It's now a couple of days since the 2014 Rapha Festive 500 was completed. Last year I did the challenge for the first time ever, and due to only a few hours in the saddle during December I decided to give my legs the gift of trying to complete the Festive 500 again this year. The weather would be completely different from last year and that I was to learn that.
Like last year, I didn't ride on Christmas eve, but the next day I would try my legs in the cold. I'm not that used riding in snow and below - 10 degrees so I knew this would be a challenge, very different from last year.
Because of the cold one of course must consider proper clothing. More or less on each day I wore 2 pairs of socks, Wintershoes, 2 - 3 pairs of overshoes, legwarmers, 2 pairs of long trousers, bibs, x-country skiing underpants, cool mesh shirt, craft winter thermal layer, Castelli fawesome gilet, long-sleeve jersey, wind/waterproof winter jacket, 3 x neck warmers, 2 x winter hats and a helmet.
The weather the first day was sunny but it was - 14 degrees. The ride would either be around 40 or 90 km, depending on how I would feel.
I don't know whether it was the cold or the fact that I had missed a bit with nutrition, but I started feeling really sick in just 30 km. And I somehow managed to struggle back home with only 44 km ridden. Now I knew, this would be almost impossible if not completely impossible to do. The next day would be a day off, since we were going to my parents. That again meant I would need to ride 100 km/day the last bit of the challenge...
2014 Rapha Festive day 2
But try I did. December 27th would be my second day of the challenge. And it would not be that cold, only - 6 degrees. But I knew I needed to track some 100 km in snow, that was something I had never done before.
I didn't know how much snow there would be on the route that day. There was not too much, but there was partly some snow on top of ice, which made it a bit tricky on some sections.
Of course, since I was really not going fast, it would take me quite a lot of time to complete 100 km. And since the day is really short in Finland during December, it meant I had plenty of riding in dark ahead of me. But I was fortunately well prepared having bought a new cycling light just before Christmas.
So on my second day of the challenge I managed to track some 97 km. Pretty pleased with that, especially since I had a really bumpy start with only 44 km and nausea the first day. It took me some 5 hours and 15 minutes to complete the 97 km. Not exactly the training average speeds you are used to do..
Stay tuned, more to come!