The Festive 500 is a world-wide cycling challenge run by Rapha, challenging you to cycle 500 kilometers over 8 days from (and including) 24th to 31st of December. The Rapha Festive 500 riding challenge is back for the thirteenth consecutive year, with riders across the globe looking to take the famous Strava Challenge in eight days.
Last year, more than 65,000 people took part in the challenge, showing just how popular it is amongst hardcore cyclists and Triathletes looking to put a few kilometres in between Christmas and New Years Eve. And maybe burn off a few of the holiday treats and goodies. Its a great way to roll into the new year and new goals kicking off 2023 training a week early.
For those that are unwilling to brave the weather, or in places like here in Alberta where its been below -25 all week – Rapha has continued its partnership with Zwift, so every kilometer you ride indoors counts toward the challenge too. I’ll definitely be riding all the Zwift miles to get my 500km in.
Quiet roads, the sun in the winter, the excuse to have some nicer treats…whatever draws you to riding in winter, having the right gear and set-up ensures that you will be able to brave the weather and have a bit of holiday fun on the bike. A few of the athletes I coach have been training to take on the challenge not only to tick off the 500km but to build their fitness up to a level perfect for enjoying a festive 500, sending them off into the New Year fitter than they were and ready for a great kick off for the 2023 season.
Fitting the festive riding in with a packed calendar of Christmas meals and celebratory drinks, and winter weather, is far from simple. Take the Challenging for those folks up in Seattle, WA, who for a few years now have been making Rapha Festive 500 the Brevet, reducing an eight-day challenge into a 40-hour limit. It can be tempting to look up some really awesome routes that involve lots of climbing, but if Festive 500 includes more miles than you are used to riding during the week, try and stick with flat options that are available to you in your local area and plan to space them out with several medium rides instead of starting off with a massive ride the first day and burning out.
Picking longer routes to ride for the Festive commute, or adding in early-morning/evening rides, can really help to add distance. The Festive 500 is a fun challenge because, if you are already riding a bike regularly, the total distance is actually not all that hard to hit, and its a great way to connect with the cycling community over Strava or Zwift as you rack up the kilometers.
I’m off to Zwift land to start putting in my kilometers towards the Rapha 500 now. Follow me there – Jenna-Caer Seefried