Rapha Festive 500 – Day 8

Another Rapha Festive 500 has come to a close. What a great event to unite and motivate cyclists from all over the world to get out and put an exclamation point to their year of riding, as well as fight the battle of the Holiday bulge…those Christmas cookies can weigh heavy on your waistline.

I polished off my remaining 48 km at Flatwoods Park, with many cycling friends, who gathered not only to celebrate the end of the year, but also help pull for our new friend Kurt “Tarzan” Searvogel as he closes in on setting a new world record in cycling distance. It’s still staggering to comprehend that he has been riding between 220-240 miles a day, every day, regardless of weather conditions to surpass 75,000+ miles.

Our plan today was to assemble as many riders as possible and pull Kurt around the Flatwoods loop for 100 miles or more. About 20 riders showed up, and our ranks grew quickly as we circled the loop looking for Kurt. Many in the group had not ridden a century before, let alone even a metric century, but they were game to try.

We set our speed to 20-21 mph and actually stuck to it for a change. Some riders got happy feet when it was their turn to pull, but we either quickly reminded them to maintain the set speed, or just let them pull ahead on their own. It’s always funny to see a cyclists expression when they signal the end of their pull and turn to notice no one is on their wheel.

We ran into Kurt on our 6th lap. That’s approximately 44 miles of riding, and many were already burning out from the pace. A good number of riders rested, while a handful of us preceded to pull Kurt at his requested pace of 22 mph. A few hopped back onto the pace line after resting for a lap, but quickly dropped off, as the pace was now quicker than they expected.

By mile 50, I was needing, as Paul Sherwin says, a “nature break”, and pulled off the extremely reduced pace line, and head for the bathrooms on the Morris Bridge side of Flatwoods. Both bathrooms were occupied, and I was well past doing the “pee-pee dance” to hold it is, so I headed off to a secluded dead end picnic road to find a “bush to water”.

Relieved and lighter, I headed back out to the loop to try and hook up with the group again. You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find someone out on the loop if both parties are moving. It’s not uncommon to be at opposite ends of the park at all times, which is exactly what happened to me. One and a half solo laps later, I just turned off the loop, and headed to the Bruce B Downs entrance.

My odometer showed 64 miles, short of the planned 100 miles, but still a good chunk of mileage, especially considering this was already a 700+ mile month for me. More importantly though, I wrapped up the remaining 48 km of the Festive 500 and then some, actually ending up with a total of 554 km.

So, the Rapha Festive 500 and the cycling year has drawn to a close. It was a fun event and a great year of cycling. My total mileage was lower than normal, but I made up for it with quality over quantity, not to mention a good amount of elevation, considering I never rode outside of Florida during the year. I’ll wrap up the year on another post. Until then, have a happy New Year, and may may your 2016 be filled with many miles of smiles!

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