It all started (well we're claiming it did anyway) when road.cc and off.road.cc reviewer Matt Page documented his successful attempt to complete the whole Rapha Festive 500 before Christmas day last year. This year, we've noticed a fair few hardy cyclists doing the full 500km in one exhausting ride... is it the new Everesting? We sent Brad out to give it a go!
With friends and relatives to visit and hangovers to contend with, sometimes it's not always practical to go out riding every day between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, one of Brad's motivations for taking on this monster challenge. Of course, riding 500km in winter isn't advisable unless you're a very experienced rider and have all the right equipment; and even if you do, such a huge ride is never going to be without its challenges as you'll see in the video.
Brad's big loop around Southern England had plenty of trials and tribulations along the way. Have a look at the route here...
After a good first half, a brutal headwind for hours on end and a snapped gear cable that meant Brad was stuck in a huge gear made for a very testing end to the challenge:
"I was genuinely thinking of giving up.
"My mate text me and said use your limit screws, so I managed to get a slightly easier gear... it made that last 100km so much harder than it needed to be.
"At quarter past one in the morning I realised that I've still got about 12km to go, and I'm right next to home!
"It was a tough decision but you've got to make it, so I just added on a little loop around some local roads that I know and made it in at just before 2am."
Over Christmas, we asked you to tag us in your Festive 500 rides on komoot for the chance to win a free year of komoot Premium. After picking a winner at random we can reveal that winner is Richard Frans, who also completed the whole thing in one ride along with his brother Erik. Told you it was the new Everesting!
Richard was kind enough to tell us about his ride, undertook in pretty grim weather conditions around the Netherlands and Germany.
"I left home at 4am to meet my brother at the start of our tour. When we meet, we’re both 32.5km on our way. I feel like I might be dressed too warm today, although it’s winter the temperature doesn’t feel like that. It’s 6 0C, dry and not much wind.
"From the Northeastern part of the Netherlands we go southwest to Nijmegen. After a few hours it starts to drizzle now and then and the headwind is getting stronger. At Nijmegen we got some heavy rain and we need to put on our rain jackets. It was to late actually, the drizzle rain we had for some hours before had already soaked us.
"The remaining 300km we had to keep our rain jackets on, not just because there was much more rain to come but also to keep us warm.
"From Nijmegen we went east, into Germany. Here we found a petrol station where we could restock, as both of us were out of water. We followed some old railways (thanks to Komoot highlights), which are now only allowed for bikes.
"Radbahn Münsterland was beautiful, although it was dark when we passed it. I’m sure we will visit it again in one of our rides this year. Slowly our route is turning back north. Near Bad Bentheim two deer crossed the road in front of us. One of them decided to go back and missed me by just 10cm... and not much further we heard some noise in the woods, it turned out to be a wild boar! It came storming out the woods and ran 5m ahead of us for a short while before he disappeared on the other side of the road.
"The last part of the ride is as always the hardest, when sleep deprivation occurs and it’s getting colder again. We were glad we reached Emmen where we had to split up, my brother went northeast and I went home west. The last part was a headwind for me, I can’t recommend that after such a long ride.
"Despite the wet and cold weather we had a great ride, and I’m already planning some other long rides. Soon we need to start the preparation for the Race around the Netherlands."
Are you considering a 500km jaunt over the next festive season? Let us know in the comments!