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The 2012 Festive 500

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It was harder than last year but I managed it. I’m not sure why it was harder except for the fact that it was consistently 10-30 degrees colder than it was last year, but that just made it feel more authentic. I also rode my second-ever century (the first) on many roads I’d never ridden on before, which was painful but left me with a great feeling of accomplishment.

Day One

Rolled with the Oak Cliff crew I frequently ride with. Some new roads for me in an area I ride frequently, and the best weather of the entire 500.

Day Two (Christmas day)

Leaving for the snowy Christmas day ride

I got Penn a new bike for Christmas so he was anxious to get on it. Unfortunately it was raining all morning (I’ve never opened presents to the sound of thunder before). As soon as the rain turned to snow in the afternoon we headed out. The additionally unfortunate part was that there were 20+mph winds. Penn made it over two miles before he asked to turn around. Pretty good I thought. We were both miserable.

That night’s Christmas dinner was an amazing time with friends that deserves its own blog post but will probably be reserved for our oral history.

Day Three

The day after Christmas was again really cold (for Texas), and I couldn’t find anyone willing to ride in the sub-30°F weather. I managed a measely 20 miles in the morning, then Penn and I went out again in the afternoon.

Showing Penn how to true a wheel

Day Four

Rolled out with the Oak Cliff crew again, this time led by a local road/cyclocross racer of repute. The temperature never rose above 40°F. The ride, that was originally planned to be “about” 80 miles turned into 100+ not-slow miles to places further south than I have ever ventured on a bicycle. Beautiful roads, lots of dogs, lots of dirt roads, horses that ran beside us, interesting architectural sights (like this old abandoned strip mall?), and lots of pain. Sadly no pictures, we were too busy riding, eating, or keeping our hands inside our winter gloves!

Day Five

A recovery day from the previous day’s century, I only rode two laps around White Rock Lake, thankfully running into some friends who made the short, cold miles go a little bit faster. Later in the afternoon I took Penn to go climbing with our new friend Stewart and some of the kids he coaches. Penn’s pretty good at climbing so it is fun to watch him scale increasingly difficult routes. I’m trying to figure out a way to get him into it more seriously. We have two more climbing days scheduled for this week.

Day Six

Not really recovered but knowing I needed to complete the 500 kilometers over the next two days due to a 100% chance of rain on the final day of the Festive, I set about cranking out the final miles as gracefully as possible. Ended up with a group of four that again helped keep the pace up and the miles tick by faster.

Day Seven

My final day I was on my own for only the second time since starting the 500. Heading north with a south wind meant a long, slow, windy return trip, then one final lap around the lake to finish the required kilometers. I ended up at 501.7 kilometers.

Day Eight

Today I am grateful to not be on my bike, but also grateful for all the miles inspired by the challenge. It’s been raining all day. We had breakfast with some friends, Lucy took a long nap, and now we’re hanging out with some more friends. Life is good as our little family marches forward into 2013. Buoyed by past heartache, we bob along on the swells of our daily joys, finding our way across this sea of life.

Lucy is amazing

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