Events: The 2016 Festive 500 Day One
(2016) Ride Distance: 22 Miles / 288 Miles Remaining
The Festive 500 goal is apt to be respected.
Somewhere in the recesses of my memory, a story regarding a motivational speaker came to mind. A willing participant was called up, asked to identify his dominant hand, and was prompted to hold a weight straight out for as long as he could. In the silent auditorium, he went as long as his arm could bear. Then the speaker changed the game. He told the man to hold the weight in his non-dominant hand, he would be given periodic time updates in reference to his previous effort, and asked the audience to encourage the man for the duration. Amazingly the man vastly outperformed his dominant hand.
Or was it really amazing? To the naïve person, the man’s dominant hand denomination would be questioned. To the trained person, the recognition of goal setting and encouragement explained the participant’s success. A goal is key to success.
Early morning last minute shopping as well as freezing rain precipitation led to less than desirable motivation to start the inaugural day of the Festive 500. For those new to this idea, the Festive 500 is an internal challenge to ride 500 kilometers from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve. Rapha has sponsored the Festive 500 each year. Other factors that make this year’s Festive 500 difficult include the major holidays falling around the same time.
This year Hanukah starts on the first day of the Festive 500. Obviously Christmas falls on the 25th. Kwanzaa and Boxing Day both fall on the 26th. This year’s challenge will certainly throw roadblocks for a vast majority of those attempting the 500 kilometers.
Along with the precipitation, laying witness to some of the tempers on the road deterred the idea of starting the Walking Purchase route. Those who don’t live in Bucks County, PA, are not aware that the Walking Purchase path is now a major throughway. Those light of heart will find it rather difficult to trace the exact path of the three walkers. After being cut off twice during the morning shopping and witnessing an audacious U-turn on a freeway, it was quickly decided that if any ride were to happen, it would be local.
Local indeed. I would ride alone. At first I thought to ride short. Feeling fairly fit the prospects elongated the route. I was concerned about the glare from the wet road, but motorists gave fair passage. Perhaps it was the Holiday Spirit that led to drivers giving me a bit more space than normal. Regardless I was willing to accept it.
It struck me as strange that the entire route would have been considered frontier prior to the Walking Purchase. Each hill and dale was considered Lenape/ Delaware tribe land prior to the westward expansion. The woods, despite feeling new, covered many of the ridges throughout the ride. Old farmhouses and barns, dated post Walking Purchase, dotted the landscape.
No sooner did I get into a rhythm than the back tube called it quits. I figured this would happen considering the chipped shoulders and wet roadway. Luckily the puncture happened near a bench not far from home. The worst part came when the CO2 cartridge came up lame. No gas discharged from the new cylinder. I had to make the call for only the second time ever to be picked up. It was frustrating to resort to sitting on a bench and waiting for the Missus. It gave me a chance to think and piece together the strangeness it of it all. The puncture happened as I approached 412, the only time on today’s ride that involved the Walking Purchase.
I learned a lot from last year’s successful Festive 500. The distance is to be respected as well as seized when the opportunity strikes. Today the opportunity presented itself. Perhaps the ghosts of the Walking Purchase provided a warning that this study will not go willingly. Furthermore the site of exactly zero cyclists proved that the dominant hand would not have won out today. Cycling’s a weird sport. The encouragement comes from a static location and the riders ride far from the home base of all those that cheer him/ her on. Knowing that a little encouragement from the home audience can help reach the goal is no different than the eight days of the Festive. Given that the Festive 500 is an internal goal, the home cheering squad may just be the final detail to complete all