A stormy end to the #girodilento250 2012

New Years Eve saw pretty dreadful weather here. 25mph and gusting higher winds along with heavy rain but I had 60kms still to do, so I kitted up in my rain jacket, wet weather riding clothing and headed tentatively out on the road. In fairness it wasn’t actually raining when I left – it was just very windy and there was plenty of water on the roads. I picked a route that I thought would keep me out of a headwind for a good 2/3rds of the ride but it meant I was going to do a lot of climbing. Rolling hills one after another after another. After about an hour of the ride the showers started and after about another hour the rain really set in and stayed that way until the end as did the wind.

I was determined to get the mileage ticked off as I thought it would be a poor show if I didn’t complete the distance given that so many people had made some fantastic efforts. I didn’t want to let the side down.

Unsurprisingly I saw very few other riders out. I rode at a steady and slowish pace as it was more about getting the distance done than any particular speed or intensity. When the wind hit, it was very strong. I was blown a couple of feet off my line by a few gusts and the strength of the wind actually slowed me down significantly on a couple of descents. Of course the excellent flipside was a stonking tail wind here and there which felt like an invisible hand pushing you along the road. That was very welcome.

It was a hard ride though. I felt tired and was a bit worried that I should have stayed at home and helped out some more and this turned out to be true. Somewhat poetically, the point I hit 250km was probably almost exactly the spot I’ve been using as the photo for the Festive Family 250 on my blog, which was an unexpected bonus. It also marked the ride, I pushed past 9,000km ridden on Strava – another bonus. It was also good to do the last ride with over 1,000m of climbing.

From a riding point of view – the #girodilento250 was a great success. I hit the 250km target and more than doubled my mileage in December (as I’d had the previous three weeks off the bike with a cold). It was also nice to get out riding on both my Stoemper and my new Kinesis. Two of my four rides were social ones and that was good too. It also helped me get out the door on a day where I normally wouldn’t have given riding a second thought, so that was good as well.

It has also been fantastic to see lots of others clocking up mileage on the Festive Family 250 across the globe both, on twitter and on the girodilento Strava club. This challenge has certainly proved to me that there is a place for a Festive Family cycling challenge for those of us with too many commitments to seriously consider the full on Festive 500.

I absolutely will do it again next year and I’ll also see if I can make it better and perhaps get some badges made or some prizes.

I’m also going to look into a formula for those who need/want one that will take into account how many kids you’ve got, family birthdays or visits, not to mention work days to help give you some guidance on what might be a target just for your circumstances.

For me, it turned out that 250km was probably 50km too far for my wife and family and certainly the last ride caused a bit of discussion at home afterwards. My wife is incredibly supportive of my cycling but we did have a really busy Christmas and the Festive Family 250 took me away from the family for 10 hours plus the inevitable pre and post ride pfaffing about. For me, next time 200km will probably be a better total to aim for. As you can see in the photo – no smiles at the end. Relief to get the miles done and to get home safely in stormy conditions and disappointment and messing up the family balance right at the end. So close – but not quite.

I’m really grateful to everyone who’s got behind this and I hope you’ve had some good riding and found that balance. I didn’t quite manage to get the balance right – not quite. But I’m really glad to have tried.

Thanks to all who’ve taken part and to your families as well. I hope you achieved some balance and I wish you all a very happy 2013.

My Strava stats for the day:

And some of the rides those in the girodilento Strava cycling club managed:

Thanks for reading