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Cycling for fun and sanity.

Festive 500 / 2020 – AN EXPERIENCE REPORT

In the last post we told you about our plan to ride the Festive 500 this year. We did and here’s our experience report and some photos. We hope you enjoy having a read and a look.

DAY 1 – Festive 500 | 0/500km

Since the morning was pretty rainy, we decided to stay in bed a little longer. Afterwards we had our Superfood Bowl for breakfast and got ready for the ride.

64 km were on the plan for today. Our route took us through small wooded areas, nice empty trails full of puddles and deep mud. However, as long as we didn’t get stuck and had to push our bikes, we really had a lot of fun riding through mud. Some more than others.

One can imagine how the bikes and our gear looked pretty quickly then. It’s been a mud fest. Luckily there was no more rain all day.

We headed back towards home in the dark, and it was starting to get a little chilly for us, since our feet were getting wet and cold.

Just outside our front door, we noticed when looking at the Wahoo that not 64km but only 53km were on the meter. WTF?!?! Well, so we did a little extra lap and had at least 60km showing on the meter. We have to catch up a few km in the next few days then.

Once we got the rough dirt off the bikes, (thanks you little brave low pressure cleaner) we moved into the warm. Along with us on our clothes still came a lot of dirt into the apartment.

Now our stomachs are stuffed, all body parts are warmed up again and it’s time to relax on the couch. Already looking forward to Day 2.

DAY 2 – Festive 500 | 60/500km

Today we got up early, as the forecast had given us bright sunshine, despite the cold and tiredness at the same time. We headed off in the direction of Sachsenwald. According to Komoot we expected a: “Heavy gravel tour. Very good condition required. On some passages you may have to push your bike.”

What can we say, our “route builder” ruffle didn’t actually do us any favors. It was super beautiful in the forest, but the trails were a real challenge.And so we moved forward quite slowly between mud and tree roots – although it was also fun, but what it showed us: you are not able to do many kilometers if you ride at the same pace at which you could also push the bike. Yet, actually the @ridecannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty 3’s great suspension and its 47mm 650b tires still helped us a lot today.

After 5 hours of riding, we had 75km on the speedometer, had been on the road for over 7 hours, had frozen feet and empty stomachs. It was a really long day, now we are exhausted and looking forward to a movie and the couch. What’s up for tomorrow? We still have to figure that out. Definitely one thing, though, keep going.

DAY 3- Festive 500 | 135/500km

Since yesterday our route led us through strenuous terrain, today the plan was to ride as many “flat” kilometers as possible.

Unfortunately we didn’t feel really fit after yesterday, we were tired, had some muscle ache and furthermore Björn’s right knee was hurting. So the new, fast and mostly flat route was just right for us today. Fortunately, there was no rain this time and the wind only hit us from sideways at first. However, on the way back we had to fight against some headwinds. As well as against the cold that slowly crept through our clothes.

We could hardly wait to get back home, we really had enough of wind, cold and aching knees. Nevertheless, we covered just about 72 kilometers and were thus able to do 40% of the #festive500.

Now we’re going to relax our muscles and knees and have a rest day tomorrow. That means more kilometers on the other days – we’ll see what comes, but for now we have to listen to our bodies and give them the time to recover.

DAY 4- Festive 500 | 202/500km

Completely exhausted, tired, sensing parts of my body that I haven’t sensed in ages. Today’s rest day is obviously much needed. How one can feel so limp after some cycling is a mystery to me. An even bigger mystery is, what does my body want from me? And this … knee…

Jana also feels a bit tired and has slight muscle soreness, but compared to me, she seems to be in top shape.


DAY 5- Festive 500 | 202/500km

After our rest day yesterday, we felt ready to start day 5 of the #festive500 this morning. Our muscles have been grateful for the rest. We rode the same route that we rode the day before yesterday, since we were much faster there than on pure gravel roads, except for the headwind. Maybe not the most exciting option, but a good choice nonetheless.

After the first ten kilometers, however, we had to stop because Björn’s rear wheel lost air. So we had to re-pump and continue. A few kilometers later, the pressure was gone again and we knew we had to take a closer look. So we found two holes. As we ride tubeless on the Cannondale bikes, we were hoping for the holes to seal on their own. Nope. Clearly not with completely dried up sealing milk. Damn. So switched to an inner tube. We lost a lot of time because of this, but at least we rode on without any problems afterwards. Björn’s knee started to complain every now and then, but it wasn’t as bad as on the last ride.

Day 5 and 281km done. Let’s see how our bodies feel tomorrow and if we can continue.

DAY 6 – Festive 500 | 281/500km

Buddy, can we go out and ride tonight…?

No, unfortunately not, Lefty. My knee is complaining again and on top of that I pinched some nerve yesterday and my back is hurting. So: sofa so good.

Jana rode a solid 40km on Zwift next to the sofa. Being a good husband, I supported her mentally and with refilled bidons.

I want to get out again… But I have to listen to my body.


DAY 7 – Festive 500 | 321/500km

It’s day 7 of the #festive500 challenge and as I write these words, I’m lying on the sofa with my leg resting up. Things with my knee have not changed, so that’s it for the challenge for me. However, as I am not alone, I have this wonderful woman by my side. She has reached 387/500km and has just dropped the idea of doing the remaining kilometers tomorrow on Zwift in two stages. I have nothing but admiration left for her. Yes, it’s not cold and windy inside, but with the monotony on the turbo, I would never do more than 2 hours of riding on it.

I’m very curious to see if Jana will pull this off tomorrow. Let’s see, maybe we’ll share something with you folks. I strongly believe in her and if it doesn’t work out, she will still have ridden as many kilometers in that 8 day period as never before.


DAY 8 – Festive 500 | 387/500km

Happy New Year. Day 8 of the #festive500 and thus the last day. Unfortunately Björn could not continue, his challenge was over after 280km. Thanks to his painful knee. But you have to listen to your body.

I, on the other hand, decided to finish the remaining kilometers on the rollers on Zwift. So this meant: 120km left to go. Indoors, my longest ride so far was 50km. Although you are not exposed to the elements, riding outside is a bit more exciting and diverse. Totally motivated I rode the first 61km, ate a piece of cake and started the second ride. After 4 1/2 hours of riding I was done. Finally, with 511km, at least one of us mastered the challenge. We are both proud of ourselves – because we have not done that many kilometers in a row before and I have only really started cycling this summer. Let’s see if we will try again next year, in any case we are looking forward to a 2021 with lots of time on the bike!


Festive 500 | 511/500km