Tag Archives: cold

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

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Hurricane Ridge and the Olympic Peninsula

Tacoma Narrow bridge 260 miles later, much more windy this time across.Tacoma Narrow bridge 260 miles later, much more windy this time across.

Olympic Discovery Trail on my way to Port Angeles and the bottom of the Hurricane Ridge climb.Olympic Discovery Trail on my way to Port Angeles and the Hurricane Ridge climb.

We are up in Tacoma, Washington visiting family for Thanksgiving, so yesterday I rode from Tacoma up through the Kitsap Peninsula onto the Olympic Peninsula, attempted to climb Hurricane Ridge but only made it halfway before running into snow and ice on the roads, and then rode all the way back to Tacoma – a 260 mile adventure that started in the dry upper 20s degF at 1am and ended 20 hours later at 9pm with the last 8 hours riding in rainy mid 30s degF. I crossed the Tacoma Narrows bridge twice, but both times at night so I still haven’t seen it in the daytime. At 1am on my way out, everything was perfectly calm and very cold. On the way back in, it was quite windy pushing my bike sideways on the bridge and very wet.

In between the beginning and the end, I made all kinds of discoveries that matched and even exceeded my expectations for riding in the Pacific Northwest. It was quite dark riding across the Tacoma Narrows bridge, north through the Kitsap Peninsula, and crossing the Canal Bridge onto the Olympic Peninsula. The roads were almost entirely deserted until I made it to WA-3, WA-104, and US-101 where I started to pick up quite a bit of truck traffic presumably heading towards Port Townsend and Port Angeles.
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