cycling · fitness · Zwift

Tempted by distance challenges and the #Festive500

Oh, distance goals. In 2015 I rode 3675 kms on my bike and blogged about it here. I set out to ride 5000 km in 2016 . I don’t think I made it quite to 5k km but I think I came close.

This year I will for sure. All that Zwifting! I’m at nearly 5000 km and averaging 150 km a week. There’s 5 weeks left and so, barring injury or trainer issues, I’ll make it to 5000 km by 2021.

Distance4,509.5 km

All of that is just to say that the usual, for me, distance goal of 5000 km, is no longer a goal. It just happened.

Likewise, I’ve whooshed past the 220 workouts in 2020. (Want to join us next year? Find out how to here.) I’m currently at 364, thinking I might make it to 400. The pandemic has been horrible in so many ways but for me exercising lots is helping me cope.

All of that said, I miss Holiday Challenges. In past years I’ve done a holiday bike streak. Before, when I could run, I would do an annual Thanksgiving to Christmas running streak.

I’m also on record of supporting the idea that December can be the new January. When I wrote about that back in November 2016, I said, “I like the idea of hitting the holiday season with my fitness habits in place. It’s not about weight or dieting. It’s partly the stress of all the social stuff. I like my time at the gym. It’s also about aging. When I was younger I could take longer breaks. Now I notice fitness drops off quickly. So yes, while I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions, I do think about getting fit for next year’s cycling season. And for me this year, December 1st will be the new January 1st.”

Now there are no parties this year to distract me but I still like the idea of taking on a special holiday fitness thing.

So I can keep on doing what I’m doing and make it to 5000 km, or…..

Or what?

Well, my Zwift Bike Club, Team TFC, has a monthly mileage challenge. I could try to win that for December. But that’s too ambitious. There are people riding more than 700 km a week in that group.

And then there’s the Festive 500. “500 kilometres. Eight days. Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve. Restrictions come and go but some things never change. Rapha’s annual festive riding challenge is back, with an all-new capsule collection and more ways than ever to go the distance.” I’m tempted! For the first time this year the Festive 500 allows zwift kms to count. (It’s a UK based challenge.)

Festive dancing penguins

En route to the Festive 500, I could knock off some Zwift badges, like the one for 25 laps of the Volcano. That’s also a Century and another badge. Zwift Insider says, “There’s also a “100 Clicks” badge awarded the first time you ride 100 km in one activity. If you complete 25 Volcano Circuit laps you will hit 100 km, unlocking this badge and 500XP bonus if you haven’t done so already.”

I’m still mulling it over. The issue is I think if we’ve got nice weather and snow I’d rather be outside.

(There are also less challenging annual challenges out there. If 5000 km isn’t your thing, you can start smaller.

There’s a group aiming to ride 2021 kilometers in 2021.)


How about you? Do you love holiday challenges or hate them? Love them generally but declining this year because pandemic? Are you taking on a fitness challenge this holiday season?

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