Christmas usually comes with loads of food at family gatherings. But for many cyclists the days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve have a whole different priority: the #Festive500. The global challenge is to ride 500 kilometers in eight days. So this year we spent a big chunk of the holidays on our bikes.
We, well one of us.. completed the challenge with a mix of different rides: road, gravel and virtual in two different countries. Here’s our photo report.
Day 1: Volcano Circuit
We kicked off the challenge with a bunch of laps around Watopia’s Volcano Circuit. Indeed, a ride on the indoor trainer. Of course, cycling outside is way more enjoyable, but the Swedish climate during December isn’t really pleasant. We only had six days of time, so the head start was a warm-welcome begin. It was Robin’s longest ride so far indoors. Mentally it was actually pretty okay. Sabina rode it in two different rides, one at midnight and one during the day.
Robin: 108 km / 537 m / 3:43:14 h / Zwift
Sabina: 110 km / 542 m / 4:01:48 h / Zwift
Day 2: Frosty road ride around Häckeberga
On day 2 it was time for an outdoor ride. The route was based on a ride Robin did back in September, during much warmer temperatures. The day began with frosty vegetation, frosty roads, frosty everything. Roughly halfway in we had to shelter in a supermarket with a hot chocolate to defrost our fingers and toes. Yet again, a fairly easy ride with photo breaks.
Robin: 101 km / 556 m / 4:24:14 h / Sweden
Sabina: 101 km / 637 m / 4:26:14 h / Sweden
Day 3: Skåne to the volcano
While the cold but beautiful scenery on day 2 made up for a lot, the cold and grey during day 3 was a bit more challenging. The wind near Skåne’s coastal gravel roads combined with the wind chill of minus 2 degrees Celsius were tough. After 55 km and rain showers about to start, We decided to move to somewhere warmer – to our sweaty pain cave. Here we both rode a few more laps through the virtual lava fields.
Robin: 92,5 km / 345 m / 3:57:06 h / Sweden + Zwift
Sabina: 89 km / 317 m / 3:54:26 h / Sweden + Zwift
Day 4 Teanu island
Waking up on day 4 of the #Festive500, motivation was nowhere to be found. Opening the curtains of the sleeping room definitely didn’t help. With sore legs Robin hopped on the trainer once again. YouTube videos, Spotify, a video call with his mum and a phone call with Michael from @BikepackingSweden luckily killed the time. He managed to ride a little over 80 kilometers.
After the long ride on day 2 Sabina’s knee had started to act up. We raised the saddle on day 3 but it was too little too late. On day 4 it was still too painful to ride. After a mini warmup she already had to stop. Maybe some rest will help?
Robin: 82,2 km / 334 m / 2:59:56 h / Zwift
Sabina: 13,1 km / 64 m / 29:41 h / Zwift
Day 5: Mandatory rest day
No time for cycling today, as we flew to The Netherlands to visit our relatives! Sabina tried her sore knee out, but it was still too soon.
Sabina: 4,2 km / 11m / 11:31 h / Zwift
Day 6: Hometown ride
After the mandatory rest day Robin’s legs no longer felt like his feet were stuck in a bucket of concrete. Sabina’s knee was still a mess, which unfortunately ment she had to give up.
No Sweden, no Zwift. Instead we had a typical Dutch winters day with rain and wind. We totally forgot how densely everything in the Netherlands is. The amount of cyclists is gigantic. On a single day you see more cyclist than we see in Sweden in a whole year. Robin: “It felt really good to cycle on familiar ground around my hometown. Even more so because I was in company of my father! The fact that I came home completely soaked didn’t mind me at all.”
Robin: 71,6 km / 26 m / 3:02:55 h / the Netherlands
Day 7: South-Holland
On Robin’s sixth riding day – and the seventh day of the challenge – he was about to complete the #Festive500. A ride of just 45 kilometers was enough to mark 500 kilometers. Robin: “The weather was pretty good and I had planned a ride I rode a lot when I was still living in the Netherlands. The route follows the Waterweg (canal), the shoreline and back zigzagging through the greenhouses. I was planning to ride on New Year’s Day too, but the next morning I couldn’t be bothered. After all it was time to bake ‘oliebollen’ – a Dutch delicacy of deep-fried round doughnuts eaten with New Year’s Eve.”
Robin: 60,5 km / 70 m / 2:36:29 h / the Netherlands
Robin managed to cover 516 kilometers in six days of riding. Unfortunately Sabina had to call it quits after 318 kilometers because of a knee injury. Luckily her knee felt better after a few days of rest and soon we were able to ride together again. Not because we had to accomplish a challenge, but simply because we love to ride our bikes.