Monday, December 24, 2012

Festive 500

For the last year now I have been having fun with Strava which if you hadn't heard is a web site that you can upload your gps tracks of rides, compare them to other riders, on the route or on particular segments. Strava is pretty good at tracking your performance and from that angle has been working well for me. I also enjoy the supportive community aspect of it, where you can comment and give kudos for effort.

They also have occasional challenges and the most recent and perhaps the most daunting is the Rapha Festive 500. You must ride 500kms between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, or about 75km per day. If you complete the challenge you will receive a natty patch from Rapha .

Today was the first day and hoping to get off to a good start, Ben and Harvey and I set off for a run up to the National Park, thinking to go for about 120kms or so. Early on we realised that time was precious so cut it short to a hundred to Waterfall and back.

After clearing central Wollongong we spied a large bunch ahead, bedecked in Santa hats, being led by a riding in full santa suit. Hilarious we thought so sped up to catch them. We eventually did after a chain drop and the wrong phasing at lights for about 5 minutes beore our paths diverged and we headed north for Bald Hill and the RNP.

We made pretty good time and were soon enjoying the heat and humidity at the top of the hill beneath to Hargreave monument. The tap is excellent

From there we plunged back into the cool of the National Park, enjoying a rapid descent until we turned to climb up to Waterfall. I had not ridden this climb before so took it easy as Harvey raced away. It wasn't too bad but the last 1000m or so get a bit steep so I was glad to see Harvey just below the commuter carpark so slugged on up. Turning at the top I noticed a familiar vehicle and cyclist in the carpark and stopped to chat with Barry M who was planning a quick ride through to Garie and back up as part of his AAC training.

We chatted for a bit before setting off down the hill and parting at the bottom of Lady Wakehurst Dr as we turned back towards home and Barry turned on towards Garie.

Riding in the RNP is lovely and today was great, with very light vehicular traffic - saw more cyclists than cars or motos and lovely cool conditions. Chatted with another rider about 29er mtbs (he was riding one and I want one!) and various spun and mashed our way out of the park. As we reached the top of the climb and got back out into the sun we again found it very warm and I was glad most of the climbing was behind us.

The ride back home was uneventful, and had a tailwind, so saw a few extended efforts to improve segment times where I could. At the end of the ride we had completed 100+kms, 102 for me so that's only 398km more to ride for the festive 500.

My plan from here is a short ride on Christmas day and Boxing day then commute to work on Thursday and Friday which should have me sitting around 410km. I'm planning to ride a 35km audax dirt series ride on Saturday and then that leaves the remainder to be ridden on the last two days of the challenge. Maybe a bit further if my mates need encouragement.

Mileage in Km = 6270

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