Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Rapha’s Festive 500. Day 8: 31st December

The final day:  Time to smash this 500 km into next year. Welcoming 2013 in with aching legs!

I know that these are not Rapha shoe covers, and doing a Rapha Challenge maybe I think they shouldn't be mentioned...but they were wishing me to 'Have a Good Ride'. How could they possibly do anyone any harm?! Thank you shoe covers!
So with just today to get this done, it was really time to get out early.

Already I noticed how much colder the weather was and how much wetter it was too. With the Rapha shop being my main goal today and with a detour planned around Covent Garden picking up one of those fluorescent pink Cambridge Satchels for my sister, I headed out on the route to the capital; London.

Coming into central London I rode past Battersea Power station. It seemed that the whole of Battersea is being developed at the moment. It’s one huge building site. I carried on cycling through and saw this building below. It’s the MI6 building! I had to take a photo after seeing it blown up in the latest 007 flick, 'Skyfall' earlier in the month. You can see from the pictures that the weather was still pretty disgusting. 

After finding the satchel shop in Seven Dials and bumping around all over the cobble stone roads in that area, I began heading for the Rapha Shop just up the road.

I pulled up next to this tall looking building. It looked rather like a massive house with a small door with 'Rapha' on the glass on the corner of the shop. Fancy tiles and lots of clean glass. I cycled a few more feet and was drawn in by the giant Rapha MOD target on the shop window. 
The saddest part to this day was that the shop was now closed until 4th February. I missed it by a day. Gutted. A refurbishment of the entire shop. Including the coffee shop. Noooooo!!!
As I looked in, all sad and disheartened, I was greeted by a member of staff (Mario) who I chatted to about coffee and the fact that they are now closed. It’s on here that I’d like to thank him for his help.  
He was more than happy to help me to the nearest shop which sells Rapha stuff and even check to see if the coffee machine inside was still working. When he saw it wasn't, he went out of his way to help me further. Giving me a card for a free coffee when they re-open and directing me towards Ginger & Whites down the road for a great coffee...sadly they were closed too.

My Festive 500 was as good as complete. All I had to do was cycle home. In the cold. In the wet. The light was dim and I just wanted to get home and have a hot shower. My toes were frozen. I think this was a case of "I’ve just cycled as good as 500 km and have had enough!"

As I approached home, soaked through I saw that I hadn't done the km that I needed. I was still 10 km short. So I threw in a few loops down from Kingston to Surbiton, round and back up to Kingston and back into Surbiton again. After adding another 10 km to my ride, I noticed my stupid iPhone was on 18% again. So I headed home and plugged it in as soon as I got home. Uploaded the data and quickly logged onto the STRAVA site to see how many I had done in total. 
501 km! I had done it. Complete. The Rapha Festive 500. DONE. 

Throughout the week I have doubted being able to complete it. The weather has been awful to be honest. I rather think that those in hotter climates have had it easy. But then I suppose I have had it easy compared to those in Norway or colder places. After seeing the video of the guy who won this last year, all covered in snow, I am lucky we had a wet Christmas and didn’t have a white Christmas. 

Would I do it again? Possibly. It was much harder than I expected. Perhaps if I was cycling more between September and December it would have been easier...but that’s what makes a challenge. Something that is going to actually push you to your limits. With some determination and support anyone can do a something that challenges them. Now, to get back on the bike in a few day’s time and start clocking up the km's for 2013. Maybe I can think of a number of km's to do in the year and try and ride them. Who knows? 

Thanks Rapha for doing this Festive 500. Thanks to everyone I’ve seen, told and who knows I’ve done this. The support has been great.

Total for the day: 67.7 km
Total for the week: 501 km
Remaining: 0 km COMPLETE


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