as i pointed out in a tweet to andy storey (prendas) this past week, i may not be renowned for much, but i was amongst the 94 individuals who undertook rapha's first festive 500 way back in 2010. that was the year that islay received its most substantial drop of snow in almost twenty years, a fact that required a last minute change of route because a major part of my daily kilometreage was under several inches of the white stuff. hardy individual though i like to think i might be, despite being aboard a cyclocross bicycle, i could not ride fast enough to keep warm. aside from falling off twice in short order, my fingers were so cold, i couldn't feel either the brake or gear levers.
i did successfully apply for my sew-on patch on the culmination of those first 500 kilometres, but in subsequent years, i've considered it more of a personal challenge and i sure as heck haven't signed up on strava for this year. though rapha are offering a rather magnificent prize for the individual who best documents their festive ride, i'm quite content to watch the numbers accumulate on my garmin just to make sure i'm not cheating. i'm sure imperial works will find out in due course.
according to rapha, over 72,000 riders signed up for the ride last year, though only 13,311 completed the full distance. lest you figure the latter is a compressed simile of the fate that befalls most gym memberships, i have the greatest of sympathies with at least some of the hapless dnfs. because i live on the outer edge, a matter of metres from the north atlantic, there have been more than a few festive days when the windspeed was well above that which would engender safe cycling. i've always been really lucky that days such as those have appeared strategically, allowing sufficient time to garner a few extra kilometres before running out of time.
but it's been close more than once.
it is, however, worth recalling that the festive 500 is a challenge, public or personal; even if the garmin fails to rack up the full 500, provided you make every effort, there is no shame in failing to finish. as rapha lead designer and the man responsible for the whole experience, graeme raeburn said "For me itŐs not a mile chasing, head banging, bar chewing, macho thing. It's really about getting out there, enjoying being out on your bike and being with other people or visiting other people. It's about the spirit of Christmas."
and this year, for the first time, rapha have provided us the ideal apparel in which to experience the fun and frolics. available in both long and short sleeve, imperial works has augmented their core range once more with appropriately decorated jerseys, matching casquette and contrasting socks. with the core range occupying the lower cost rankings, this means that you'll have more cash left to buy an impressive present for your nearest and dearest who will probably be left on their own rather a lot between christmas and new year. either that, or the very same individual might consider buying the kit for your christmas present.
though perhaps not applicable to the san francisco rapha cycle club, or any of those down under, the festive period is often fraught with precipitation on a grand scale, in which case you might wish to avail yourselves of the core rain jacket, described as "an extremely lightweight and packable outer layer designed for rain and wind." to put not too fine a point on it, when they said"lightweight', they weren't kidding. 'diaphanous' might be a more accurate description. impressively still featuring a hang loop at the collar (you'd be surprised how many jackets are devoid of this compulsory feature) and an adjustable cord at the hem, you can scrunch this into almost insignificance to stuff in a jersey rear pocket. and having done so, there's still room for a skoda in the same pocket.
by the very nature of being waterproof, the jacket is also windproof, but neither that nor its compactability would be worthy of praise were its force-field properties to be found wanting. fear not, for even 70 kilometres in wind and frequent heavy showers were insufficient to get my festive 500 jersey wet. since the specialized crux has not acquired the mudguard/fender habit, all that road spray from the rear tyre simply dripped off the back onto the road from whence it came, leaving the festive 500 core jersey dry once more. and as an intrinsic factor that is something of a deal-breaker for yours truly, the sleeve length is perfectly judged.
i cannot deny that i still breathe a smidgeon more than does the jacket, but that's a holy grail yet to be mastered by almost everyone. still, you probably shouldn't leave home without it.
rapha's core range festive 500 jerseys are available in sizes xs to xl with prices starting at £75 for the short sleeve and £85 for the long sleeve. the casquette is priced at £15 and proving that art lies in the detail, features an outer tab with the dates of this year's eight day challenge. the socks can also be purchased for £15 in sizes s, m, l and xl.
the core range rain jacket is available in sizes xs to xxl in chartreuse, red, navy or black at a retail price of £100.
sunday 11 december 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................