The Festive 500 *805* 2015

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that" M. Luther King Jr.

For the fourth year running, it begins... The shortest day of winter is past, and in celebration I am going to ride my bicycle. Out of the darkness, and into the light. In preparation for a great 2016, it is time for the Festive 500.

The forecast promises another week of gale force winds and driving rain. No change on previous years there, then. My ride plans are not set in stone though, so I'll see how things pan out. The aim is simply to ride: with friends, with smiles and with a camera; to explore and take the road less travelled. This year, my hope is to make it an Imperial 500 (i.e. 805km rather than 500km). Let's see how it goes. I will document the adventurous week here on the blog...

Final Challenge Summary Stats:

  • 834 kilometres (518 miles)
  • 32hrs 50mins
  • 10,850 metres ascent

Ride 8: 'NYE Century Ride' (in a Gale) - Heading out into the elements for the last ride of 2015

162.8km --- 6hrs 30mins --- 2,173m ascent
Another early morning start, up with the sun

Blackgang made twice as hard by a gale force headwind

Blue skies and a rising sun


Atlantic rollers battering the south coast of The Island

The long road home. 100 miles banked.

Ride 7: 'Festive Commute Day #2' - Ahead of the storm. Then, back through it.

59.6km --- 2hrs 28mins --- 486m ascent

Ride 6: 'Festive Commute Day #1' - Squeezing in those miles

62.9km --- 2hrs 40mins --- 495m ascent
Dawn riding

Ride 5: 'Sunshine and Speed' - Pushing the gear in good company

133.4km --- 4hrs 49mins --- 1,783m ascent
Another early morning start to get the miles in. A beautiful sunrise.

The first climb of the day, up Cowlease Hill

Sunrise over Luccombe Farm

Looking back on Military Road

Long shadows at The Needles

Ride 4: 'Showers, wind and sunshine' - A good ride with good friends

121.0km --- 4hrs 41mins --- 1,594m ascent
Gulls struggling into the wind at Freshwater Bay, much like ourselves

Setting sun

There have been plenty of hills so far this week. Plenty more to come...

Rollers on the south coast of the Island

Ride 3: 'Lighthouses. Pub lunch. Deserted lanes in the fading light'

151.6km --- 6hrs 6mins --- 2,407m ascent
Culver Down - The first climb of the day

Wroxall Down - The only way is up!

Stormy Seas

St. Catherine's Lighthouse

Deserted lanes (no strawberries at this time of year)

Post lunch - Second lighthouse of the day

Fast setting sun on the English Channel

Back along the Military Road

Lights on. Head down. Head home. 

Ride 2: 'Christmas Day Shower'

52.8km --- 2hrs 2mins --- 765m ascent

Thank goodness for Gore-Tex. Ride 2 was the opposite of the day before; peppered with heavy showers, it was a quick two hour blast up and over Blackgang. Festive cheer and a festive smile remained though, whatever the weather.

Ride 1: 'Laps of East Wight - Barely a cloud in sight'

90.0km --- 3hrs 31mins --- 1,145m ascent
One of my New Year resolutions, will be to do more video for the blog. Here is a bit of a fly-through of my sunny Christmas Eve ride, to kickstart the Festive 500.


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