The final km of the Festive500 is the moment we expect to feel the greatest. But before that happens, you clock up stories, lessons and moments that can sometimes go unnoticed whilst fixated on the finish line. The spirit of Festive500 however, lies in these seemingly normal moments and appreciating them for being much more than that.
Thank you Festive500, for:
1. The constant prepping. Is everything charged, cleaned and is breakfast ready? Prepping gives me purpose.
2. The excuse to ride with inspired people, like Helen, Plum, Janine and Lorna (even if Plum made me pump her tyre up before realising she had a gas canister).
3. Eating porridge from tupperware at 0700, even though I was still full from the roast the night before.
4. Eating the roast the night before, savouring it even more because it was Festive500 fuel.
5. Not having to decide what to wear in the morning. The lycra was already laid out.
6. Discovering new coffee shops and feeling complete contentment when they had a place for bikes and a working toilet.
7. Allowing me to spend the rest of my day in joggers without family judgement. I’m a Festive500 athlete - I’m recovering.
8. Providing me with enough morning headspace to be a better person in the afternoon around loved ones.
9. The empty roads. Everyone was too busy watching The Royal Family or online shopping.
10. Giving me experiences, including that time we shared snacks 75km in or the time I was surrounded by snow capped trees with no feeling left in my hands. Good stories.
11. Asking a lot of me in six days. In return, it simplified me. Each morning was to ride, no other decisions apart from ‘where to’ was needed.
12. Encouraging me to hunt out new routes. Even if one was off-road and utter shit.
13. The pendulum of pedals everyday. It was meditation without the need for crossed legs.
14. Contentment that comes after a long ride, like the time we sat with a hot drink watching Dr Strange.
15. Being part of a global Festive500 community. Rides are easier when you know thousands of cyclists across the world are doing it with you.
16. Unwrapping the tinfoil from my homemade flapjack (thanks sis). I was in a low place and the oats tasted like tiny, coconut flavoured, pieces of heaven.
17. Sipping gin and tonic like it was medicine.
18. Seeing houses on Christmas morning with the lights on, knowing people were unwrapping presents and drinking Bucks Fizz.
19. Riding past sheep and remembering how oddly endearing they are. Especially the one that walked to the gate as I was taking a picture.
20. The flat whites.
21. Not having to worry about speed. Every km was equal, even those painfully slow ones against the headwind.
22. Helping me sleep soundly because my eyes were so tired from the cold.
23. Not giving me any punctures, especially when I was off road.
24. For the waves and nods from other riders, instantly connecting you with strangers.
Whether it's #Festive500 or a weekend ride, embrace the mundane moments not just the final glory. Even though we should all celebrate the big achievements, you might find that noticing the small pleasures is where real happiness and fulfillment on the bike lies. As is true, you might say, for life.