Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Events: Planning the Rapha Festive500

Events: Planning the Rapha Festive500

(2015) Some people give Rapha a bad rap. Critics say their stuff is overpriced. Others say it’s too trendy. I’ll say two things about them: Since they arrived in the cycling world many companies have either started as an inspiration or companies have been forced to step up their game. The other is they create spirited challenges that inspire to get out. One of those events is the Festive500; it starts Christmas Eve and ends on New Year's Eve.  

Then there's the day after Christmas. That’s the third day of the Festive500. It’s also coincidentally the day many riders sprint out of the garage, ducking the still-opening door for the whole world to see what was gifted to them. The numerous rides that commence around the world on December 26th are more of a fashion show than anything. “Oh these $300 bibs? I’ve had them in my closet just for today. Yes I know about that tag hanging off the back.”

 

This ride is a challenge to complete 500 kilometers in the eight days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Be ambitious and do all 310 miles in one day (Yeah. Sure). Gamble on weather and do the roughly 38 miles each day. Or mix it up and crank out a couple big days to buffer the small – or poor weather – days. Do it alone. Do it with friends. Do it with lonely friends. It’s up to the rider. That’s the best part.

 

As I plan out my route for this year’s challenge I am making certain that one of the days around Christmas passes through Washington’s Crossing Historic Park. It’s not a bad way to commemorate the 239th anniversary. (I could go to the reenactment the day before but really I should spend the day searching for all those cycling garments I stowed.)

 

When all is said and done, Rapha will send a badge to those who complete it. It’s not fully Strava based, thankfully. Those who are still unplugged can simply photograph the weeklong effort and send them off to England where judges will compare the photographer's skills to small people such as Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange. Hopefully your F-Stop is dialed in before departing. It’s all about the experience, and isn’t capturing every couple miles with a snapshot better than not documenting it at all?

 

I am hopeful to see many participants during the week of and after Christmas. It’s through that week many riders may downgrade the cycling priority. Using Rapha as a nudge to get back on the bike may just be what keeps off those winter blues.

*An earlier version incorrectly stated the first day of the Festive500 was the day after Christmas. It has since been corrected and updated to reflect the true date.

Rides We Like: Java’s Brewin’ Group Ride Led by Spinteck

Rides We Like: Java’s Brewin’ Group Ride Led by Spinteck

Rides We Like: Up Uhlerstown Hill

Rides We Like: Up Uhlerstown Hill