good at setting goals myself but seem to excel when something is put in front of me to aim for. Having completed the #rapharising challenge of the same ilk I knew that I really enjoyed the numbers game of riding with a set elevations needed, everyday plotting out routes that would maximize my gains. So with the #festive500 i did the same, sitting down the night prior to plot out enjoyable but long routes. The catch was that i needed to complete the challenge while not riding the last two days as it was surfing nye in Tofino. I came up with a couple 2 a day possibilities, a Leechtown, a TDV and a couple good post work as well....oh ya, was working the whole time too, minus Xmas day.
The riding wasnt so much about the mileage but more about what I could put myself through to achieve my goal. My brain struggles with self worth sometimes and that makes me forgoe my own ideas and "goals" to satisfy the needs of others. If I could actually focus on my needs to achieve what I needed to do. If I could realize that what I was doing, although scoffed at by others, was inmportant enough to me then i could do the mileage and be satisfied by the effort put forth.
On that note I will not bore you with particulars of each and every ride but instead focus on 2 in particular. Leechtown Proper and Tour de Vic. I am not the fittest, fastest or strongest riders out there and still being quite new to the road thing I havent done a lot of the hard rides around. I have done The Hat, Goldstream Heights, All the stuff through Metchosin and even the Shawnigan loop. That being said I believe the hardest ride in YYJ, physically and mentally is Leechtown. Now you may go look at the profile, the Kms, and even our speed ( cx bikes of course) and say that it really doesnt look that bad. Trust me when i say this ride is a BITCH. I compare it to sitting on a trainer for 4 to 5hrs with no breaks while someone reverses a shop vac and blows mud and water and gravel into your face. Its about as mentally stimulating as baseball and as hard as chinese arithmetic. The original goal was the red gate, just past Leechtown but after bacon feeders and some "off the saddle" time we said no fucking way. now anyone who has left Leechtown knows that that first 8km back to town is rockstar. It's a slight downhill, fast and makes you feel like you will be home in 30mins. not so grasshopper. Once it flattens out the only thing you notice are the km markers ticking down one by one testing your mental fortitude as your shift in the saddle, stand and stretch the back and calves, only to see 25km to go. That sign may as well say 240km in my head. Thankfully I had Mical's wheel to sit on so I just focused on her butt amd let her drag my carcass home. Cycling is funny, and cyclists have mild brain damage I think. I say this cause as much as I suffered, as much as my brain said dont do that, stop, get on a bus, I couldn't. It hurts more to quit then to continue. And once we were done I was planning the next 100km+ ride in two days. I wanna thank Mical and Parker for what, at that point, was my longest ride. I know its not a big deal for some, but it is a long day for me.
The second big loop of course was the TDV loop, far and away the longest ride I have even attempted. Kevin sent me an early am msg saying he was in, so I shot Bloom a message about 25mins before we left and of course he was game to go. Thankfully we have friends like Sylvia who was kind enough to take Laila all day while we got uncomfortable on road bikes.... of course for this one I had to ride a road bike, not the cx or I would still be out there pedaling. This ride if you've never done basically takes you through the best training and riding areas of the south island. There are lotsa great classic climbs, super fun descents and finishes reversing the classic waterfront loop. I had no expectations of this ride other then to be sub 5hrs and that I would be slow. After all the riding of the week I felt surprisingly good, mostly becasue Mical wouldnt let me in bed unless I had stretched. THX BB. All of this surprise blew up in my face when I hit Munns. I have done this climb enough to know where effort is needed and rest is required, but I was slow the whole way up. It wasn't really a gasser of pain, was just the body had one speed and there was a wall in front of it. Parker and Mical left us in the dust....but they always do so I was ok with it. Kevin had to peel at Wallace but secretly I think he had too much Mexico in the legs so Mical and Parker and I carried on the route. The brain through this whole ride was pretty good, not a lot of doubt or angst. I love riding through Metchosin, Highlands and a couple stretches back though the penisula so it wasnt a grind mentally so it is a lil easier. and on a plus side the only mechanical was when some odiot flatted. Was cool that Mr.Webb rode out to Toast Cafe to meet us for the rip back into town. The ride back in is where the butt gets a lil uncumfy. It was super chill till Ash road. Ash road is where you start the countdown of climbs left, thats 4left area. I again was blown out the back but my goal is to finish, not to finish fast and be roached for 3 days after. We were able to finish the ride with enough light to stop into Pro City Cycles for a beer and fake sangria and low and behold who shows up? Sylvia and Laila. Pretty much a perfect day.
The last day left me with 34kms to go, so Mical and I head out on a very chilly ride and honestly I am so cooked from the weeks effort that I really am in coutdown mode. Literally rode door to door with the mileage almost perfect. Mical asked if I wanted to do more just in case and said "hell no, my legs are fucked. " So i get upstairs, shower and eat then plug my garmin in , and this is where its funny. It said I was .3kms short of 500. Are you kidding?!?! One of my rides my garmin shorted 10 or so kms, not a big deal and didn't really bug me at the time but now I am mildly irritated. So I snatched my garmin, put it on my cx bike and rode to Esquimalt road and back. For those that have been to my house you know the extent of humour involved in this action. BANG, 500kms. thats it. now what? Well, fitness to fatness of course. I will continue to ride bikes, all bikes, all the time, with anyone from anywhere. Cycling isn't 'bout teams, kits, allegiances, who you ride with, who's bigger faster stronger where you ride, what you ride. its that you ride. If I have a fun ride it brings me to when you get your first bike growing up and that its your first mode of transport to allow you to explore the world. It brings back thoughts of going where you know you arent supposed to, but do anyway, like mtn biking Francis King nowadays. the best part about riding is riding, nothing more, nothing less. I am glad that Strava/ Rapha host this #festive500 and i was able to take part in it. I am even more glad that I have an understanding wife like Mical and friends that like to ride anything anywhere. Thanks for joining in and riding very slow with me :) Until the next challenge comes around you will see me around....riding!
|Chilly pre work start|
|Best ride partner|
|2aday first day|
|Still not there|
|"you are here."|
|still the best|
|nicest bike ive ever ridden|
|organizing the lailasitter|
|there was some sun|
|The Last Supper|
|longest ride, most elevation...ever|
|Thats all it took|