#Festive500 and finding my feet

I wrote before Christmas about having a crack at Rapha’s #Festive500 cycling challenge on Strava; to cycle 500km between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. I went into the challenge with an open mind, knowing that I’d be unlikely to complete the full challenge (more than twice as far as I’d ever cycled in a week before), and that the weather might stand in my way, but wanting to see what I could do anyway.

Day in, day out over the festive season, I got on my bike. I squeezed in short rides around Christmas celebrations with my family, I went on a 50 mile solo adventure for my longest ride ever, and when I popped over to Leeds to see my other half, I damn well put my bike in the back of my car and took it with me so I could get some miles in. I started the challenge to see if I could motivate myself to get out on my bike more, as becoming a better cyclist doesn’t happen without actually doing some cycling. JOB DONE.

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I explored new parts of my county by bike, places I’d have driven to in the past. I spun easily up little hills that used to seem like Everest to me, and when James needed a true recovery ride and patiently spun slowly along with me, I climbed proper Yorkshire hills that have defeated me before, and did it with a smile on my face. I discovered the magic of overshoes and that it’s easier to clip in after junctions when you can feel your feet and aren’t blindly stamping about with a foot that might as well be a plank of wood.

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I took Christmas Day off the bike, because the tradition of a Christmas morning run is a special one to me now, going for a little run before dinner on quiet country lanes. The Sunday was a no-go day for riding, as my local roads were like a skating rink, so I drove over to Yorkshire instead. Monday, we gave riding a swerve to instead hike up Pen-y-Ghent, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, and marvel at the view of the snow-capped fells for miles around. ┬áSo, as you’d expect, I never did quite fit in those 500km in eight days; but I did 258km, which I’m bloody proud of. So here’s to 2015, getting at home on the bike, Yorkshire hills and a hefty dose of Rule #5. And possibly Rule #9.

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Not bad at all for a new cyclist.

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