Last year I had seen the Rapha Festive 500 when it started and saw it finished. I didn’t manage to ride 500 kms in 8 days and I didn’t care since it was winter and really cold.
But later in February on a race (The Slovakia Experiment, recommended!) I saw the roundel that everyone gets who manage ride that much. When I saw it I immediately decided I have to be a part of it next year.
So I started it this year a — bit late though — but still thinking about if it’s really worth it.
When I’m on the road nothing matters. Just riding and set my mind free from the daily stress. Nowadays it’s really foggy around Budapest and the plain grey sight really helps you to reach a blank state of mind as you are just watching it for hours while repeatedly pedaling on a 85–90 RPM cadence.
I always struggle how I should dress for a multi-hour-long ride. I usually overdress so I’m soaking in sweat after the first 5 km. But that is fine. I rather sweat a lot and drink a lot than get cold. Getting cold is also not that good because you loose energy not just because you are pedaling but because you are cold. Your body tries to make itself warm and in order to achieve it needs to burn energy, the same as you are using to cycle.
My best dress so far between 10 and 0 °C is Rapha’s Merino Long Sleeve Base Layer with a softshell jacket over it. I have a bib tight and under it I add my summer bib short and knee warmer. For the foot I use a neoprene overshoe with a merino socks and it is more than enough.
Since I’m overdressing with the above mentioned clothes there are two tricks I use:
- I don’t stop riding or
- if I stop it’s at least a half an hour break inside a warm pub or coffeeshop
So if I stop I freeze to death because of the sweat. If I stop for at least half an hour my clothes have time to dry. The only caveat with these half our stops is that I’m not able to cover a long distance during winter time since it is getting dark pretty soon. (Hungary is not in the right timezone but that is another story.)
So my advice for next year’s Festive 500 rides is to find the right clothes and never stop.