Rapha Festive 500: Rediscovering Winter Training

1 Feb

I mulled over what to post too long and Rapha has already announced their choices for best postings from the Festive 500.  (Though to be honest, their interim update post had a better texture to it.) I have well and truly missed the boat.  But this is something I want to write, so here it is.

Winter training for the road rider can be as much a psychological challenge as a physical one.  Rousting yourself to get out the door and into the cold becomes a barrier built up one excuse and one hesitation at a time. Too cold, too dark, too windy, too lonely, too boring. Except it’s not, and it’s never as hard as one imagines once you actually get dressed and swing a leg over the saddle.

So the challenge tossed out by the folks at Rapha — 500 km in the last eight days of the year — was a welcome excuse of a different sort.  A good reason to end the post-cyclocross layoff and head into a heavier winter base than I’ve done in my last few seasons. A good reason to kickstart the winter and fall in love with neoprene again.

I fell woefully short of 500km.  A day lost in the car either way en route to Christmas at grandma’s and the blizzard that set in moments after I rolled up the driveway one day just as snow started to stick guaranteed that I wouldn’t make up for my slow start.  In the end, that didn’t matter.  The Festive 500 worked. I got a rolling start on the season, leading to my best January training totals in years.  Better, I got a reminder that it’s fun to ride.  Putting in hours in the saddle on quiet winter roads is a joy to be treasured, not a penance to be endured.

Chapeau, Rapha.  I still can’t afford your clothes but I am in your debt for this one.

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2 Responses to “Rapha Festive 500: Rediscovering Winter Training”

  1. Michele February 2, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    Love, love, love: excellent post, amazing photos (esp the one with the garage), and cool new blog theme.

    • learninghowtosuffer February 2, 2011 at 8:58 am #

      M — thanks! Photos all from iPhone: GorillaCam and minor editing in Photoshop’s iPhone app PS Express.

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