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Friday, January 15, 2016

Rapha Festive 500 - Its not cricket

One of the oldest recognised sports on record is the game of cricket, which dates back to the 17th century.
It was a gentleman's game and if anybody got out, he used to walk without hesitation or prompting from the umpire. Players, usually from Royal background or belonging to the upper class of England, preserved their dignity and believed in playing a fair game and never resorted to abusing, pushing, pulling or showing disrespect to any player. 

They also applauded a good show of the opponent and even congratulated them for taking a wicket or scoring a shot. It was normal and expected that if the umpire was unable to see something then the player would honestly reveal the facts which would affect a decision. 
Any departure from those principles of fairness was considered to be ‘Not cricket’ and often meant that something was unfair or plainly ‘just not right’
For the last few Years Strava in conjunction with Rapha have devised a challenge called the ‘Festive 500’ which involves cycling 500 km between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

Well call me a cynic but I think it’s a bit of a coincidence that Strava’s HQ is in San Francisco and just down the road is the San Francisco Rapha shop.

With a December average temperature of 10 degrees c and very little risk of frost or snow it seems that for those living in California the Festive 500 is quite tame.

If however you live ‘North of the wall’ as it were.
In ‘wildling country’ (Yorkshire)’s a totally different story.

Ice, snow, and any other precipitation horizontally blown by gales that require you to consider stabilizers for your bike.

Quite frankly ‘its just not cricket’

Just like the English and Australians cricketers battling out for a famous yet insignificant and diminutive urn, I have battled for four years to try and win a cloth roundel. The prize given for completing the cycling Festive 500 challenge.

Each year I have been thwarted by work or family commitments, weather, illness, injury, accident or a combination of two or more.
Two years ago I was so close only to come a cropper on black ice with the end in sight breaking a couple of ribs.
After a mediocre year on the bike I was determined that 2015 was going to deliver me my roundel.

Day 1. This provided the sort of daily mileage that I required but with freezing temperatures and biblical down pours my spirits along with my winter boots were severely dampened

Day 2. Christmas Day - Another freezing day with strong winds and driving rain. Any mileage a gift  on this special day.

Day 3. Fine and sunny day although severe local flooding. All roads had standing water where a pedallo would not have been out of place. Submerged pothole wrote off rear wheel. Not happy reduced daily mileage and now behind schedule.

Day 4. Great Club ride in freezing conditions but Dry !!!!!!! clawing back the mileage.

Day 6. Festive 50 Sportive Miles mean smiles.

Day 6. Another great Club back on track

Day 7. With 50+ mph winds I had to get creative with two carefully selected routes

Day 8. Of course its not cricket, its cycling and its meant to be tough.

Waiting patiently for my Roundel.

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