Strava Rapha Festive 500km: Day 1 & 2

It might sound kind of nuts, but the Rapha Festive 500 is a Strava cycling challenge that tasks participants to cover 500 kilometers (310 miles) between 12/24/2012 through 12/31/2012.  Which works out to be about eight days of 38.8 miles per day.  Of course, ambitious participants could do all 310 miles in one day, in just a few days, or take all 8 days to complete the task.  As for me, I’ll plan to take at least one day off of the 8, so a solid 7 days of riding, yipee!

Upon successfully completing the challenge, participants get a custom “roundel.”  In case you’ve never heard of a “roundel,” it’s basically a patch.  Yeah – exactly – whatever … I’ll sew it onto a cap or something.

So anyway, tally-ho; here goes a roundel!  Since I’m starting to record this after my second day, I’ll just post the recap here for the first two days, and then will try to do daily recaps (if I’m not totally zonked).

Luckily, the weather forecast for this little expedition is off-and-on HORRENDOS.

weather_forecast

Not horrendos by Midwest or East Coast standards, but pretty horrendos for us West Coasters.  Somewhat anticipating this, I bulked up on some cold-weather and wet-weather riding gear.

Day 1: To Milpitas and back via Calavaras, 45.1 miles

ride_1

Day 1 (the 24th), the weather was actually somewhat decent.  On balance, sunny and a bit chilly.  But, this was all after a solid few days of serious storming.  So lots of wet roads, plenty of “wash-outs” (i.e. tons of mud patches to navigate through), as well as decent size boulders in the road over Calaveras pass; the road crews were out in full force.

And generally I felt pretty good, which is to be expected on the first day.

Day 2: To 580 and back via Tesla Rd., 41.2 miles

ride2

As good a Day 1 turned out to be, Day 2 kicked off with rain (or really a “light drizzle” with bits of heavier rain).  And noticeably colder.  I debated sitting this one out and doubling up the milage later in the week.  But, I decided to just “man-up” and at least put in the minimum distance (38.8 miles).  There is a nice route that is around 70 miles via this Tesla way (Teslsa, past 580 and into Tracy, then back into Tri-Valley over Patterson Pass). For those of you familiar with the windmill farm as you come into the Bay Area via 580, you get some nice close-up views of the windmills over Patterson pass.  It’s a great reason to ride out that way.  So, given the weather, I had the thought to at least test the “to 580”  piece of this route.  But no dice.  It was getting colder, wetter and darker and it just felt right to turn around at about 20 miles; making for a 40 mile round-trip (just past the daily minimum).  Ten miles short of 580.  Still, it felt right.  I always go with my hunch!

For the second day, I felt surprisingly decent.  I was expecting to have more saddle discomfort (i.e. pain in the what-what area), but that was OK.  I’m starting to feel some strain in my right knee that I haven’t felt before. But not unexpected after riding 2 consecutive days.  So I will baby my right knee considering the remaining distance.

I will say – this beauty is priceless for the quads and glutes (I’m pretty sure this is one of the only reasons I’ll be able to ride multiple days in a row):

MA1020

And onto Day 3, Tour de Tri-Vally.

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