For the fifth year in a row, I've rung in the New Year by participating in a global cycling challenge sponsored by Rapha known as the "Festive 500." The premise is simple, log a minimum of 500 kilometers between Christmas and New Year's Eves and post evidence of your progress on Strava, Instagram, Twitter, etc. This year over 61,000 riders signed on (or at least clicked the "join challenge" button on Strava) yet fewer than 10,000 completed the challenge successfully.
As with most endurance training, it wasn't the distance on the bike that made the challenge so difficult, but rather finding the time to log the miles. Fortunately, my work schedule is very light at this time of year, but with my daughter home from college and various houseguests and holiday parties to contend with this week, I wasn't sure that a full day in the saddle would go over so well. As a result, I planned to get out for medium-sized rides over the course of five or six days. Unfortunately, I didn't follow the classic randonneuring strategy of front-loading my riding distance as a precaution against the unexpected. As a result, when a curveball arrived to derail my plans, I found myself with 250 kilometers left to ride in the final two days. Luckily, the weather (thanks to climate change and El Nino) cooperated so we were blessed with mild temperatures for most of the week and I was able to complete the challenge without too much difficulty.
What I really love about the timing of this challenge is that it falls after a time of rest and recovery just as planning for the year ahead begins in earnest. Reflecting on the past year and planning for the one to come are best done sitting in the saddle of a bicycle, so most of my hours on the bike this week involved remembering the highlights of 2015 and fantasizing about what the future holds. 2015 was an incredible year. Work and family could not be better and I was finally able to conquer a major life goal by completing Paris-Brest-Paris and thereby symbolically and fully returning to randonneuring following my 2010 accident. I have exciting plans for the year ahead and am very grateful that 2016 has finally arrived.
Keep the rubber side down.