Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Festive 500


With Hanukkah in the bag and Santa soon on the way with his, I should be sitting in front of a fire, with a glass of eggnog and a plate holiday cookies near at hand. Instead, I'm wondering if I can cycle 500 km (310 miles) over eight days, from December 23 through December 30.

Ordinarily it's a challenge to pedal my way to 100 miles in a week. The challenge – titled the Festive 500 – to complete 310 miles comes from a cycling clothing company, Rapha, for which I have an absurd sense of brand loyalty. I'm a fan because the website, in addition to selling bike jerseys and shorts, offers up some fine photography and pretentiously enjoyable writing. You can read about the challenge, made last week, here. Participants are going to make a record of their rides on the blogs, facebook page,

Although, according to my ride log, it looked as if I'd crack 4,000 miles this year, events intervened, and I was prepared to fall a few hundred miles short. If I can pull off the Rapha throw-down, though, I've got a chance to reach my goal of 6,400 km (kilometers sound more impressive than miles). Even so, the 300 miles would bring me about 40 miles short of my goal. I thought I could narrow that gap considerably over the past few days so that, even if I couldn't meet the Rapha challenge, I'd at least come very close or even hit 4,000.

However, the amount of rain in the City of Angeles over the past six days has approached near biblical biblical proportions. I stayed off my bike and made sure we had emergency food, flashlights, snorkels and swim fins at the ready.

Late yesterday afternoon, rather than allow the precipitation to put a damper on my training any longer, I pulled out my road bike and my rollers. Going nowhere fast, I spun my wheels under the protection of the front porch. After 30 minutes I was deluged with sweat, yet I was warmed both in body and in soul.

The ladies prepare to race on rollers (from

As darkness fell, I climbed on my fixed gear bike (easier to clean than my road bike), and circled clockwise around the blocks my quiet neighborhood. My bike was quiet, too; the only sound it produced came from its wheels; with sibilant whispers, they parted
the waters flowing over the pavement.

In the beam of my handlebar-mounted bike light, I watched drops of water, like little spheres of sparkling jewels, fly off my front wheel, while raindrops fell on me out of the black sky above. With the ride over, and b
ack in my house, I stripped off the wet lycra and stepped into the hot water of my shower, baptizing myself a third time.

Bring on the Flood. Bring on the Festive 500.

Assuming it doesn't rain, I'll bring a camera with me on some of the rides and post photographs and progress reports here.

See more about rollers here.

No comments: