Festive 500 - 24-31 December 2017

Over time, we have created a tradition - the STRAVA Festive 500 - to ride 500km between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.  This year, the fUgly Jersey was introduced and a formal plan was put in place by Bec - painstakingly crafted maps, logistics, survival guides and nutrition strategies were provided.  A combination of courses were selected, with a mix of short, long, recovery, scenic, coffee and social rides!  Not to mention the must-do traditional Boxing-Day ride to Airlie Beach (150km from Mackay)!  This Festive 500 was not only the 500km riders, but others within the tribe (and some friends) rode one, two or more days and supported and socialised the tribe through to their goals!  

DAY 1 - Long & Short Course

Long Course (130km) - Base of Blackwood - Devereaux Creek - Homebush - Mackay

Short Course (80km) - Base of Blackwood - Doyle's Road - Mackay

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We had a huge turn out for our first Festive Ride - we discussed riding etiquette with a no-drop policy, designated waiting points, pace expectations and clear directions.  From a Coaches perspective, we had a neat (large bunch) for the first 40km before the 10km downhill commenced where everyone spread out at their own pace to meet again at Kuttabul to fill water bottles (hydration is key).  From here the bunch adhered to two-a-breast down the highway and onto the hills of Marian-Hampden Road before the split into two groups.  We said our goodbyes and rode on!  We are happy to report that both rides were non-eventful and the first day of the Festive 500 was a success! 

DAY 2 - Christmas Day

Two tribe members rode... secret training across two sides of town ... shhhhh

DAY 3 - Boxing Day

Long Course (150km) - Mackay to Airlie Beach - 1 way

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Not for the faint hearted, this ride is for the mentally tough, and those who enjoy jumping off the bike regularly!  We have a stop at Calen (50km), Bloomsbury (85km), Proserpine (120km) before rolling into Airlie Beach with a couple of loops (140km).  This year, we had a couple of extra stops for two flat tyres (quite timely some would suggest).  Everyone who started finished, we all support each other and everyone makes it for the selfie in front of the Airlie Beach sign (atop hill two). A photo of first timers lifting their bike above their head, a swim in the famous Airlie Beach lagoon, a cold alcoholic beverage and a huge lunch completed the day! 

DAY 4 - Beaches Roll

Short Course (65km) - roll around the local beaches

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A nice friendly ride, allowing some to sleep in only late enough to avoid the heat!  We had a few new faces for this ride, a little closer to town and time to let the festivities settle down.  

DAY 5 - Seaforth

Long Course (90km) - Seaforth - Brekkie @ Kath's Beach house - Mackay

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When someone mentions breakfast the troops come out to play!  An earlier prediction of 8 for the ride turned into an almighty 18+ for breakfast in the remote beachside town of Seaforth.  Our girl guide Kath, whilst on holiday with her family relished in her ability to cater for the larger group. To our delight, husband Adam served up seconds to a hungry tribe and Kath fell short of only 3 cokes, however made do with fresh juice and offerings of soda!  Thanks Parish's!  The ride itself was fairly seamless until it fell apart on the downhill of the infamous Seaforth Range, with a light drop and a flat at the bottom. Aside from that the ride was incident free. Nikki reached her 500km and Jay completed a secret ride later in the day to achieve his Festive 500.  

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DAY 6 - Short Course

Short Course (55km) - East to West

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4 of our 500 riders set out to achieve their 500km on day 6 - Cath, Jacq, Mel and Bec were in fine form with only 40km left to reach their goal!  Post coffee Tezza and Pinno completed a longer course to accumulate km's and Jose rode an additional 30km to the beaches with Leanne to reduce her km's left. 

DAY 7 - Ride What You Can

Short Course (60km)

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Carissa took charge today with a small group to support Leanne for her daily goal km's (roughly 70km per day).  A few were taking on a rest day and some cross training in the unknown.  Kerryn completed her final 500km with her number 1 supporter - husband Nigel!  

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DAY 8 - Chasing the Sun 

Short Course (55km) - Walkerston - Mackay - Beaches - Coffee @ Grazing Goat

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The final leg of the Festive 500 was designed on the go for Leanne to achieve her final 53km.  Finishing off with coffee and breakfast at the Grazing Goat.  Many of the tribe turned up for the final leg of an epic week of cycling.  

Nikki Giles