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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Festive500!

Hey hey bike fans!

On the Strava site (if you're not on there and have a Garmin unit or GPS smartphone, get on it, and if you follow me, i'll follow you back!) i noticed the 'Rapha Festive 500' contest, where you log 500km from Dec 23rd to 31st, and then maybe get to win stuff! Hurrah - seemed like a fun challenge!

I was especially inspired after a week of dry riding, and logging some good hours throughout December, and i've been really enjoying my time on the bike (much more so - often as my ride ends, i'm happy to be home and get off the bike, but lately i actually want to keep on going! Kind of unusual for me, as a trackie where the moto is 'the shorter the better'!) So i jumped into the contest, and here it is:

RIDE #1 - Friday, Commute (12.4km, only 487.6km to go!)

heh - it's a contest right? Every km counts! I knew i was going to log a few km commuting going to the climbing gym and riding around doing some chores, so here it is. =)

In other news, i had checked the results, and by this point some people from Australia had already logged over 400km in 2 days - yikes!! I have 12.4km!

RIDE #2 - Saturday, Oak Bay Bikes Group Ride (98.6km, 111km Total)

No better way to get things started than my weekly group ride from the Oak Bay Bikes shop. As mentioned, we've had a spell of fantastic weather, so the light rain wasn't a chore. Given it was Xmas Eve, we kept the pace really civil, and only five of us rode the full route.

Doug, Dan and company, nearly back in town.

RIDE #3 - Sunday, Xmas Day Torrential Downpour (29.2km,  140.2km so far)

The day was promising to be a crap one, but i managed to pick the single worst hour to be out...it just poured while i was out..very demoralizing. Entire ride consisted of heading out to the Switch Bridge, a common meeting spot where some others were possibly into an Xmas Day ride, and ran into Dan Leonard, who was logging a ton of km that week, and so encouraged him to join up to the Rapha500, and he quickly got the job done, the first in Victoria, and all of Canada i believe!

The wind was so strong that on the final stretch of my ride, despite just cruising along, i got a PR for a 4km section...

Just a bit of wind and rain this day..
Pictured is my trusty Ridley Orion winter bike,
note the proper 'Wet Coast' fender & extender. ;)
Happy to be heading home and drying off..

RIDE #4 - Monday, Victoria Wheeler's Annual Boxing Day Time Trial (85.9km, 226.1 - almost 1/2 way!)

Always a fun test in the middle of our winter, the TT itself is just under 14km, on a pretty flat route. In the past i usually podium or am close to the top, usually not too many 'big hitters' out, and in part to lax participation from clubs, i managed to pull off one final win for the season! (Results)

Was expecting rain, but it held off, and enjoyed the ride back into town with Alex and Megan.

TT participants, post-TT

Came back along the lovely Lagoon Rd Reserve

Alex and Megan

RIDE #5 - Wednesday, Solo Saanich Swim Ride (79.2km, 305.3 mostly wet kilos)

I nearly cracked this day and gave in.. It had been pouring rain for about 48hrs (didn`t bother going out Tuesday), and no sign of it abating. The only redeeming value was that it was a balmy 12C outside thanks to the wind from the south. But that still meant wind.

Many awful experiences to share from this, but perhaps the worst was any descent, with the rain smashing into my face and no optics due to the rain...after the big descent on East Saanich Rd, i opted to ride as few hills as i could... Misery was compounded with headphone issues, so even music was a frustration.. As i was on my way back into town, things started to come together, and i nearly enjoyed the last hour, despite the persistent weather conditions.

One of my few comforts..my home-made cocoa-orange chocolate chip energy cookie-bars
- vegan of course!

I'm sure people are jealous they missed out riding in THAT for nearly 3hrs!
Food done...back to the rain..

RIDE #6 - Thursday, Lucky Timing (66.7km, 372km total - two days left!)

It's been dry in the mornings the last few days, but still calling for rain in the afternoons and evening. By the time i wrapped up work, it hadn't started raining, so i opted to get out, and managed to keep dry!

I felt like i was gambling with this route - i kept taking small sections that wove me away from town, but not too far in case the rain started...

On my final stretch along the Dallas Rd. waterfront as the evening was settling in, i saw Sylvan up ahead and chased him down to chat for a bit, and see how his riding was going.. After turning around for the final stretch back along the water for home, it started to sprinkle, and the wind was picking up. Turned out that evening was one of the worst nights for rides, and Sylvan was just getting his Rapha500 started...!

RIDE #7 - Friday, More Commuter Miles (16.8km, 388.8km - one day after this, looks good!)

Okay, it's a bit cheap, but i wanted a rest day and needed to do some chores, so logged my 'recovery' miles as i went to my bike shop Oak Bay Bikes, visited my buddy Emile, did some shopping, and then went downtown later to my club OrganicAthlete Victoria's primary sponsor Green Cuisine vegan restaurant for dinner with a friend (and a shameless opportunity to plug some awesome sponsors. ;)

RIDE #8 - Saturday, The Final Stretch, Another OBB Ride (123km... ??? total??)

Eeep! It's looking good! The loop is ~100km, so i figured adding on about 30min will get me safely over 110km, which was the goal for the day.

Thankfully, while cold, it was dry! Cruised over to the shop, and there was a good turn-out, and we headed out. Two flats in the first 30mins delayed things, but no issues the rest of the way to Sidney.

There, met up with Peter and Sylvan, who were also finishing off their Festive500 duties - Peter had about 170km left to go, and Sylvan needed around 200km to ride. That meant they'd both been out for the earlier Tripleshot 80km ride - yow!

Sylvan, Peter and myself - the Rapha Three!
What on earth is Peter doing with just knee warmers? It was below freezing when he started!

Usually from there the group splits into a more 'peppy' group, and followed by a more 'steady' group. The three of us started to roll out with the peppy group, but as it was only about 5 people, we opted out, as it would mean a lot more work (at the front in the wind)...!

So we hung back and headed out with a much bigger group than usual.

The Oak Bay Bikes group!
On the road on Land's End

With the riders off the front, it meant that none of us could win the ride sprint, which bummed me a bit, but i figured i wouldn't have a lot of gas in the tank anyway.

Things got busted up on the Panorama Hill (posted my second fastest time) thanks in great part to Rhonda, and we split the group in two - Peter and Sylvan were in the front with me, so all good.

The pace was pretty steady back into town. Just past Brentwood (i think) the lead group met back up with us, so the sprint was fair game again!

The Sprint Report, brought to you by Dave`s Vegan Cookies:

Geoff took off pretty early, just before the hill by the Observatory (later he told me he just wanted to go harder and get more of a workout) - no one really chased, but the pace was still fairly high. The 15-or-so of us kept it together down the other side and around onto Interurban. We could see Geoff dangling ahead, and Peter started to tow the group at a faster pace... He pulled off, i then chased for a bit, then fell back to sit in. Wasn`t sure if i was going to sprint or not..still had over an hour of riding to go!

Got shuffled around in the group a bit, and Adam De Vos blasted away as the pace eased a bit... He caught Geoff fairly quick, by Camosun. I contemplated bridging up, but we still had about 1k to go to the sprint, and there was a very strong headwind.

Peter got back on the front and picked up the pace again, and the gap really began to shrink. There were a few more people up front, pulling and pulling off...over the final crest i was 3rd wheel behind Guy and Trevor, and Guy was putting in an effort. I felt solid, and was in a great position, so decided i would sprint!

We were just about to hit the final 'double' - two little risers with the sprint line 50m beyond the crest, and Guy pulled off. Trevor usually puts in a good effort, and so i was hoping to soak his draft for another 20m or so to get me up the hill a bit more, but he stuck to Guy's wheel and didn't pick up, so it was go time!

I jam the pedals seated for a few strokes as we speed up the hill, then i'm out of the saddle hammering for all i'm worth! We fly past Geoff, who's clearly died, and 20m before the line i grin over at a flat-lined Adam as i'm leading the charge for the line!

I haven't looked back, so no idea who's coming up - but i press on knowing there's someone to my left... 5m and i can tell it's Tom Skinner. Uh oh! 4m...3m...the gear is feeling big...2m..1m...he's right there - i throw the bike, and it looks like my wheel hits the line first!!! I raise my arm, but so does Tom!!

It was really close, and it's New Year's Eve, so we agree on a tie for the final win sprint of the OBB ride for 2011.

At that point, Peter has logged all the kilos needed for his Festive 500 - another reason to cheer! We continue rolling into town, i also take the final King of the Overpass at the Switch Bridge. ;)

The group is really shrinking, and on Harbour Rd Peter and Sylvan turn off for a coffee shop stop. Geoff, Adam and myself carry on for the final stretch along the water, and afterwards continue on for a little while longer, just to ensure that i get the distance i needed - plus the sun was out, and i was feeling great, despite having logged 512km in such a short time (much more than i'm accustomed to!)

Nearly there!

Big ups to Strava and Rapha Clothing for putting on the Festive 500, it was a ton of fun (despite the crap weather here!) Good motivation to get out and ride, and inspiring to see how others are doing (the current leader logged over 1,400km..wow!)

Thanks to two other club sponsors for keeping me going, Vega for their bars, gels and fantastic Sport protein powder, and to Purica for their amazing Recovery ES product - nearly magical i say!

And mad props for the other four Victoria, BC riders who completed this - Dan (who may lead the country with 551km!), Peter, Sylvan (did i mention he rode about 460km in the final two days) and Jamie Cameron, who is in California for the holidays, and finished the Hincapie Grand Fondo today. Also congrats to Andrew Pickell from the mainland (Vancouver), who for all i know is the only other Canuck to complete the contest, and is new to the cycle-racing world!

See ya out on the bike in 2012!!!


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    Dave Shishkoff
    aka Dave Noisy
    Victoria, BC

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