The Festive 500 is an annual challenge from cycling clothing kingpin Rapha and the ubiquitous GPS application, Strava. According to legend, a Rapha employee once rode the full 500 kilometers that lent itself to the name, all in the ten days between December 25 and January 1. Now, it is a big challenge open to everyone around the world.
Some of the rides are pretty amazing, but it's the stories and photos that come out of that make it a truly inspiring challenge. Riders from all over the world, on all kinds of bikes and in all kinds of conditions, submit photos and stories using the hashtag #Festive500. Seeing photos from Hawaii, Spain, Malaysia and the warmer climes brings out some envy. Some individuals, either with a free pass from family or working, complete the entire challenge in a day or two. Most, however, don't.
They don't because many Strava users are in the dead of winter, with short days and long, cold nights with which to contend. Last year, a blizzard for the first three days of the challenge knocked out the Traverse City contingent. It was already going to be tough, with over three feet of snow on the ground and in the road making it a challenge almost exclusively for fat bikes.
I've spent more than a few moments looking at my work schedule and doodling in some big rides. Whether by Mukluk, Focus Mares, All-City Nature Boy or something else, the goal is to make it happen this year, no matter what.
This year, the lack of snow at the moment gives a bit of hope for a slightly easier time, though none of it is easy. The 500 kilometers divides up to 31 miles per day, tucked between family gathers, work, parties, and likely some hang-overs. But being a part of the challenge is reward enough. If you need motivation to get out there, especially with all the goings-on of the holidays, just take a few minutes to check out the Festive 500 and get a few miles in at Fat Chance! at Crystal Mountain January 4.