Rapha Festive 500 – 2015
02 Jan 2016

Rapha Festive 500 – 2015

Shut up legs!

In October, prior to the 2015 Rapha Festive 500, I was given my first road bike, which I named Fafnir, after a Nordic dragon. I soon began clocking up the kilometres and, for the first time, began to enjoy this type of cycling. For a long time now I have regularly swum, competitively and for fun, and I find myself having to work very hard to make incremental improvements to my performance. The brilliance of starting a new activity, almost from scratch is that the improvements are exponential!

A month ago I had never heard of Rapha, or the Rapha Festive 500. Now I know that Rapha makes high quality, incredibly expensive, cycling clothing and, once a year they challenge the world to cycle 500km, between Christmas eve and New Year’s eve.

“The Rapha Festive 500 was born of an impulsive idea by Rapha product designer Graeme Raeburn to ride 1,000km in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. In doing so, he would combine visiting his family with extensive product testing and base miles into one intrepid expedition.

The success of Graeme’s madcap adventuring inspired Rapha to invite friends and customers to match (half of) his feat in 2010, and a total of 94 hardy souls completed the challenge. Since then, the Festive 500 has grown to have 48,000 participants last year, of which 8,398 were successful. Easy it isn’t, but challenges never should be.”

There were two things that appealed to me about this challenge. Firstly, Christmas and excess are synonymous, as is the post indulgent guilt. I figured that adding 500km of cycling into the festive mix, would serve to alleviate this guilt. Secondly, I think there is something profoundly festive, in making an effort to see friends and family at Christmas, so this year I shared the joy, that is, my presence in a reindeer hat, with a select few.

My journey took me around Martock and the scenic hamlets of Somerset, the virtual Watopia course on the very real island of Te Anu and virtual version of the real UCI World Championship course in Richmond, Virginia. My last physical ride was a 100km slog around Worcestershire, where I visited a selection of friends and family.

Taking part in this challenge costs nothing, and the reward for successful completion is the (square) cotton roundel, which I turned into a medal with a small frame and some cycling themed ribbon.

The 2015 Rapha Festive 500 Roundel

2015 Rapha Festive 500 Roundel

Below are the maps from some of my rides, followed by some of the pictures from my travels on the Rapha Festive 500.

Somerset

Watopia

Richmond

Rapha Festive 500 – Worcestershire 2015

A virtual ride in Mr Womble’s Shed on Christmas Day

Turbo Trainer

First stop in Worcestershire and I wake up my sister and her family (at 10am)

Family

In Callow End, Auntie Ann is not in (or maybe still in bed?)

Family

Then, off into Malvern to get some spring water…

malvern

But the well is dry!

malvern-wells

Next, off to Evesham to say Happy Christmas to my late grandfather.

Family

Just around the corner, I visit my Grandmother along with Auntie Nicola and her partner (and their dog).

Family

Back to Worcester now, where I pop in on my father and nephews. Just for the record, my hand is holding the selfie stick!

Dad

At 3pm I wake up my good friend Al, who is very pleased to see me.

Friends

Last, but not least, I get Chris out of bed at 3:30pm and take the final selfie of my trip.

Friends

 

All in all, the 2015 Rapha Festive 500 was great fun and I look forward to visiting more people for the 2016 event. In the meantime, here’s a little video, summarising my cycling this year.