*UPDATE: As we expected Matt smashed his challenge, completing the required 500km plus a tad extra for good measure in under 19 hours on Christmas Eve!
And to prove unequivocally that it happened, the ride in all its glory has been uploaded to Strava of course. Matt will be telling us how he did it and how it went very soon - in the meantime if you want to donate to his chosen charity to show your appreciation, the link is here.
Original article below...
"500 kilometres. Eight days. Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve", says Rapha of its annual Festive 500 cycling challenge, which has now become a bit of an institution and an incentive to burn off the turkey for many of us... but for road.cc and off.road.cc contributor Matt Page, the 'within' eight days rule has been taken to new extremes, as he'll be attempting to complete the whole 500 kilometres on Christmas Eve!
Raising funds for the Cardiac Risk in the Young charity (CRY) Matt will set off just after midnight on 24th December, and aims to finish before Christmas day. Anyone who has covered the 500km (310 miles) within eight days before will know it ain't easy, with often nasty British weather to contend with as well as the distance. Matt will be hoping it's not too brutal when he sets out for his challenge, saying: “The long dark hours will certainly be one of the biggest challenges with sleep deprivation and fatigue likely to affect my performance. I’m no stranger to a tough or long event, but I fully expect this to be the most difficult thing I have ever attempted. To push me through, two very special people I knew will be in my mind”.
Those two people are Ben Forsyth and Charlie Craig, two hugely talented riders Matt "knew and admired but sadly left us too soon". The CRY charity was set up to raise awareness of and reduce young sudden cardiac death, and the money raised from Matt's challenge will be split between the funds set up in memory of Ben and Charlie.
Matt's route (that you'll be able to track on the day) will take him around large parts of Wales, starting in Carmarthenshire and heading south through Pembrokeshire, before following the coast all the way up north to Dolgellau, Bala Lake and towards the English border, before heading back down south. The full lap is just over 500km and mostly "flat" according to Matt, but there's still a healthy 5000 metres (16,400ft) of climbing thrown in for good measure.
He plans to complete the ride solo, non-stop and unsupported, and will even be testing a few bits of kit for road.cc on route - just in case you weren't sure if we test things properly round here! Matt has also put together a video on his YouTube channel with a full breakdown of his bike and kit...
On the day, he encourages plenty of cheering and motivation if you live on/near the route and posting photos to social media with the #festive500nonstop hashtag, but requests that no one tries to ride with him.
All being well, Matt will finish before midnight on the 24th and enjoy the most well-deserved Christmas dinner in the history of Christmas dinners the day after. He hopes to raise £750 in aid of CRY; and with 76% of that target raised already at the time of writing, hopefully it will be smashed come Christmas day.
Once more, you can donate via Matt's JustGiving page here, and here is the link to follow his progress on the day. To find out more about CRY, click here. If you're planning to complete the Festive 500 yourself but in a bit more than 24 hours, then you can find plenty of info over on Rapha's website.
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.