Words: Joe Hall | Date:
For some it’s been a wash out, for others it was a week of snow and ice, and a number of lucky riders enjoyed the sunshine of the southern hemisphere. Whatever the conditions, thousands jumped upon their favourite rigs and went in search of that magic number – the Festive 500. More riders than ever took part, and we were thus inundated with entries creatively documenting each journey. Our challenge partner, Strava, even asked us to create a T-Shirt for the event. Some rode into the thousands, others just about made it to the 500 mark. But, without further gesticulation, here’s our Festive 500 2013 podium.
Last year’s winner, eight-year-old Mini-Pips did it again this time with some extra fell running thrown in for good measure. From the photos on his blog, the lad always seems to have a sunny disposition, remarkable considering the extremely soggy and grey winter conditions Pips and his Dad were riding in. Regardless of whether his old man was doping him on Skittles and Coca-Cola to fuel his compact engine, this kid deserves the plaudits.
2nd: Brian Toone
Go over to Brian’s blog for a more detailed explanation of what he got up to but, suffice to say, riding in extreme sub zero temperatures not only takes good kit and big cajones, it also requires mental fortitude worthy of a prisoner of war. The guy resides in Alabama, which has a far milder climate than where he ended up over Christmas, the frozen state of Wisconsin (to visit the in-laws). We’re guessing he’d do anything to get away from his wife’s family but still, riding 500km there over a week is no mean feat, especially with the winter the USA is currently experiencing. We hope you’ve thawed out now Brian. Well done.
1st: In One Go
Technically we’re not allowed to use the word ‘epic’ anymore. It got rather overused and, a bit like a US Postal jersey, it’s best left for special occasions only. But this is one of those occasions and the film below is our grand prizewinner. Four riders and one filmmaker decided to attempt the 500 all in one go from Paris to Haarlem in the Netherlands. We’ll let the film do the talking but it ticks pretty much every box for us, although they could do with a bit more Rapha kit… Which no doubt they’ll agree with. One of the two riders to finish the journey (two dropped out in Brussels), Bas Rotgans, reflects on his achievement as he pulls to a well-deserved halt on his 507km trip: “I’m too tired to be happy right now.”