The Rapha Festive 500 challenge is to ride 500 kilometres between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. I completed my first Rapha Festive 500 in 2014. The reward for completing the challenge was a woven roundel that Rapha posted to you, free of charge. The 2014 roundel is the one on the upper left.
You can read my post about the 2014 Rapha Festive 500 by clicking here.
The roundels I earned in subsequent years are shown in clockwise order.
In 2020 Rapha stopped sending roundels to successful participants. The number of participants ballooned from 84 in 2010 to 240,991 in 2020. Perhaps the cost of producing and posting woven roundels became prohibitively expensive.
2020 was a year of great upheaval. The first COVID-19 lockdown started in Malaysia on 18th March. Restricted to our homes until early May, I didn’t ride at all in April. After April 2020, restrictions on outdoor exercise were relaxed and reimposed as each wave of COVID-19 infections came and went. Despite not riding much in October and November 2020, I did complete the Festive 500 challenge that year. That year’s digital roundel is the one on the bottom left.
You can read my post about the 2020 Rapha Festive 500 by clicking here.
I broke my Festive 500 streak in 2021. A variety of restrictions on cycling and surgery on a knee I injured while jogging meant I rode very little in June, July and August 2021. I wasn’t fit enough to give the 2021 Festive 500 a go.
Until mid-December this year, I had given no thought to attempting the 2022 Festive 500. As you can see from the chart above, I rode very little in 2022. Including none at all between March and July. I came out of that period very unfit and carrying more kilos than is good for me.
I covered 118 km in August, 281 km in September, 563 km in October, and 666 km in November. Not the distances that made me confident that I could ride 500 km in eight days. Especially as only five out of the forty-two rides I did in those months were longer than 62 km. The average distance I would have to ride every day to cover 500 km in eight days.
As Christmas Eve, the first day of the Festive 500 challenge, drew closer, I considered giving it a go. I had lost some weight and was feeling fitter.
The clincher was Kieren asking if I was doing the Festive 500 this year. After a few days of mulling it over, I decided to go for it.
Kieren and I rode 102 km on Christmas Eve morning, from Bukit Jail to Jenjarom and back. I hadn’t ridden more than 100 km in a single ride since January 2022.
Knowing I needed to front-load kilometres in case I couldn’t ride on one or more of the allocated eight days, I added a 27 km ride on one of my regular city routes that afternoon.
I felt shattered on Christmas morning. There was no way I could get out of bed for an early ride. I did manage a 45 km city ride in the afternoon.
I was already glad I was ahead of the minimum daily cumulative total kilometres required to get to 500 km on Day Eight.
Ride number four on Boxing Day was a very pleasant and relaxed 72 km ride to Elmina and back to TTDI with Vanessa and Kieren.
The relaxed pace in the morning meant that I was able to add a 42 km ride that afternoon to my total distance.
I roped Mark in to ride with me on Day Four. This was a 73 km ride to Kuang and back via Elmina. My legs were starting to feel the strain, and I certainly didn’t break any speed records.
With 360 km in the bag, I felt good about completing the challenge.
I rode solo on Day Five, from Batu 14, Hulu Langat to Batu 18 and on to the Semenyih Dam and back to Batu 14. With detours toward Kampung Lubok Kelubi to the north and around the kampungs on the way to Bukit Hantu. That added 86 km to my cumulative total.
Day Six was spent together with KS and TH, riding to the Hospital Orang Asli and back to the city.
Those 66 km on Day Six earned me this year’s roundel. Relatively plain, as Rapha Festive 500 roundel designs go, but I will take it.
To say that I am pleased to have ridden a total of 500 kms in six days is an understatement. I am absolutely delighted!