Here it is, the much anticipated story of the 2013 Rapha/Strava Festive 500. 500k from Dec. 24-31. (I use the term “much anticipated” loosely. I think my wife may have mentioned it once, but that’s about it.) I’ve had this on my radar for awhile, but had always chickened out at the last minute. Or worse yet, did a couple rides and thought no way man, it’s flippin cold, I should by laying on a couch watching the Christmas Story marathon. But not this time, this way my year. I told myself I was going to do this hell or high water. Step two: con as many other unsuspecting souls into this with me. I waited for the perfect moment, approx 4 beers into the Vicious Cycle Christmas party. Both Dave and Dale had impaired judgement and agreed to join. As things turned out we never actually rode together for any of the 500k, but shared each others sufferings on Strava.
Day 1 and 2 were great for me. I knew I had to make hay while the sun shined and that’s what I did, literally (okay, not the hay part, but the sunshine). I started it off with 122k on the Pinto Ridge Loop which is traditionally all pavement. But I was feeling festive so added a couple new sections to the ride to up the gravelness of it. Awesome ride, in the sunshine no less! For my second day I went the other direction for the Dune Loop and another 120k. This had a cool section of the ride that passed through the Moses Lake Sand Dunes, but other than that seemed like a long day no the bike. Funny how sunshine vs fog can make all the difference in your perception of things.
The next few days were back to work so this is where I knew things would get tough. I was able to make the most of my commute and my favorite one was the Long Way Home From Work where I rode over Monument Hill on a very dark and foggy night. I’ve only been up that rd a couple of times so I don’t know it well. It was so dark and so foggy I couldn’t see a thing. It was just this steep gravel rd climb that seemed to go on forever, I had no idea where I was at! I stopped at the top to take a picture and my phone died. Just then my battery on my headlight flickered to tell me it was nearly dead. I rode fast the rest of the way home and made it. That was a cool ride.
By the end of the work week I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I only had 163k to go. I knew my Saturday was shot because kid 2 had a basketball game in Omak. But wait, what if I bring my bike, watch the game, then go ride. Mr. Maedke you are a genius! And so the Away Game ride came about. For my first ride of the Festive 500 I was officially riding my bicycle somewhere I had never been, which is a very cool thing. I ended up having a great ride and saw some cool stuff. Bonus: it was finally cold enough to where my sweet new Rapha Hardshell Jacket I got for Christmas!
At this point I only needed about 100k to finish and still had two days before the challenged ended. But I wanted to finish it off with a bang so I did the full Gran Fondo Ephrata route for my Festive Finale’ It was yet another foggy, dreary day, but no matter, the roads where clear and I was feeling good. I had completed the challenge. I actually hit 500k part way up Three Devils climb. And still finished.
The next day my commute to work was my Champs-Elysees where I sipped champagne and reveled in my glory, figuratively speaking of course. Congrats to Dave and Dale, each of whom have their own tales of success. And to the rest of the Festive 500 victors. Cheers.