Every year in December I tell myself I’m not going to do it, but then every time it gets close to December 24th I think to myself “yeah, why not give it a crack!” Riding 500km in the eight days from Christmas Eve to New Years Eve always seems to be a great way to cap off the year. Well it is in the Southern Hemisphere of course!
One advantage I have is that it is summer down here in Australia and the weather is usually pretty darn sweet! I’ve completed a Festive 500 in England during the middle of winter before, and it is not something I fancy doing again. It’s far nicer being able to roll out in short sleeves. It does get toasty though, so early (or late) rides and sunscreen are a must.
I always like to kick off the Festive 500 with a bigger ride. At least 100km. Needing an average of 62km per day this first ride is a good chance to get a head start on the distance. It’s always wise to have a buffer. I also try and keep the rides relatively flat. There’s no need to waste the legs on tough climbs during a distance challenge. Ride number one was 126km with a minimal 624 metres (2050ft) of elevation gain.
Christmas Day and Boxing Day were busier, but I knew as long as the weather held out I’d have time on my side for all the other days. I snuck in a shorter ride each of those two days just to stay ahead of the curve. Workload and commitments were under control for the rest of the week, and Mrs TC was flying up to Brisbane to visit her relatives. Apart from feeding the dog and checking on the goats, the rest of my time could be spent riding my bike. Ride eat, work, sleep, repeat!
Tuesday 27th was another hundred-and-change ride, this time on the time trial bike. Although I certainly wasn’t hitting it hard, mostly sticking to endurance pace zones, the TT bike is still a good way to knock over some distance in good time. A shorter “recovery” ride on Wednesday kept me within sight of the finish line.
On Thursday 29th I knocked off the final 130-ish km with a double ride day. In the morning I smashed out another 100km to get within touching distance of the finish. I was content with that, but later in the afternoon Andrew put out a call to see if anyone was riding from Red Square (a regular Thursday evening hour’s ride with The Herd). Hmmm, could I sneak in a second ride?
The rest The Herd seemed to be away enjoying some vacation time. With the sun shining I thought it rude not to join him, so I slipped on my new Castelli summer jersey, wheeled out the Trek 5200, and the two of us rolled around for a sunny evening’s 35km to get me across the line with 504km. Having ridden the previous 470-ish kilometres solo, it was refreshing to have some company for the final ride. Job done in six days!
With two whole days to spare, I guess I can take the rest of the year off! 😎
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Hey, Tempocyclist: Thanks for your like on my most current post. I’d love to come to Australia to ride with you, but you’d probably kick my ass and complain I was too slow for you. By the way, how is your health? I know you had a scare a few months ago. And Happy New Year! Have an excellent 2023. Doug
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Thanks! Honestly I don’t really feel any different on the meds, a little more sore after exercise and maybe more tired, but it’s hard to say for 100% sure that’s related. It’s “life as normal” for now. I’ve got my next blood tests and follow-up appointment in February.