Festive 500: Our Whimsical Prep Guide!

The Festive 500 – that time of year when cyclists everywhere face the age-old dilemma: brave the chill for glory, or become one with the couch and an endless stream of holiday specials? This year, Björn and I, in a fit of what might be seasonal madness, decided to swap yuletide cheer for bike gears. Yep, we’re diving headfirst into the Festive 500, pandemic or not. Family, forgive us, but the open road calls!

This is our maiden voyage into the frosty realm of the Festive 500 Challenge. With the winter gloom as our backdrop, we’re battening down the hatches, prepping for what’s essentially a holiday on wheels – sans the eggnog.

Route Roulette

So, the game plan is to clock in 500 km over eight days. Easy, right? Maybe in a parallel universe where the weather plays nice and our legs are always raring to go. But here on planet Earth, it’s anyone’s guess.

Since the family gatherings are a no-go this year (thanks, COVID), we’ve got all the time in the world to pedal our way to victory. We’ve mapped out a smorgasbord of routes on Komoot, mixing asphalt adventures with off-road escapades. The goal? Keep it flexible. Feel like a mountain goat? We hit the hills. Weather’s got us down? We take the scenic (read: shorter) route.

Fuel for the Fire

Now, onto the real MVP of any cycling challenge: the grub. Sure, we could live off toast and pasta, but where’s the fun in that? Our Festive 500 feast is all about oatmeal power bowls, decked out with all the trimmings – think seeds, nuts, and a cheeky square of dark chocolate.

On-the-go snacks are a no-brainer: Clif Bars, vegan jerky, and whatever fruit can survive the journey. And once we stagger home, victorious but spent, we’ll be tucking into a festive banquet that would make Santa think twice about his diet.

Dress for Success (or at Least for Survival)

Dressing for a winter ride is like playing a game of thermal roulette – you’re either overheating or one gust away from becoming a cyclist-sicle. Our wardrobe is all about layers, with a capital L. From thermal jerseys to weatherproof jackets, we’re ready for whatever Jack Frost throws our way. And yes, we’ve got the whole glove-and-sock ensemble down to an art form.

The Steeds

Big news – we’re ditching our trusty bikes for this adventure! Thanks to Cannondale, we’ll be piloting the Topstone Carbon Lefty 3s. Gravel bikes with a bit of extra cush? Yes, please! Plus, we’re all about that extra storage for our snack haul and, of course, the all-important coffee substitute (because café stops are so 2019).

Pre-Ride Rituals

Before we set off, it’s all systems go: fuel up, bike check, and maybe a little stretch to convince our bodies we’re not completely mad. And let’s not forget the unsung hero of any long ride – chamois cream. Trust us, your future self will thank you.

Post-Ride Pampering

After each ride, it’s not just the bikes that get a TLC session. We’re talking stretches, maybe a cheeky massage, and a dollop of recovery balm to keep the soreness at bay.

Keeping It Clean

Winter riding equals one mucky bike. Good thing we’ve got a low-pressure cleaner to blast away the worst of it before giving the drivetrain and brakes some much-needed love.

In Conclusion…

So there you have it – our slightly unhinged plan to conquer the Festive 500. It’s less about the miles and more about the smiles, the togetherness, and, let’s be honest, a good excuse to eat more pie. Here’s to a holiday season filled with joy, laughter, and maybe just a little bit of cycling-induced delirium. Ride on!

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