Sometimes Your Greatest Accomplishments for the Year Weren’t a Race

Well, sort of. I’m not going to get into Strava. Either you know about it or you don’t. If you are even 10% familiar with Strava, you’ve heard of their challenges. Sometimes these can be as simple as you challenging yourself to see how many miles you can ride in 1 month, other times they are so hard that the only people who can complete them are either professional or cyclists of folks with the summer off (eg, teachers). I often join Strava challenges just for the heck of it, but there were 2 last year that I am incredibly proud of completing and each challenged me differently as a cyclist.

The cool thing about the Rapha challenges on Strava is not only are they hard, but you get a cool woven roundel (shipped from the UK) for completing them. Here are the 2 I earned in 2013 and the story behind them.


Rapha Rising Challenge

This one ran from 7/14 – 7/21 to coincide with the 100th Tour de France. Basically, you had 8 days to get in 7,235m (23,737ft) on your rides. That was supposed to equal a bunch of the climbs in the Tour de France. I can’t remember which ones, but I just know it’s a bunch of climbing. I feel bad for the folks living in the Midwest to try and complete this one, but it’s very doable in SoCal. If I wasn’t working nearly 50 hours/week, I wouldn’t have worried about completing this one. However, I often had to get my rides in after work and was also maintaining my normal TT workout regimen. That’s why I feel this challenge was the hardest one for my physically. My legs were dead at the end of the challenge, but I had tons of fun. Lots of great memories riding gorgeous midsummer evenings in the OC. When I got this roundel in the mail, I was very excited. It’s like doing a race and getting not just a medal, but one you really care about. BTW, I ended up climbing 7,414m.

Rapha Festive 500 Challenge

My second Rapha challenge came at the end of the year. It didn’t seem that hard in theory. Ride 500km between 12/24 – 12/31. That’s when many folks have time off during the holidays, right? Ha! Whether you have time off from work or not, you probably are busy with family and other holiday activities. Ignoring the weather for many in other parts of the country, there a few reasons why this isn’t doable. Did I mention it was end of the year over the holidays? I don’t know about you, but I historically look at this week as a time to unwind before restarting for training during the upcoming year. Not this year. I got to ride 500km to finish the year off. I also had additional motivation. I realized a few weeks before that I was close to completing 10,000 miles for the year on the bike, which is something I had wanted to do as part of my cycling bucket list. Gee, pressure? I won’t get into details of each ride, but let’s just say they were long and boring and I really didn’t want to do many of them. Just mentally getting on the bike was hard. Yet, I was drawn to not only completing the Strava challenge, but also getting my damn 10,000 miles. Well, I ended up with 508km, got my 10,000 miles, and my roundel arrived in the mail last week. I don’t think I’m doing this one next year… 😀


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.