Rapha Festive 500 (2023)

Anybody else is on for this?. I have a couple of questions for the community:

  1. I’ve been in off-season, riding about 3h indoor, weights and snow sports. Is it a bad Idea to try this challenge (15h) given the low volume I’ve been doing for the last 6 weeks?

  2. I run my workouts on my Garmin 530 + Wahoo Kickr V5…are there any tricks to maximize the speed/distance it gets recorded (beside putting more watts of course :wink:)



It can’t be flatter that an indoor setup :wink:


It’s being implied to use flat routes on Zwift. Pick the AdZ route and it will be hard to hit. Do the Tick Tock route and it’s a lot easier.

Agree-- I think the outside rides are what I would assume and prefer. Sure the pandemic changed this for a bit, but also with some experiencing winter conditions riding outside is not viable, I think there would be maybe a 50/50 or 80/20 option depending on weather conditions.

For me personally as a first year attempt, I’m planning this outdoors. This can change as now we’re experiencing snow/ice and now will have to rethink my plans.

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I think 500km in 8 days is an accomplishment whether inside or out. I’ll be trying for it for the first time this year and will be all indoors - the roads here are already sandy from previous snowstorms so my outdoor season is over as I don’t have a bike/tires to deal with loose sand over asphalt. I’ll be doing a combo of TR, Zwift and holiday movies.


Yeah, however I only use my Garmin 530. There’s no virtual terrain even.

I’m with you. It’ll be a lot easier if I could ride outside at this time of the year.

Eat and drink early and often in all your rides. You are eating/ drinking for future rides, not the one you are doing.

As you are doing all of this inside, figure out your entertainment/ distraction strategy. Not getting bored and having boredom inflate the RPE will be critical to getting through.

Good luck


Thats a big jump!

This is my third time trying, my last 6 weeks look like this:


So the fitness is ready for it. We are hosting Christmas for the extended family this year, it is going to be a time crunched start on the 24th and 25th.

So I stuck this note on my TrainingPeaks calendar for every day of the Festive 500:

and had a convo with my coach this morning. The weather keeps deteriorating. I have rain gear but the 27th is sizing up to be a windstorm and atmospheric river for the left coast. He basically said be consistent, go for it, and there is no fail.

One thing I’ve learned the past 6 weeks - eat 300g of carbs before riding in the afternoon. And keep eating carbs until I hit 500-600g for the day. Thats roughly 6g/kg. Do your math. Eat, drink, and be merry!

Go for it, and don’t be afraid to dial back the intensity. Be consistent. Keep your chamois dry.

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Laughs in Canadian


It simply won’t be safe to ride here in Chicago this weekend….-20*F windchill. Not to mention the 12-18” of snow coming Thurs - Fri.

So no, I won’t be doing it outside…don’t care what the purists say. :crazy_face:


Yes, stick it in the big chainring at the front, smallest cog at the back, run the workouts in erg mode and keep cadence high. If it’s similar to my Kickr setup you’ll get speeds of >30mph regardless of watts and be done in ~10 hours not 15.

Not saying this is a legit way of doing the Festive 500, just answering the question!


LOL…yeah so an already long task (in terms of hours) takes WAY longer. Hard pass.


I love this time of year, when all the hard attitudes show up to discount the efforts of others. :stuck_out_tongue:

The “do it outside” crowd that ignores the many people doing it in balmy 70*F days in the sun while others drudge through rain and cold. Fat bike suggestion with no adjustment for the obvious X-factor multiplier in difficulty proves the point.

Many of the same insist inside is easy but would not have the fortitude to knock out repeat days of 3+ hours on the trainer (as some do, or repeat days of 1+ hour and many mixes between those).

It’s beyond silly and all too typical as part of the elitist cycling stereotypes.


I get that the Festive 500 started as an “outside” challenge…but let’s also be realistic in that it was a “challenge” designed to sell clothes.

I’m also at the point where any “challenges” i care about are actual races / events…Sure, I signed up for the Festive but whether I complete it or not is not a big deal to me. And yes, I will be doing it inside exclusively.

For those that complete it outside, tip of my cap. That is a long, hard week in December. Much respect.

For those that complete it inside, they also get a tip of my cap. ~15 hours inside on a trainer is hard work, period.


Doing it on the trainer is definitely different than doing it outside.

However, daytime highs here will likely be in the -20c range that whole week, with a foot of snow on the ground and uncleared roads. You could use the fat bike, but I don’t particularly like being in the middle of nowhere in a field when it’s -35c with the windchill and trying to fix a mechanical while worrying you may legitimately die of exposure.

As a result, I appreciate the opportunity to still participate in the fun from indoors, even if it’s still a bit different.


It’s just a silly Strava challenge. And one that I enjoy doing every year! (In fact it’s the only Strava challenge I ever do.) In the end, it’s just about what motivates you.

For me, it’s always been about riding outside in whatever weather. Rapha used to give big prizes to those who wrote interesting stories/diaries about what they overcame to get the 500km done and that’s what appeals to me. Finding the time to keep on top of it, weather watching for windows of slightly warmer weather, getting long rides in with family and friends have kept me doing it year after year. Riding it indoors holds no interest to me, but YMMV. Here’s hoping for a mild few days. I feel like I’ve earned it after riding through -8C last week!


For those of us without Strava or Zwift… shall we simply “Keep Calm and Carry On” ? That’s my plan.

The currency in my wallet says “In TrainerRoad, We Trust”.


My wallet is filled with currency that says “Volume for the Win” :wink:


… and yet, you’re still here! :wink:


Keep your outdoor rides as flat as possible and try and ride with a tailwind. It’s meant to be a challenge. For me that would mean getting all the kilometres via outdoor rides, with whatever the weather throws at you.