|Elvar Örn Reynisson||
Strava, the app I use to log all my training data and Rapha, famous for there quality cycling clothing is asking strava members to ride 500km over the Holidays, why, becose some Rapha employe did just that some years ago and since then it has been a tradition.
If You Would ask me can you ride 500 km in 8 days i would say, easy, but can you do it in Iceland in december my answear Would Be, depends. It depends on the weather, on my health and my family. But then why ride 500 km between christmas day and new years eve?
My answer to that is it is my way of live, my new way of live that is. 3 years ago I was 147kg and now i can say cycling saved my live and you could also say that Strava saved my live. Strava gives normal people, or even overweight people the chance to challenge them self's and for me it was one of the biggest factors that I wanted to go out there, try out for personal best in segments on my ride to work, my weekend ride and to collect km on the monthly challenges.
So back to the Festive 500. It's only 62km a day for 8 days, sounds easy but like I said, depends on the weather. In Iceland doing it on road bike is out of the question. If you are lucky doing it on cyclocross bike without winter tires but reality is studded tires and riding with low tire pressure as low as 30psi at the front.
enough of me whining and let's go out and ride.
But first, the plan. The weather forecast was as expected freezing cold, -10 but low wind for the first days, then rain expected with more wind later on. I wanted to ride more the first 3 days so I could take the saturday off, recover, and spend time with my family.
Festive 500 day 1 - Christmas eve
Good thing that you could start in the morning, extra day and the weather was beautiful, but the snow makes every thing, harder, slower and water is freezing in my bottles. My plan was to ride around 80km this day, taking it easy and to do so we headed north from Reykjavík all the way to Gljúfrasteinn, Gljúfrasteinn was the home and workplace of Halldór Laxness (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955) and his family for more than half a century. It has now been opened to the public as a museum, unchanged from when Laxness lived there. For cyclist it's the point where most rides end except for the super long rides in the spring and summer. No spring or summer for me, just freezing cold and snow on the roads. Back to Reykjavík and lap around the capital to collect my first 85km and at sunset in Iceland at 15:33 I rode home, tired but ready to celebrate Christmas with my family.
Festive 500 day 2 - Christmas day
At Christmas day it was time for group ride with my team, Reykjavík cycling club (www.hfr.is), and it was way faster than day before, so fast I was scared that my legs would fatique to much so I tried to ride easy, not in the wind end like before we headed up north. More snow on the roads, less road service and harder to ride but avg speed much higher. Lot's of fun and after 60km most of the guys headed home and I rode for 30 extra km on lower pace. Again home at sunset, ready for family party at my parents.
Festive 500 day 3 - second day of christmas
Happy with my 2 days I headed out to ride another 80+km so I could take the saturday of completely.
Starting the day with my club it was more fun to collect the first kilometers and the best thing with the day is that my friend, cyclist and photographer wanted to follow us and photograph. I also used my two Garmin virb acton cameras to get all the scenery, action and fun times on film.
Festive 500 day 4 - family day completly of the bike
Festive 500 day 5
Now it was time to get serius, I woke up erlier than usual, was out at 8 in the morning and started to collect km befor the club ride at 9:30. As usual It was fast and I let my self drop from the group when the guys started sprinting for no reason. I rode on my own for some time, got fuel on board and then I found the other club, our rivals, but of course friends. I rode with them for the rest of the day. After some riding we were three left, all of us trying out for the Festive 500 and I told them about my trips to Gljúfrasteinn, and there we ended with total of 95km that day.
Festive 500 day 6-7 - rainy day
Working for 12 hours on day 6 and 7 my plan was to ride 20k before work and 20-35 after work.
With rain and wind coming early morning I cut the morning commute to work short on day 6. and in the evening I felt a bit tired, sick and had an awful headache. I rode the shert route home from work and had a good night rest. I rode the short route to work on day 7 feeling a bit worried about the challenge. 120km to go so I rode 40 km in misurable wether from 10pm to 1am.
Day 8. New years eve
With 76km left to complete my festive 500 challenge I set my self a 80km goal for the day. I knew that it would be easier to complete than previous two days since one big new years eve club ride was scheduled. I was out erly in the morning and rode half a lap around Reykjavík before the club ride. 35 people showed up for the ride and when most people went for lunch I kept going with just 10km to go. I decided to ride more scenic route home and just had to stop and take this photo of one of my favorite hills in Reykjavík.
I was happy and proud to finish the challenge and with only four guys finishing in Iceland I like the extra bragging rights that come with so few finishing the challenge. Like stated before I like the motivation that strava brings to my cycling.
I used my Trek Boone 5 disc every day with Suomi tires W240 700x35 studded tires and somtimes tire pressure as low as 30psi in the front and 45 in the back which is somewhat low for me weighing 90kg