The global pandemic this year changed a lot of plans for families over the Christmas period. We were no exception, our normal Christmas plans were not possible due to the restrictions within the UK at the moment. Normally we travel to Devon and Scotland to spend time with our extended families.

A small consolation of not being able to do our normal travels to visit extended family this Christmas break was having a bit more time to get out on the bike between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

So I thought I would attempt the Rapha #festive500 challenge. I have attempted it in the past but never quite made it. Snow, freezing rain, sub-zero temperatures make it a tough challenge.

I kicked off the challenge and got a good start on Christmas Eve with a solo explore around the gravel tracks of the New Forest in glorious (if chilly) sunshine. Guilt-free Christmas eve food and Christmas indulgence.

One tradition that we revived was Scott and I heading out on a boxing day ride together. First in three years after he has been overseas in Russia for the last two Christmases. We headed out across the South Downs for a cold blast up and down the lanes, picking up a few punctures on my road bike.

A couple of shorter days around Winchester followed with one on the road and one on the gravel in the snow. The punctures of boxing day necessitated a change in tyres and a successful experiment of moving up to 28mm tyres on my S-Works Roubaix.

Back to the South Downs with John for a longer spin experiencing all the weather, fog, snow, sleet, sunshine with the temperature not rising above 1deg Celsius.

I completed the challenge a day early by heading out along the Test Valley and skirting along the Hampshire border along roads less travelled.

To close off the year, it felt only fitting to head back to the New Forest.

These extra 560km contributed to my overall total of 11,598km with 118,625m of elevation gain for the year. The benefit of not having to travel for work….

Here are my stats for the year.

now to start all over again…… new goals, new Challenges for 2021….

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