Every Christmas when Rapha announces the Festive 500, I always sign up on Strava with ambitions of completing the challenge… but then a gift box of porter arrives, along with a wedge of cheese, followed by a bottle of a whisky someone thinks I’ll love (which inevitably I always do). The nights are stretched with merriment and the mornings with slow rises. Then, usually with ~75km in the bag, the bells ring for New Year’s Day.
This year will be different, I always say, but… this year will be different.
The plan for day 1, Christmas Eve, is to ride 145km of tarmac and gravel – nicely setting up an explore feel to the week.
Then Barb turns up, uninvited, unwanted, and unable to take a hint. With that in mind the new hope is to just get as much road under the wheels as possible. But with forecasters from the same offices unable to make up their minds as to what will happen, how much road will be questionable.
I head south along Genaral Wade’s Military Road, which skirts alongside the A9, with the aim of climbing north out of Dalwhinnie. If all else fails I can cry into the distillery for a warming nip!
9km later thick wet snow is falling heavily from the sky.
Every flake sticks to me and rapidly melts into my clothing,
all of my kit has completely wetted out and the roads are rapidly vanishing.
The return home is not ideal. My gloves are now dripping with ice water and my second pair might as well be sponges. After climbing out of the saddle and getting into dry clothes, the rest of the day will be spent sat in front of a fire sipping tea and whisky, glad that I at least cracked the first few kilometres.
If you would like check out my Festive 500 campaign give me a follow over on Strava