Author Topic: [HAMR] r***a Festive 500  (Read 3095 times)

mattc

  • "Hannibal"
  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
[HAMR] r***a Festive 500
« on: December 28, 2017, 09:09:27 am »
Bear with me ...

In case you've never heard of this:
(click to show/hide)

This is the first year I've given it a go. I'm currently bang on schedule after 4 days, but feeling that this is harder than I expected! No bad thing of course.
My point is that I feel this has given me a small insight into Steve's world. It's not like any other riding I've done, and it weirdly distorts how/when you ride.
Shall I sit here until it gets a little warmer? I can still do a nice ride, or get a good "session" in if that's why you ride. but NOOOO! Time really is miles! The clock is ticking, even as I type this. You even realise that route-planning is wasted time.

But Matt, you've done tons of Audax kms, isn't this the same shit? Well sort of ... but you have a more defined schedule then. There is a sort of self-imposed pressure here, there is too much temptation to put off the miles until later in the week.

And then there's route choice - suddenly that hill you enjoy seems a really stupid idea. And you find yourself taking the bypass route instead of cutting through the houses. Or main roads over your usual nice laney option. A really smooth bit of tarmac has you tempted to ride up-and-down it 5 times. And of course doing an extra lap of the estate when you get home, just because! Off-road? Sod that, I'll need twice the time - better to ride on that icey road again.

You make weird choices - I'll cycle to some distant shop for stuff I don't really need, instead of walking to the local shops for stuff you really will need quite soon. I even found myself resenting our regular christmas morning walk - that's several hours of daylight wasted! I considered carrying the GPS - noone's gonna check, are they??

I haven't really found the words to describe this properly ... perhaps I should just get out there again!
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2017, 09:33:58 am »
Sounds like my Easter 500s. I used to try and do 500k over the 4 days of Easter, comprising a couple of 160s and whatever else to round it out, only I gradually found myself doing the whatever else up-front and having to put in the longer rides on the Sunday and Monday, then I started saying "well, 400 is respectable enough"; and  then I ran into "you're going to be away ALL Easter AGAIN???"  So that was that. This year I did 120k.

Oh well.
I dare eat all that may become a man.

But hold the oysters.

Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2017, 09:38:03 am »
I've signed up for the Festive 500 most years, but only completed it once. I've generally considered it a way to increase mileage, but only if the weather is reasonable. Hence most years the weather turns and I capitulate.

This year has actually been really good. Firstly, I normally work on Christmas Eve, but this year I could schedule a 200km ride to kick start the challenge. Secondly the weather has on the most part been favourable, and there are blocks of reasonable conditions over the next few days that will help.

I get the pressure element of the challenge. Assuming you miss a day or two due to family commitments or adverse weather, the average mileage needed on other days quickly escalates. I've not really thought about changing the routing to make the challenge any easier ... and hopefully now reading your experience won't start to bug me and make me keep thinking about those smooth bits of flat tarmac.

Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2017, 09:51:33 am »
I'm signed up for it (last year was my first); the only thing I've really changed (apart from actually getting out on my bike, which I've done far too little of lately) is avoiding hills! (I've been staying away from home with parents until today, so couldn't spend *all* of my time cycling in any case; they already think I'm a bit odd.) I've been plodding along at a very leisurely pace, stopping to admire the scenery and take photos, so I can't say I've really been feeling pressured to get more miles in. Haven't been resenting any walks either; cycling all the time is boring! :P

Currently on 395k - today is a non-cycling day (travelling back home, involving lots of train faff) but I'll probably get 20km to the station a bit later. Was hoping to get it finished tomorrow with a nice flat A-road 100k, but the weather forecast is for heavy snow. :-\  Ah well, at least I've got Saturday and Sunday (both forecast to be rainy, but I can deal with that) in hand.

grahamparks

  • London N19
    • My Instagram
Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2017, 09:58:06 am »
Each year it reminds me how dull riding miles for their own sake is - riding boring main roads because they're flat and straight and gritted, or doing laps of the same circuit, or riding in a certain direction until you get bored rather than when you've reached anywhere in particular. It makes me understand why audax rules ban all of these things and require you to have fixed destinations.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2017, 10:05:22 am »
I've entered it a few times but only officially completed it twice (I think). A few times, various Garmins have swallowed tracks, so no bragging rights those years. This year is definitely bust, having spent a few days either ferrying folk or sitting out crappy weather.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

,

Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2017, 12:02:39 pm »
have toyed with it a few times but the weather has never been good enough for it. 

I'm wary of anything that tempts me out when I know its not sensible to do so (see also "RRTY")

Last few days in Edinburgh have most definitely been unsuitable for cycling, Ive not even cycled to work yesterday or today and that's only 4km each way. 

Instead of the 500 Ive committed to doing a serious wattbike session at the gym each day.  O:-)     

mattc

  • "Hannibal"
  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2017, 12:04:19 pm »
Each year it reminds me how dull riding miles for their own sake is
...
Indeedy!

Makes you wonder; would you rather be in Steve's shoes, or Amanda's?
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2017, 12:11:19 pm »
Never understood the point of the R***a festive 500, as I have never understood the point of pretty much all Strava monthly challenges... if you want to go out on the bike over Christmas, then do so, if you don't, then don't see how such a pointless challenge would make you want to do so... or whether doing so is actually any good for you in the icy season.

Horses for courses

mattc

  • "Hannibal"
  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2017, 12:14:55 pm »
Never understood the point of the R***a festive 500, as I have never understood the point of pretty much all Strava monthly challenges... if you want to go out on the bike over Christmas, then do so, if you don't, then don't see how such a pointless challenge would make you want to do so... or whether doing so is actually any good for you in the icy season.

Horses for courses
But isn't it just another variation on RRTY? [which - as our covert poster from Edinburgh mentioned - has its drawbacks in winter]
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - a Pacific bike ride
Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2017, 01:12:50 pm »
I've completed it once.  This year I've been darn sarf with family stuff, and am now back up north but have had to do work stuff today (on my day off, grrr) so am falling under par.  I'll be doing some darktime miles this eve to try to stay within reach.   

Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2017, 01:27:11 pm »
Never understood the point of the R***a festive 500, as I have never understood the point of pretty much all Strava monthly challenges... if you want to go out on the bike over Christmas, then do so, if you don't, then don't see how such a pointless challenge would make you want to do so... or whether doing so is actually any good for you in the icy season.

Horses for courses
But isn't it just another variation on RRTY? [which - as our covert poster from Edinburgh mentioned - has its drawbacks in winter]

It's worse.

With RRTY you have 30 days to find a decent one to fit in a long ride... with this you need to find realistically 5 or more days to ride in a shorter space of time. In practice you will have to gamble with being able to stay upright.

Besides, with RRTY your name will be etched forever in a restricted list of individuals... what do you get for your Rapha 500...? If at least they sent you a discount voucher...  ;D

Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2017, 01:49:15 pm »
I'm in, sixth year with one failure. It's a bit of fun and acts as a motivator to me, I don't think it has anything in common with what's Steve is doing, not even a glimpse.  Even with working three days this week I can pick and choose when I ride, turn for home any time, get up later than planned, stop as often and for as long as I choose, combine it with other rides, choose routes without considering speed.  In short, it isn't that big an investment of time and effort, but I'm a sucker for a badge.

Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2017, 01:55:38 pm »
what do you get for your Rapha 500...? If at least they sent you a discount voucher...  ;D
I think they do send a discount voucher, though I've never used it, doesn't reduce stuff to sale prices. 
As it's become more popular, the size of the badge has become smaller and it's presentation simpler. 

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2017, 01:57:56 pm »
I've succeeded twice and failed twice. This year I'm not going on the bike at all.

It's incredibly rude for your family, totally selfish and utterly pointless. But I do like the badges and the year that Mr Smith and I did it together it was really quite nice, and we bought the t shirt.

Miles for the sake of miles can be a total soul destroying grind.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2017, 02:53:16 pm »
I've just finished it, my first attempt at it.
I did it as 4 rides of between 100 and 160k, so half days pretty much.

My wife was working on the days I rode, and the kids were mostly still in bed.

Icy conditions meant I had to do repeats of the same stretch of the A93 main road out Deeside.
All the rides were bloody cold; Braemar is not renowned for its warm winters.
I got caught up in snowstorms yesterday and today for a short while!
The café in Ballater has a nice woodburner which I made full use of.

Not sure I'd bother doing it again, though.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2017, 03:03:59 pm »
Overlooking that I'd need a run of particularly lung-friendly weather and a couple more changes of decent cold-weather gear to achieve it, my main issue is that I don't actually enjoy being miserable and cold on a bike.  Or trike, for that matter.  Actually, if anything the trike's worse because while you can't fall off, you get dazzled by headlights and the council occasionally grit your face.  But yeah.  An hour or two of riding in winter is fine.  Fun even, if the sun is shining or there's proper snow to play with or a mountain to climb or all the cars have vanished because christmas.  But once my feet are numb and my fingers hurt and I'm soaked with icy sweat I need a bloody good reason to continue - typically getting from wherever I currently am to wherever the warm shower is - and it takes a certain amount of time for that misery to fade and it to seem like a good idea again.

Riding the Gritted Roads And Not Too Far From A Railway loop over and over is only fun if you've just recovered from an injury and are grateful for every mile (I did quite well on getting out on the bike last winter, even if I wasn't achieving much mileage), and that's what winter mileage targets tend to result in.  Sod that.

Kudos to those with higher levels of masochism/determination/not giving a fuck.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2017, 04:01:07 pm »
Would only be tempted in a spell of unusually mild weather for the time of year hereabouts. Most years, including this one, it's icy. Broke a couple of ribs due to ice a few years back and don't want to risk a repeat for the sake of a cloth patch.

dim

Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2017, 04:07:05 pm »
last year, I rode 330 Km over 3 consecutive days, and woke up on the 4th day with bronchitis ...

This year I had high expectations to do the 500 .... but bailed out  :-[

“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” - Aristotle

Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2017, 04:09:33 pm »

Kudos to those with higher levels of masochism/determination/not giving a fuck.

I have the opposite approach.. I resent those stupidly going out in the ice and then resorting to ambulances and A&E, whilst supported by a hoard of "thumb up mate". I am pretty sure at some point someone will have to pick up the bill for their behaviour, being that in the form of compulsory helmets/protective gear to wear at all times or two wheel organised activities being banned over the winter months.

I normally refrain from giving anybody any kudos if they have been out in the ice... I don't think there is anything brave, remarkable or clever in doing so

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
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Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2017, 04:13:11 pm »
I did it last year and for me it starts out fun but ends up a grind as you aim to get the miles in.  I set myself some rules... its not Audax so no time limit but I didn't want to be riding in the dark, so daylight only.

This year I noticed I could crack 10,000 miles for the year by doing the Rapha 500 and hatched a plan with a 150 km starter of Xmas eve.  This was the opps to what I had originally planned as I had brought a bike with me up to my parents with CX tyres to do some riding up in the moors.... When I got up at 06:00 and saw the wind I decided it wasn't for me this year, I did that headwind grind last year and the thought of 5 hours over the Yorkshire Moors in to a 20 mph headwind.  On reflection, I think I made the right decision I still got some great lumpy rides in with stunning scenery but avoided over cooking and ice related incidents.

Kudos to them that get through it, it really is tougher than it sounds.  :thumbsup:
Regards,

Jason

Feanor

  • It's mostly downhill from here.
Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2017, 04:18:06 pm »

Kudos to those with higher levels of masochism/determination/not giving a fuck.

I have the opposite approach.. I resent those stupidly going out in the ice and then resorting to ambulances and A&E, whilst supported by a hoard of "thumb up mate". I am pretty sure at some point someone will have to pick up the bill for their behaviour, being that in the form of compulsory helmets/protective gear to wear at all times or two wheel organised activities being banned over the winter months.

I normally refrain from giving anybody any kudos if they have been out in the ice... I don't think there is anything brave, remarkable or clever in doing so

Even on icy days, it's perfectly possible to stick to well-treated main roads and avoid high ground.
You just have to choose your days, and your routes.

Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2017, 04:26:07 pm »


Even on icy days, it's perfectly possible to stick to well-treated main roads and avoid high ground.
You just have to choose your days, and your routes.

And yet you can pick any winter thread on this or other forum and read entertaining stories of how someone went down on black ice here and there (incidentally even Teethgrinder last night!).
I think unless you live on the A road and you stick to the A road for 100% of your ride, anything else is taking chances and it's irresponsible. I use studded tyres to go to work on cold days (which is anything 3 degrees or lower), but it's not something I would recommend for "entertainment"... they are pretty horrible to ride on.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2017, 04:28:17 pm »

Kudos to those with higher levels of masochism/determination/not giving a fuck.

I have the opposite approach.. I resent those stupidly going out in the ice and then resorting to ambulances and A&E, whilst supported by a hoard of "thumb up mate". I am pretty sure at some point someone will have to pick up the bill for their behaviour, being that in the form of compulsory helmets/protective gear to wear at all times or two wheel organised activities being banned over the winter months.

I normally refrain from giving anybody any kudos if they have been out in the ice... I don't think there is anything brave, remarkable or clever in doing so

Seems fine to me if you're properly prepared.  That usually means studded tyres, more than two wheels or sticking to properly clear, gritted roads.  There's ice on the ground as I speak, and in these conditions the risk of injury seems lower cycling on studs than it is from walking on the untreated pavements, or arguably[1] driving a car.

Your point about A&E resources is valid, but that can be applied to all kinds of sport and leisure activities.  I generally work on the principle that people who are physically active are probably costing the NHS less overall, even if they do need the occasional injury treated.

Not sure about the compulsion aspect (be it PPE or a ban on organised events).  If it's evidence-based then it's surely a good thing.  A knee-jerk reaction seems more likely, and I doubt there are enough BloodyCyclists visibly being injured by icy conditions for that to happen.  People who want to arbitrarily restrict cycling don't care about people riding to the supermarket on studs or participating in the Festive 500, they want to get the pelotons off the country lanes, the teenagers away from the high street and to stop the commuters filtering past their traffic jams - and those are all majoritarily fair-weather cyclists.


[1] Car crashes, while more likely, tend to be at lower speed than usual in these conditions, so more damage than injury.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: r***a Festive 500
« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2017, 05:32:32 pm »

I think unless you live on the A road and you stick to the A road for 100% of your ride, anything else is taking chances and it's irresponsible.


Or you could check out your local councils' gritting schedules.

Actually, I haven't even had to do that. I've been out on loads of B roads and even a few unclassified roads safe in the knowledge that they'll be gritted. This is because they form part of public transport routes or key access and through routes to smaller towns and villages that still need to be kept open. Gritting and treatment of roads isn't just for A roads and having local knowledge is a good way to keep safe while out riding in winter.

I've also been observant of weather conditions and picked a few untreated lanes because the lack of rain and snow and high winds against them have meant that they've been dry despite the near and sub-zero temperatures. Of course had I been wrong and they were still wet and at risk of being icy then I would have turned back to the safety of treated roads and gone a different way. The only "chance" I'm taking is that I may not be able to follow my originally intended route. The rides I've done over the past week have been no less risky or more irresponsible than those done during warmer days.

I'm keen to stress that I am not a particularly smart or brave man and all of this information is easily accessible and applied by almost anyone else.