Rapha Festive 500: Roll Into The New Year Fit As A Fiddle
Saturday, December 20, 2014
By now fair-weather cyclists have hung up their wheels until Spring, but heartier souls don their cold weather riding apparel and head for the hills to join the Festive 500, where thousands of participants from around the world commit to riding 500 kilometers (that's 310 miles for us Yanks) between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
Now in its fourth year, the Festive 500 traces its origin to Rapha's Lead Designer, Graeme Raeburn, who rode 1000 kilometers during the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Raeburn combined cold-weather product testing, with base miles, and a family visit in one epic adventure. The following year, Rapha invited friends and customers to match (half of) Graeme’s feat, and a festive tradition was born.
Rapha offers prized for three categories of riding; Most Inclement, Best Story, Prix de la Combativité, and Best Photography, as well as a Grand Prize for Creativity. The 2014 Grand Prize is a gorgeous, tig-welded steel frame by Rapha Continental builder and rider, Ricky Feather. Everyone completing the challenge will receive a finisher's roundel from Rapha.
To help riders keep track of their miles Rapha has partnered with Strava. At present there are over 36,000 registered participants signed up to ride 500 inclement kilometers in just eight days.
If peer pressure and the promise of great base miles and holiday fitness and cheer aren't enough to get you out there in the rain, consider the perks. Share your experience on social media to be entered for fantastic prizes. In the past, Rapha has received entries in the form of photo journals, hand-bound illustrated pamphlets, videos, postcards, and email. Riders can also use the #festive500 hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to share their stories and be entered into the drawings for prizes.
Portland cyclist Matt Meskill is looking forward to riding again in this year's event after a broken ankle prevented him from riding in 2013. Coerced into the challenge a few years ago by a friend, it's now become something of an annual tradition. Meskill offered the following advice for first-timers:
- Plan your rides around flat routes. Avoid climbing because the goal is to get base miles, so why make it harder than necessary to do that?
- Extend your commute. If it's normally just 5 miles, take the long way home. Stretch it into 20 miles. Those shorter trips add up during the week.
- Ride every day. Don't think if you miss a few days you can just make up for it on the weekend. You'll regret it later.
Meskill came perilously close to not meeting the challenge one year when he failed to heed his own advice on that last point: he skipped a ride earlier in the week and wound up needing to put in close to 100 miles one day. About 5 miles from home Meskill got a flat. "I was tired, cold, and just wanted to bo done" he reports. "But I did it. It was tough, but at the end of it was this sense of real accomplishment. You feel happy, and not just because it's over."
Those brave, hearty, and downright stubborn souls who ride through the winter know: suffering on the bike together somehow lessens the amount of suffering solo. For those who feel daunted by riding in the cold, never fear: Rapha is renowned for making some of the finest (and handsomest) cold-weather cycling gear in the world. So suit up, saddle up and head out to make stories with friends.
If you've never ridden seriously during the winter in the Pacific Northwest, here's a friendly, tough challenge to keep you on your toes, provide that extra nudge to get off the sofa and on the saddle, and be fitter than you've ever been rolling into the New Year.
For more information, visit the Rapha website.
Photos courtesy Rapha.
Related Slideshow: Holiday Gift Guide for Beer Lovers
It’s the holiday season and if you’ve been wondering what to get the beer lover in your life, the wait is over.
Rogue Dead Guy Wallet
Mindy’s Beer Gear Rogue Dead Guy Wallet
Mindy makes a lot of cool beer gear. She has been at it for a while so she is good at it. A good place to start is with a wallet. Made from a recycled 6-pack box, the Rogue Dead Guy Wallet will be a conversation starter for years and will keep the money safe all the way to the pub.
Phone Case Bottle Opener
Phone Case Bottle Opener
The number of products to buy that come with a bottle opener is staggering and sometimes just odd (bottom of a flip flip? Gross!). As someone who had this case prior to upgrading my phone, I can attest that it is a handy place to have a bottle opener.
Photo Credit: Be a Head Case (image cropped)
If the beer lover in your life is considering brewing, a good place to start is with a homebrew kit. Available at any local homebrew shop, be warned that if they haven’t brewed before, you might be starting a time consuming, expensive habit.
Cost: $30.95 and up
Phone Credit: FH Steinbart (image cropped)
If they already have everything, they are ready for a kegerator. There are a million ways to adapt an old fridge (the college sized ones work best) and you can even buy a conversion kit. The folks in the draft department at FH Steinbart will help you out with that. If you want to skip the hassle, you can buy one designed for the purpose.
Photo Credit: iStock (image cropped)
Brewvana Beer Tour
Brewvana Beer Tour
It doesn’t matter how beer savvy you are, you will not only love a Brewvana bus tour but you will also meet great people at local brewpubs and learn something you did not know, especially if you go with the “Behind the Scenes” tour.
Photo Credit: Brewvana Beer (image cropped)
Much of the hoopla this season has been over the Ukeg Pressurized Growler. That might be a good gift next year but it is not yet in production. The Bräuler serves a similar purpose: you can ensure your beer stays fresh and carbonated.
Cost: $149 (with co2 kit)
Photo Credit: Bräuler (image cropped)
If they have already earned a black belt in beer geekdom, the obvious next step is to brew beer with a home grown product. Water doesn’t grow and our source here is top notch. Malts? That’s a lot of barley to grow. Yeast? Yuck. That leaves hops. While it may not be planting season, Tony’s Garden Center will set you up.
Oregon Brewers Guild Membership
When you purchase an Oregon Brewers Guild membership for them, they aren’t just a beer lover or geek anymore, they are beer SNOB. Don’t worry, that’s a good thing because SNOB stands for Supporter of Native Oregon Beer. The Oregon Brewers Guild has a special membership for enthusiasts and it comes with a snazzy shirt so when they walk into a brewpub, they’ll look boss.
Photo Credit: Oregon Brewers Guild (image cropped)