#RaphaFestive500

In the run up to Christmas, news and updates about this year’s Rapha Festive 500 started to appear, with the change that this year, virtual miles would be included. My ears pricked up and a thought started to go in my head. I’d pondered it in previous years but actually getting the distance in on the road just seemed unlikely – weather, riding solo, the absolute FAFF that comes with riding outside in winter etc. The inclusion, this year, of virtual miles though, made me wonder if I could actually give it a go.

Que several discussions with friends as I toyed with the idea.

I was working Christmas Eve, but despite early start and a busy morning, somehow managed to get on the turbo and get some miles in. Christmas Day came round and had some time, thought ‘sod it’ – did some more miles. Same thing Boxing Day… well, no I did two turbo sessions – by this time mates had joined in so there were a couple of us putting in some turbo mileage. Next day, I actually went outside on the bike, as well as doing some turbo mileage. Shock to the system to an extent and the company bailed on me. The rest of the week turned into a blur of long turbo sessions, with a bit of swimming and yoga thrown in for good measure but as of this morning, 500km ticked off!

What have I learnt though? Time to be reflective….

  • Group Zwfit rides, with Discord chat app running makes a huge difference to motivation and passing the time. Huge kudos to mates there for that. The ‘bunge’ also helped.
  • Zwift, my online platform of choice for this mission, is just plain strange – how the hell I was managing 45kph on 1.4w/kg is beyond me.
  • Sweat central – not unusual but still – had to make sure I replaced them.
  • Hydration/fluids/fuel – not to be underestimated.
  • 500km of riding in 8 days = increased quad definition – I have some definition that has been missing for the last 18 months.
  • The tiredness is real – but it would have been harder out on the road.
  • With little else to really do (I have made myself chill this week), I have lived the life of a pro – why stand when you can sit? Why sit when you can lie down? I have done some reading this week too.
  • Multiple pairs of bib shorts are incredibly useful – in general anyway – but I have found out quickly, which pairs are the best. Altura – is ain’t yours!
  • Two hour turbo sessions hurt your undercarriage MORE than two hours on the road – less changing of position isnt great.
  • My core strength must be good at the moment – I’ve a mirror positioned in such a way I can see my position – back and hips didn’t rock or move – no so sore shoulders either.
  • Low power/pace on the pedals kept me going without hurting myself.
  • I’ve managed not to over eat as a result….
  • I unlocked a few Zwift badges – always nice.
  • Turbo miles are dull.
  • The Mandalorian on Disney+ is awesome.
  • Decent headphones are worth the money.
  • Women are MORE SUPPORTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA GROUPS THAN men*

*I’m on several cycling Facebook pages – all the female only ones – everyone has been so supportive of each others achievements and there has been no judging on virtual/in real life achievements. LOTS of positivity. On the mixed sex groups – a bloke made the mistake of saying it was no longer a proper challenge now it included virtual miles. He has been very quickly called out on this by a lot of people. I’ve seen other scathing comments in the past on the mixed sex pages but do have to say – there are a lot of supportive blokes on those pages – but there is a distinctively different feel about them.

It has been an interesting challenge in that it has given me something to focus on and I’m glad I’ve finally done it but it pales into insignificance when one of my best friends Everested, on foot, for charity. Now that is a challenge and a half! After the crappy year events wise that has been 2020, it has been a nice way to finish of the year, and something I just did on a bit of a whim. Just need to aim to get out more next year!

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