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Festive 500

Each year since 2010 a mega-corporate clothing brand that shall remain unnamed (ahem!) sponsors a challenge to ride 500kms from the 24th-31st December. Anyhow I’ve never done the challenge so thought I would try this year (2023).

Wet roads, and muck

You can ride indoors as well as outdoors, so making it easier to achieve if the weather is particularly foul, or icy and too dangerous to ride. This is also handy for people who have lots on over the festive season, as indoors is a time efficient way to ride.

I got some new kit to motivate myself (which you can order with Click and Collect or home delivery), all Shimano brand Beaufort bib tights, Element jacket and the S1100R H2O overshoes. The bib tights were very comfy and felt lovely and warm even down to 4 degrees. The pad was comfy even after 100kms. I only wore the jacket on a mild day at around 12 degrees, and it was a bit too warm, it would be great at lower temps. The overshoes were brilliant, easy(ish) to put on and in yellow give extra visibility, and kept my feet nice and warm. I wear size 42 shoes, but I always go for the next size up in Shimano overshoes, so instead of medium(40-42), I went for large(42-44). They should basically alter their sizing as it’s all too small!

Malmesbury Town Centre

I kept myself safe with the brilliant Ravemen lights which are kept in stock in the shop. I used the LR1600 and CR1000 front lights on different rides. Both great, the CR1000 has a T shaped beam and the light is more focused, however the LR1600 is geat as it provides a really wide beam of light and bit more battery means longer runtime in low. The rear light was the TR200 with brake detection. I could see the flash light up the road behind me, which was reassuring.

Ravemen Lights

The rides I did were as follows:

24th 60.12kms indoors, a fairly flat ride only 300m elevation. Effort, fairly easy.

25th 52.45kms indoors only 230m elevation so quite flat Effort, fairly easy.

26th 100.01kms outdoor ride from Corsham to Tetbury and back up a challenging climb from Ford to Colerne at 65kms, and immediately after an easy but long climb from Box to Kingsdown. Finished off with a loop south of home to South Wraxall and back via Atworth. 1020m climbed so a bit more hilly than the previous indoor rides. Effort, hard due to wind and wet gritty roads. Climbs at end added more pain.

28th 72.41kms outdoor ride in very gusty winds from storm Gerrit, so I opted to stay very close to home and did 2 loops south of Corsham going up Goodes Hill twice which is on the main road from Melksham to Corsham. I also climbed from Ford to Colerne again, and repeated the Box to Kingsdown hill as well, 901m ascent so probably hilliest ride of week. Effort, pretty extreme due to wind and 3 fairly long climbs. Roads as above

29th 61.90kms indoors. Took part in a group ride so the draft meant average speed was up and this the pain didn’t have to last too long. Effort, quite easy

30th 94.24kms outdoors in insanely strong wind. Luckily the lanes to Tetbury have good shelter from high hedgerows. Just a touch under 1000m of ascent. Met the hunt near Sherston, more cars than horses which made riding past unnerving. 3 deer leapt out of a hedge across the road right in front of me, near Alderton, a nice sight. Effort, extreme due to wind.

The Courtyard Cafe, had to stop excellent coffee

31st 60.28kms indoors group ride. Quite a high pace, and I lost the group on the climb at around 50kms. Wasn’t much fun or fast riding on my own, so finished early at 60kms. Was supposed to be a 92km ride. Effort, quite hard as wanted to stay with a group.

Massive thanks to Bryan at TheBikeTheBody. I had found my Shimano RC7 shoes affecting me with hot spots and aches on my sole on rides over 50kms. I took in some brand new Shimano RC702 shoes, and walked out with a pair of his wide fit Lake CX238’s and custom moulded insoles. He set up my cleat position with some cool tools, checked my position on my own bike on the studio turbo, and made some minor tweaks to saddle height and angle. Had no problems on any of the rides, thanks to Bryan!

Final stats are below

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