2015 Rapha Festive 500

Today, I finished up the Rapha Festive 500 challenge to ride 500k (310 miles) between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. This makes three years in a row now that I have been able to complete the challenge, which hasn’t always been easy, given that we usually spend most of that time up in snowy and cold northwest Wisconsin. My ride today was a 78.8 mile ride from Shell Lake, Wisconsin to Heartwood Cabins (where Kristine and I had our wedding reception in 2003) via Hayward where I switched from my mountain bike to a rental fat bike.

One of the things that was really interesting this year is the crazy weather we have been having down in Alabama. Temps have been in the 60s and 70s degF just about every day in December. With these rare hot temps, I have been riding in shorts and short sleeve jersey unzipped nearly every ride. Then during the week before Christmas, it got even hotter despite the weather turning quite wet – Birmingham set record high temps three days in a row in the middle of some nasty rain and thunderstorms. Two of those days included December 24th and 25th – the first two days of the Festive 500. Transitioning from that to snowy Wisconsin was quite a shock to the system as evidenced by the table of rides below:

Ride Distance Climbing Pace Avg HR Temp
12/24 Hoover, AL fast century before Christmas Eve 101.95 mi 13,264 ft 17 mph 128 bpm 64 degF
12/25 Hoover, AL gunshots, thunderstorms, and rain 104.44 mi 9,859 ft 16.1 mph 116 bpm 63 degF
12/26 Shell Lake, WI around town garmin in pocket 2.8 mi 118 ft 6.5 mph
34 degF

*
12/27 Shell Lake, WI timberland hills 49.76 mi 3,320 ft 13.7 mph 117 bpm 18 degF
12/28 Shell Lake, WI finishing the festive 500 78.86 mi 4,879 ft 12.9 mph 123 bpm 16 degF

Here are a few more details and pics from these rides as each had something noteworthy that doesn’t fit into the table above.

12/24/2015 at 10:41am Hoover, AL fast century before Christmas Eve
Average temp 64 degF Distance 101.95 mi
Moving time 6:00:47 Climbing 13,264 ft
Elapsed time 6:12:59 Speed (avg/max) 17/52.8 mph
Summary – this ride was special because it was the first of two back-to-back centuries that I completed to bring my Eddington number up to 100 for the year. Also, we were having such a great morning together as a family that I waited as long as possible to leave for the ride so I could still be back for the Christmas eve service at my brother’s church. I rode really fast, especially for the amount of climbing, doing a the Columbiana tower loop.

Merry Christmas from the Karl Daly manatees!

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12/25/2015 at 2:11am Hoover, AL gunshots, thunderstorms, and lots of rain – Merry Christmas y’all – 100 100’s in 2015
Average temp 63 degF Distance 104.44 mi
Moving time 6:28:28 Climbing 9,859 ft
Elapsed time 6:54:01 Speed (avg/max) 16.1/42.3 mph
Summary – what a crazy ride this ended up being to finally bring my 2015 eddington number up to 100. At about 3:30AM near Midfield, I heard gunshots immediately before two cars came speeding through a red light at an intersection on US Hwy 11 in the pouring down rain. I started this ride super early so I could get a century in before Christmas morning. I tried to dodge the numerous thunderstorms which were making a spectacular lightning show, but ended up getting dumped on several times. After a quick stop by the house to say good-morning and Merry Christmas to the kids, I finished up a very wet century just in time before everyone else came over for our traditional Christmas breakfast.

The Hoover municipal center always has the coolest icicle lights.

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12/26/2015 at 11:55am Shell Lake, WI around town garmin in pocket
Average temp 34 degF Distance 2.8 mi
Moving time 0:26:10 Climbing 118 ft
Elapsed time 1:16:17 Speed (avg/max) 6.5/17.7 mph
Summary – immediately after Christmas breakfast, we packed up the car and drove 1100 miles north to Shell Lake, Wisconsin leaving just ahead of the sever flooding and tornados that hit Birmingham that afternoon. We left Birmingham with the temp at 76 degF and arrived at Shell Lake with the temp at 26 degF – a 50 degF drop in temperature. After driving straight through the night, I was so excited to see all the snow that I hopped on my mtb with my Garmin in my jeans pocket (which is why the average temp was in the 30s instead of the 20s) and rode around town taking pics.
12/27/2015 at 11:36am Shell Lake, WI timberland hills
Average temp 18 degF Distance 49.76 mi
Moving time 3:37:19 Climbing 3,320 ft
Elapsed time 3:49:51 Speed (avg/max) 13.7/30.0 mph
Summary – after morning church at the church where Kristine and I got married 12.5 years ago yesterday, I hopped on the bike to go for a ride out to the Timberland Hills ski area while Kristine took the kids to go pick up the skis and go skiing up in Hayward. Timberland Hills is interesting because it is part of the terminal moraine (unglaciated part of Wisconsin) so it has some pretty steep hills. I did a few repeats to get up to 1,000 meters of climbing.

First ice beard this trip.

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12/28/2015 at 10:35am Shell Lake, WI heartwood to finish the festive 500
Average temp 16 degF Distance 78.86 mi
Moving time 6:07:27 Climbing 4,879 ft
Elapsed time 7:06:27 Speed (avg/max) 12.9/34.0 mph
Summary – we had our wedding reception at the Heartwood pine mountain lodge exactly 12.5 years ago today, and each year we take the family up and rent a cabin for a few days to go cross-country skiing. Last year, we discovered that it’s possible to rent fat bikes in Hayward. I had a blast, so this year I rode my mountain bike to Hayward and left my mountain bike with the great folks at New Moon bike and ski switching bikes to a rental fat bike, which I rode from Hayward west to Heartwood. The direction I was heading is important because I did the 42 mile ride from Shell Lake northeast to Hayward into a nasty headwind, which meant that I had a nice tail crosswind to push me the remaining 37 miles from Hayward to the cabin at Heartwood. I finished in the dark about an hour and a half after sunset but ahead of an approaching winter storm.

Kissick swamp, winter wonderland.

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