2014 Rapha Festive 500 - Surviving the cold and the snow

I had plowed through 2 days of the Rapha Festive 500 and had still 4 days left to compete the challenge. That would mean some 360 km in really changing conditions.

Rapha Festive 500 day 3

I had a pretty solid day behind me, and today was just slightly colder, around - 11 degrees. It wouldn't be that bad. As I had found, what I thought was a pretty good route, I'd stick to that. Again, spending some time putting all clothes on and headed out. And it wasn't that bad.

But already I could feel the hours spent yesterday in my legs, not too much, but the temperatures, the snow, it all added up and I started getting tired after some 3 hours in the saddle. The bag I had with me felt heavier and heavier. All in all, I spent 5h 30 minutes in the saddle, in total some 6 hours outside in -11 degrees tracking 98 km. Yes I was tired when I got home, and had no idea of what I would have ahead of me tomorrow.

Warm tea and calorie intense snacks

Warm tea and calorie intense snacks

Rapha Festive 500 day 4

The coldest day would be the day 4, and I was to feel that. I was pleased having tracked almost 100 km the previous 2 days, especially after the complete breakdown after day 1. The temperature was below -20 when I woke up. It would be a hard day, I would need to track somewhere around 100 km today as well. 

And darn cold it was. After only 10 km my toes started to freeze, and became almost numb before I got home. Yes, I turned back home to put more neoprene on my feet after 20 km. As I already had 2 pairs of shoe covers on my winter shoes, I couldn't fit the last pair of neoprene shoe covers on top. Well I could fit them on, but couldn't close the zipper. So I used electrical tape to seal them and headed back out. So I would still need to track some 80 km to complete the 100 km. But the last piece of neoprene really helped, and I felt better. And tracked 80 km. Om the fourth day I stayed in the saddle for more than 5,5 hours tracking 103 km in total. The average temperature was - 16 where the lowest temperature was - 21.

So I thought the toughest day was behind. Again, wrong I was. Day 5 would be even more difficult. Not because it would be even colder, it  actually was the opposite. After day 4 I would have 165 km to go, having two days left it felt like nothing.

To be continued