Kevin’s Festive 500 Diary - December 2018It all started with the long-range weather forecast. Christmas week looked mild, dry and wind-free - about as good as could be expected for December. Christmas is not a big family thing for me. I alternate my mother staying with my sister or with me, and this year was her turn... The plan could be on! It did mean she was staying for New Year instead though, so NYE was out. Just seven days of the eight available.I didn't want to commit too early, so I kept an eye on the forecast. It was still looking good on the day before Christmas Eve, so I signed up. My faithful singing penguin from the Christmas club ride was still taped to my bike, so he joined in my adventure, but, for some reason, he was so excited he lost his voice. Probably for the best, said Simon. I could not help but agree.
Christmas EveI'm working today, so a quick pre-work sprint is needed. 05:50 and I am out of the door, all lights fully charged. Up to Rufforth, Askham Richard and Tadcaster, then back to York and some local laps. I resisted my usual urge to go sweet spot speed and tried to conserve some energy for the rest of the week. At least it was a beautiful morning, a full moon lighting my way surprisingly well. 54/500
Christmas DayNo such thing as a day off. Ride with Wendy, so a more relaxed pace. The planned ride to Castle Howard was abandoned as she was knackered, so a flatter ride in the area was the result, plus some extra near home to rack up the missing distance. Traffic was busier than expected - all those people driving to their dinner. 111/500
Boxing DayBonus! A group ride with Lewis, Jonathan and Simon - who is also doing the challenge. Less of a bonus, the pace and the hills. Don't they know I have to keep this up for a few more days? Very foggy up Nunburnholme Hill. I have to dissuade Lewis from a trip to Thixendale, from which all roads are up. Quite tired by the end - Simon and I limp home from Claxton - having to decline Jonathan's kind invite for a coffee in order to see our own families. An extra bonus - this brings up my 10,000km for 2018. 239/500
Thursday 28th DecemberBack to work. Another early start, and back on the Tadcaster loop. I could see the fog across the fields from Rufforth, so not a surprise to run into it. Fog in the dark is properly unpleasant to ride in, and a limiting factor to making good progress. Imagine how unhappy I was to get a puncture - having to change the tube under bike lights near the windmill. Not quite the distance I had hoped for. 286/500
Friday 29th DecemberAnother work day, another ride in the dark. Getting bored, so tried something else. Laps of a local 9km circuit, so five laps (still boring, sadly). No fog today, so the staff at the Ship Inn must have been sick of seeing me. 342/500
Saturday 30th DecemberA ride with Simon. Chain and cassette so worn, I had to break out a back-up bike. A 36/25 bottom gear and general weariness encouraged us to seek out a flat route to Howden. Sadly, the wind had saved itself for today and it was desperately hard work on the way back into a headwind. Taking turns with two people gives so little rest, and Simon was a tower of strength today. Ran out of energy by Naburn. 453/500
Sunday 31st DecemberClub ride to finish off. A little extra beforehand (to top the leaderboard...) but only 47km needed. Easy, but I made it easier by going out with Group 1, and hanging around at the back. It turned out I had energy to spare, despite the previous day. Nice and steady, although I felt obliged to go for it on Whixley Hill. Fastest time of the day, so job sorted! 533/500I'm not going to do this again, certainly not while working anyway, as hours in the darkness before work should be an occasional pleasure, not a regular chore. It is also definitely a challenge as the fatigue builds, and with no rest days. Chapeau to the Grand Tour and ultra-endurance riders. Their class is obvious.Thanks for the support of everyone who rode with me during the week.