Author Topic: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter  (Read 7102 times)

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
http://www.aukweb.net/events/detail/18-507/

29 December, Bristol - Cambridge - Bristol.

This is the first brevet I've ever seen come with a health warning on its event page.

Quote
This is an X-rated event for experienced randonneurs and endurance cyclists only. The organiser accepts no responsibility for winter weather or road conditions and you undertake this event entirely at your own risk.

I saw this one come up on Facebook and it's been weighing on my mind for the past few days.

How do you even begin to prepare for something like this? The clothes I think I've got sussed out (lots of super roubaix fabric and merino wool) but what really gives me the heebie jeebies is the prospect of riding on what could be frozen roads, howling headwinds, in days that only have 8 hours of the sun up, if you're lucky. If you don't have a dynamo hub (I don't) this would require a serious amount of spare lights. Thankfully it is a pretty flat course. Just one objective...



Any hot tips or perspectives on these sorts of brevets? It looks like a serious enterprise of type 2/3 fun. I've already started looking at seeing if my bike could handle 35mm studded winter tyres...

Bikepacking bargain basement: reviews of high value kit great for the tourer, bikepacker and randonneur on a budget

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=109048.msg2312359#msg2312359

Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2018, 11:07:02 am »
You know who the nutters in AUK are by looking at the event results... look forward to it (to looking at the results, I mean)  ;D

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2018, 12:24:17 pm »
5am start, so that's at least 2hours in the dark to start you off  :thumbsup:

500k is my favourite distance. in summer, anyway ...

This looks a brilliantly mad adventure. But I wouldn't do it in adverse weather ... so commiting to trains/accom will be a problem. If any Bonkers Bristolians can offer me a couch to surf, then I'm potentially in  :)
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: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2018, 12:29:19 pm »
You know who the nutters in AUK are by looking at the event results... look forward to it (to looking at the results, I mean)  ;D

Ahem, I've already entered. Hopefully, my name will be amongst those listed in the results!

Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2018, 12:39:44 pm »
I am kinda tempted...

The trike would be a sensible machine if it’s icey. I think I’ll wait till it’s back from getting pimped and have a few more test runs before I make a decision.

John

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2018, 01:17:37 pm »
5am start, so that's at least 2hours in the dark to start you off  :thumbsup:

500k is my favourite distance. in summer, anyway ...

This looks a brilliantly mad adventure. But I wouldn't do it in adverse weather ... so commiting to trains/accom will be a problem. If any Bonkers Bristolians can offer me a couch to surf, then I'm potentially in  :)

I think I'm in the same boat. Challenging conditions are expected but I'm not doing it in a winter storm. The sticking problem is that so many people will be on hols or have relatives over that time there will be less sofas going.

Maybe the organiser will offer some tips
Bikepacking bargain basement: reviews of high value kit great for the tourer, bikepacker and randonneur on a budget

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=109048.msg2312359#msg2312359

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2018, 01:20:38 pm »
looks like a decent ride! fwiw, i've done a similar shaped loop from london to wales and back last december as a festive500 ride, 504k in under 24hr. there was headwind and intermittent rain, but luckily the temperatures stayed reasonable averaging 9'c. wouldn't want to do it on studded tyres - it's a long way riding that in winter.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2018, 01:44:46 pm »
looks like a decent ride! fwiw, i've done a similar shaped loop from london to wales and back last december as a festive500 ride, 504k in under 24hr. there was headwind and intermittent rain, but luckily the temperatures stayed reasonable averaging 9'c. wouldn't want to do it on studded tyres - it's a long way riding that in winter.

How did you manage in terms of grip on the road? Other hot tips I've had so far are panaracer gravel kings or just regular schwalbe marathons, but I don't trust the marketing men.
Bikepacking bargain basement: reviews of high value kit great for the tourer, bikepacker and randonneur on a budget

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=109048.msg2312359#msg2312359

Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2018, 01:56:37 pm »
How did you manage in terms of grip on the road? Other hot tips I've had so far are panaracer gravel kings or just regular schwalbe marathons, but I don't trust the marketing men.

Expecting a tyre to have more grip in winter is a bit pointless... ride conservatively and don't ride at all if there is a risk of ice.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2018, 02:07:25 pm »

I have a similar dilemma, of a 600km cycle "holiday" over 24/25/26th of December, crossing most of Germany. There is a good chance of snow and ice. I have 42mm studded tyres for my bike, but the prospect of a 230km day on them does not appeal

I've done 90km on them, and that was hard. I am a lot fitter now, but it's still not something I'm looking forward to.

If you can avoid doing it on studded tyres, do so.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

j_a_m_e_s_

  • Prisoner 17091
    • AUK results
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2018, 02:25:20 pm »
I don't rate marathons too well in the ice. I had a couple of spills this winter on ice and snow (one of them uphill!)
I think riding bare rims would be a more suitable alternative.
(YMMV - it could just be my sub standard bike handling skills)
Rule 77

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2018, 03:08:07 pm »
looks like a decent ride! fwiw, i've done a similar shaped loop from london to wales and back last december as a festive500 ride, 504k in under 24hr. there was headwind and intermittent rain, but luckily the temperatures stayed reasonable averaging 9'c. wouldn't want to do it on studded tyres - it's a long way riding that in winter.

How did you manage in terms of grip on the road? Other hot tips I've had so far are panaracer gravel kings or just regular schwalbe marathons, but I don't trust the marketing men.

i just used the fast and grippy gp4000s with latex inner tubes and count myself lucky not to get a puncture throughout the whole festive1000, which included many scoggy lanes. only one day was a bit icy - i rode carefully and stayed upright.

Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2018, 04:03:14 pm »
Very tempting. even though it does mean I'd pretty much be riding to Bristol,back home, back to Bristol, then back home again...

It'd work well with a prevailing SW wind. The wind is usually stronger from 10am to 7pm so the headwind will more likely be lighter than the tailwind.
Route looks sensible too. Road that will mostly be gritted, not fiddly lanes but not big 'orrible roads.

JonB

  • Granny Ring ... Yes Please!
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2018, 04:14:49 pm »
I think I'm in the same boat. Challenging conditions are expected but I'm not doing it in a winter storm. The sticking problem is that so many people will be on hols or have relatives over that time there will be less sofas going.

Maybe the organiser will offer some tips

Think he's away at the moment and offline for a couple more weeks but I'm sure he'll be surprised pleased at all the interest in the ride ... not for me though  :hand:

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2018, 04:32:10 pm »
I'm showing it to people who don't even cycle which is provoking mixed reactions!
Bikepacking bargain basement: reviews of high value kit great for the tourer, bikepacker and randonneur on a budget

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=109048.msg2312359#msg2312359

Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2018, 05:08:26 pm »
The only way I can see this making sense is if you get a couple of days of steady westerly, dull grey skies, pushing the temperature around 10 degrees day and night. You struggle in headwinds, but at least it's safe.

Any other scenario involves freezing rain and hypothermia, icy nights and the risk of A & E, snow or a mix of them

Incidentally that kind of westerly seems to be quite common over the Christmas period, when everybody wants snow and get mild wind and spotty rain

Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2018, 08:55:36 pm »
There are nutters who are disappointed you’re not running this at 00:00 on the 24th! That would really sort the wheat from the chaff!

Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2018, 09:25:22 pm »
I'm tempted by this, not exactly sure why  ;D
Eddington Number 75

Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2018, 09:35:28 pm »
Tempting. But I'm too far north.

Why doesn't anyone do one of these in West Yorkshire?

Ah, that's right, it's cold oop north  ::-)

Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2018, 10:18:13 pm »
Very tempting. even though it does mean I'd pretty much be riding to Bristol,back home, back to Bristol, then back home again...

It'd work well with a prevailing SW wind. The wind is usually stronger from 10am to 7pm so the headwind will more likely be lighter than the tailwind.
Route looks sensible too. Road that will mostly be gritted, not fiddly lanes but not big 'orrible roads.
We could ask to start it in Winslow!
Bikes are for riding, not cleaning!

Ben T

  • What you saying, then?
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2018, 11:37:59 pm »
It's not usually icy in December, it's usually Feb and march when it's icy these days. December tends to be largely wet and windy in my experience, and foggy. Last few years anyway.
Probably going to be a bit of a slog but could be good...
Unless you put on overalls, boots, and a helmet with a high tech pre fitted lamp - and you dig coal - nope, you don't know me.

Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2018, 08:17:09 am »
Strangely tempting in a masochistic sort of way. It would have to be done as a full value ride with a hotel stop after about 300k - I wouldn't use an audax hotel in December - but certainly possible assuming the weather isn't ridiculously bad. Two drawbacks for me: first is the start time of 5.00am, which means I would have to ride down to Bristol beforehand; second is that it goes rather too close to my house at 450k, which is the point at which a warm bed becomes more tempting than finishing. I might enter just for the hell of it and only ride if the weather looks promising.

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2018, 08:46:38 am »
[mode:Killjoy]
I think it's irresponsible to put on an event like this. Audax is a hobby, and even with the disclaimers, entrants would be expecting the NHS to pick up the pieces if it all goes tits up. 500km in December is just stupid.
[mode:off]
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

j_a_m_e_s_

  • Prisoner 17091
    • AUK results
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #23 on: August 16, 2018, 09:30:11 am »
[mode:Killjoy]
I think it's irresponsible to put on an event like this. Audax is a hobby, and even with the disclaimers, entrants would be expecting the NHS to pick up the pieces if it all goes tits up. 500km in December is just stupid.
[mode:off]

No, its a fecking serious business.

To be fair, its more likely to be 10* and wet isn't it. And of it is icy, don't start. Or if it starts to get icy, pack.
Rule 77

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: The Full Fat Festive 500: 511 km of riding in the bleak midwinter
« Reply #24 on: August 16, 2018, 12:05:09 pm »
It is definitely a very serious enterprise - and I wouldn't hesitate to bail if upon inspecting the forecast, I anticipated hazardous conditions.

And I know audax is unsupported but I'd try to get one of the parents or my bro to be ready with the late 90s E class wagon and a hot curry thermos if the worst happened and things turned sour.

But the prospect of nailing this one is really inspiring, I get the feeling if I did any ride after it, and things turn bad, I could always look back on this one and feel better about my situation.

Contrary to my usual audax tactics I'd aim to mob up with a group from the off and stick with for the duration. Made a bit difficult by my not knowing anyone macho to give it a whirl. But I'd find a way somehow.
Bikepacking bargain basement: reviews of high value kit great for the tourer, bikepacker and randonneur on a budget

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=109048.msg2312359#msg2312359