Events: Routing the Festive 500
(2015) I can barely see thirty yards out across my backyard. It’s foggy and gross. It’s been tough to breathe. I’m starting to get the sense of the formidable obstacles presenting themselves already for Rapha’s Festive 500.
I had two options for routes this year. Since I am not the ambitious type recently, I immediately nixed the possibility of recreating The Stoepidest Week Ever: Kermesse Sport style. What is The Stoepidest Week Ever you ask? A group of cyclists (of which a couple were from around these parts of Pennsylvania) rode one Spring Classic course per day for one whole week. They attacked the bergs of Flanders and got pulverized by the cobbles of Roubaix. I wonder what they think of the classics now?
For a very (very) short time I entertained the idea I would ride the Sourland Semi-Classic on day one. Then I would return to ride the Hell of Hunterdon for day two. Fools Classic, Fleche Buffoon, and Bastille Day Randonee would probably put me over the top mileage-wise. I then remembered just how hard each ride is to do for one day and shook off the thoughts of A Delaware Valley Stupidest Week Ever. There’s always next year.
The second option is a lot more appealing to me. It embraces the historical theme of this area. Since a lot of Colonial business was happening in 1776, it feels only natural to attempt to recreate the goings-on during this time. That means this ride will ride in the snowy postholes of Continental soldier footprints during that fateful week 239 years ago.
The first day needs to start with a ride to Trenton to recreate the Tory Doan brother, Moses Doan, who had spied Washington moving toward his location. Colonel Rahl disregarded this note as it was found on his person when they counted the dead. The note was rumored to have read, "Washington is on you coming down the river, he will be here afore long. Doan." The Battle of Trenton lifted the spirits of Washington's men.
Day two – Christmas Day – could benefit from riding over Jericho Mountain, which Washington used to shield his troop movements, and straight into Washington Crossing Park to cross the Delaware. I won’t be hardcore about crossing by approaching the Delaware as a cyclocross hazard. Instead I’ll walk it over the bridge Washington opted not to take.
Day three may find me pedaling around Durham, PA where the Durham Boats were made. These were the boats Washington supposedly used to cross, although there’s debate on their plausibility. The sheer difficulty of getting cannon and horses into these boats leads some to believe Washington crossed on a ferry platform. That’s hardly the stone-cold image we all have of Mr. Washington.
Day four could target Newtown where the Continentals stored money and supplies but would be knocked over by the Doan Outlaws. It has a nice coffee and waffle shop called the Zebra Striped Whale that would make a great destination.
Who knows where I would go beyond these days. Certainly hopping a path down to Valley Forge could be an option, as could heading east to Princeton. There are so many options to consider for the Festive 500. Luckily the surrounding area is ripe with destinations to recreate the stirrings of two forces fighting for different causes. It is because of Rapha’s event that I will attempt to visit all of them over the course of eight days.