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Rapha's Festive 500 returns for a 10th year

Over 100,000 entrants are expected to attempt 500km between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve

Rapha's Festive 500 challenge returns for a 10th year over the Christmas period, challenging you to ride 500km (311 miles) in eight days.

It might not yet be up there with the Queen's Speech or Brussels sprouts in terms of Christmas traditions, but the Festive 500 has established itself on the cycling calendar since it was first introduced in 2010.

The concept is pretty simple: you need to ride 500km (311 miles) between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Clocking up the distance isn't as straightforward.

You have eight days to reach the total, so that's an average of 62.5km (39 miles per day). However, with it being Christmas you might not be able to ride every day due to family commitments, hangovers, watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, or whatever – and, of course, you might have to work too. Plus, if you're in the UK or many other parts of the Northern Hemisphere, there's the possibility of snow and/or ice affecting your plans. If you can only manage seven days you're up to 71km (44 miles) per day, it's 83km (52 miles) for six days, and so on.

Rapha Festive 500 2019 - 1 (1)

Rapha says, "The Festive 500 might have started in the South of England but, in the 10 years since it has grown to become a global challenge and a cumulative of 101 million kilometres were ridden. The challenge is a rite of passage for every cyclist and in the past decade, participation grew steadily reaching over 400,000 participants and 95,000 completions overall.

"This year, we aim for 100,000 riders from around the world to join in on our seasonal tradition. The challenge is the perfect antidote to offset the excesses of the festive period and ensure you stay active."

All rides must be uploaded to Strava within three days of the challenge ending, and manual entries, virtual rides, and trainer rides do not count. If you don't do Strava, you can pick up a Festive 500 brevet card from a Rapha Clubhouse one week before the challenge starts.

What do you get for your efforts? 

• A digital roundel for your Strava Trophy Case
• The option of claiming a commemorative woven roundel from Rapha
• The chance to win prizes in the Rapha Spirit of the Festive 500 awards

Oh, and a warm glow of achievement too.

Rapha Festive 500 2019 - 1

If you want to be a bit more shouty about it, Rapha will be releasing a collection of specifically designed Festive 500 products: AssSaver (£10), cap (£20), musette (£20), socks (£15), snood (£30), winter hat (£35), men’s and women’s T-shirt (£30) and midweight jersey (£110).

"The collection’s livery features an abstract design inspired by the weather, roads and emotions encountered whilst on the road," says Rapha.

Rapha invites you to commemorate your Festive 500 experiences in any way you see fit, and it selects what it considers to be the most inventive entries and rewards their creators with prizes. Photo albums, poems, hand-drawn maps and freshly baked pastries have all been entered in previous years. First place wins a Canyon Grail CF 8.0 SL with a custom Rapha Festive 500 design. 

The Festive 500 challenge is now live on Strava and Rapha's new Festive 500 page has launched.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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