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Rapha Festive 500: Roll Into The New Year Fit As A Fiddle

Saturday, December 20, 2014

 

glpdx-rapha-festive500

The Rapha Festive 500 provides motivation and inspiration for thousands of cyclists roll intot he New Year strong, fit and feeling accomplished and happy.

Want to start the New Year fitter than ever—and still feast like a king (or queen) during the holidays? Don't diet! Ride your way to fitness in the middle of winter with the Rapha Festive 500.

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.

RAPHA FESTIVE 500 / December 24 - December 31
Cost: Free
Register online via Strava.

Photos courtesy Rapha.

 

 

Üma Kleppinger is a Portland-based copy writer, author and bike addict. A recovering sesquipedalian who blogs about life in the saddle and outdoor adventure, she is also the author of Bike Yoga, a flexibility and recovery program for cyclists. When not writing, she can be found riding and racing her mountain bike throughout the Pacific Northwest. If you have cycling-related news to share, events to promote, or  deep thoughts about this or any other cycling related matters, shoot her a nice email.

 

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