Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Rapha Festive 500 2015

Tom and I have completed the #Festive 500 twice before, and this year we had planned something a bit different. We wanted to do the ride over 3 days, and have Christmas Day with the rest of our family.

Things however turned out very differently to our plans.

Day 1.

Our plan was to ride just over 100 miles out to the East coast with the wind at our backs. We left the house at 5am. We stopped for breakfast just before 9am and had already completed 45 miles.

As we prepared to leave the cafe it started to rain, and soon it was torrential.

Thankfully the rain only lasted a couple of hours, as forecast the storm outran us.

Tom's Rapha Hard Shell kept him nice and dry, so as usual he was smiling.

Flat roads, and a following wind meant that we had a relatively easy day, and on reaching the seafront at Hornsea, we had clocked up 176 kilometres.

The girls picked us up there, and that was it until Boxing Day.

Day 2.

The plan for days 2 and 3 were to ride from home in the Peak District, South to London to meet family down there. Our route was that of the Rapha Manchester to London ride. Day 2 was longish around 200km, and unlike day one we were heading in exactly the same direction as the wind was coming from.
As on the first day we stopped for a cooked breakfast.

Rain, wind, and plenty of big puddles.

In the afternoon the rain passed, the wind though was our constant companion. Tom as ever though is smiling.

With 196 kilometres ridden it was time for a pizza takeaway for supper, quickly followed by much needed sleep.

Day 3.

There was 128km left to do, which considering the previous 2 rides was a shorter easy day. The alarm went off at 6am, we were both tired, so we turned the alarm off and went back to sleep for an extra couple of hours.

We left around 9am, and, yes it was raining again.

The roads were quiet though.

It might have been a wet winter here, but it has been warm.

Other than stopping to take photos and chat about things, a fairly uneventful day.

At about 4:15pm, with 15km left to do, though our day changed.

I was riding a few metres ahead of Tom and I heard a faint thud followed by Tom shouting. 2 cars raced past me which I narrowly avoided being hit by.

I turned round, and Tom and his bike were by the side of the road. He was shouting, that was good. I checked him over. His helmet had cracked, and he was sore where his body had hit the ground. From the rear wheel, it appeared that the bike had taken most of the car's impact.

A police car was there within seconds. Apparently one of the cars that had passed by had phoned the police earlier to say that the driver of the other car was swerving from side to side of the road. The good samaritan later told me that he'd chased the other driver down, and confiscated his keys until the police came to deal with him.

The police had called an ambulance which took a while to arrive. During our wait, it became clear that Tom might be very sore, but his helmet and his Sky hat had saved his head, and it looked like he should be OK. As you can imagine, a huge relief.

Tom was disappointed that he wouldn't be able to complete the Festive 500 after coming so close. I told him to wait and see what the paramedics had to say, but I was already coming up with a plan should they give him the all clear.

The paramedics said it looked like he'd not broken anything advising a trip for an X-ray if his foot continued to hurt.

That was enough of an all clear to put out a request for a small bike on twitter.

Day 4

Helen had offered a bike and helmet that Tom could borrow. Herself and her husband Mark then kindly guided us on a ride round London to see some of the sights.

The kindness of people we didn't until then know, made our day.

It was such a lovely ride that we went past the 500Km.

So, our 3rd Festive 500 finished. More importantly, as Tom said just after the crash "It's great to be alive"


  1. Nice riding, as ever. Glad to hear that minipips is well, smiling and realising that its good to be alive.

  2. As ever, great stuff guys!
    Well done.

  3. I always enjoy reading your festive 500 write ups and this year is no exception. Glad it all turned out okay for you both in the end.

    Andy Stanhope.

  4. Wow. So pleased Tom and yourself are ok. What adventures the pair of you have. Happy New Year!

  5. Congratulations! Tom is my hero!!!

  6. Chapeau, and what a relief!

  7. So sorry to hear about the car incident. I didn't realise before it was someone hitting Tom. However, as ever you retain my hero worship status for getting back on a bike and finishing the 500. Johnny Hoogerland. Martyn Ashton. Minipips. My cycling icons.