Full Fat Festive 500 Pint 2
The Original

Work that Xmas fat off & complete the Festive 500 in one! Be prepared for anything; from freezing cold to winter sun & blue skies to hurricane winds & rain.

Easton, City of Bristol | Fri 29th Dec 2023 @ 06:00

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WHEN: +iCal
Fri 29th December 2023
06:00 - 17:36
Sat 30th December 2023
WHERE:
Headquarters
Berwick Road
Easton, BS5 6NG
Full Fat Festive 500 Pint 2 1 Validation:
BR
Award:
500
Total:
509km
Duration:
35h36
Speeds:
14.3-30kph
Climb:
3450m
AAA: 0.00
Rainbow Flat
Entry:
£10.00
Entry closes:
21/12/23
BRIEF:
Rated 5.0 out of 5

Work that Xmas fat off & complete the Festive 500 in one! Be prepared for anything; from freezing cold to winter sun & blue skies to hurricane winds & rain.

The Original Full Fat Festive 500 – ridden nearly every year since 2014.

DESCRIPTION:

Heading off into the early morning the silence of the city outskirts gives way to eager birdsong. Climb atop the Cotswolds for an easy ride to the first control. Onwards edging the Thames Valley, passing through the centre of Oxford and crossing Ot Moor to the lunch stop. Leaving the Vale of Aylesham passing through Woburn Park for a quick run to Cambridge. About half way as you head to St Ives on the traffic free path adjacent to the guided busway; in the dark they’ll eerily creep up on you before wooshing past!

Night has set in now as it is onto Higham Ferrers and it’s Christmas lights, Northampton with it’s Christmas tree atop the National Lift Tower, over rolling hills hopefully with twinkling stars. Will you stop here for the night or push on and go off route for a quick pit stop at the M40 services? Choices, choices…

From the M40 crossing it’s fast to the Fosse Way, tickle the Cotswolds and cross the Vale of Evesham. In the early throws of morning it all becomes a blur; head down into the Severn Valley and you’re almost back, Tewkesbury, straight down the A38, Gloucester, keep going, Thornbury traffic lights, left just after past the quarry, Old Gloucester Rd, edge of the city, nearly there, last descent, done! I have done this route bar a few changes thrice in the past between Xmas & NYE; with weather ranging from freezing cold with ice and frost to glorious sunshine one day followed by hurricane winds and walls of water the next to unseasonally warm and benign – be prepared for anything!

Dates:

Can’t do the calendar dates but still want to give it a go? I have 9 Permanent cards from lockdown year that were going to be the event before Christmas was cancelled. These are available to be done over the Advent period & 12 days of Christmas. By arrangement I’ll do food at mine any time of day or night as long as I’m at home. Or you can use to start else where on the route to coincide with getting to Bristol as the event starts.

Details:

Perm entry is available whilst stocks last or up until the event calendar date.

Perm riders send your proof of passage via electronic means and if you select return postage your completed card will be returned once validated.

IMPORTANT:

This is an X-rated event for experienced randonneurs and endurance cyclists only. The organiser accepts no responsibility for winter weather or road conditions and you undertake this event entirely at your own risk.

Adam Watkins’ video
Navigation:

Route notes and a variety of files/links will be available usually the Monday before the event.


The interactive map above is a guide, subject to change and not necessarily the final version. Toggle 'chart' for elevation & approx. slope %; now works in full screen too.

Validation:

Not Instant - brevet cards are returned to AUK for homologation. I will post them on to you UNLESS you deselect brevet card return postage (see the roll over tip in booking form).

Venue details:
Parking: On street near by - Alternatively use Bristol Parkway long stay For full details see Headquarters
What others think.

Another star from Will

Rated 5.0 out of 5
3rd January 2023

I think it is now a well worn route, but it was my first FFF500 and I thoroughly enjoyed. Wet damp miserable, but this is England in December after all. Not totally flat, but enough climbing to make it interesting. Wet all the way out to the first control at Farringdon, then dry to Winslow. Had an absolute blast to Cambridge via Oxford with a wicked tailwind by which time it was dark again. Onto St Ives via the bus way which is magical at night. Tailwind had become a cross wind and now a headwind. St Ives to Northampton for food and rest…Travelodge is an excellent on router stop. Up after a few hours to go through back lanes to Tewkesbury, fighting a strong head wind and more rain as the night receded. Then the challenge of the A38 all the way to Bristol, rain and strong winds…test your mettle. Then on via back roads back to Bristol and back to the start before it was dark. Really good challenge and nice welcome from Will and Pomeroy junior…recommended

Avatar for Gideon
Gideon

Perfect Christmas Challenge

Rated 5.0 out of 5
23rd February 2020

Fabulous audax. Excellent communication-esp how to get around the floods. Northampton came at just the right point for a sleep- I know it is not very audax, but I do like a shower and a proper bed- and there was plenty of choice there. The Christmas lights on all the houses were very pretty and really cheered up the long dark evening (thanks for organising that Will). The only thing I would change if possible would be the quite long and busy A road before Cambridge- a car nearly took us out on it. The other audaxers were delightful and I really appreciated the welcome Will gave us at the end.

Avatar for Ali
Ali

Fantastic Festive 500

Rated 5.0 out of 5
9th February 2020

Wow … just wow! What an amazing and challenging ride to end 2019!. Yes there were some A-road sections that felt a bit long and some navigational moments requiring a good level of concentration, but this is massively offset by the ride through countless stunning lanes and picturesque villages, all decked with “bells and holly” – its a Christmas extravaganza! Accommodation at 340KM in a proper Audax hotel … a 100yr old bus shelter, only served to add to the adventure. A very warm welcome from Will at the ariveé, accompanied with hot food and drink was the icing on the “Christmas” cake…chapeau!

Avatar for Nic
Nic

Go big or go home

Rated 5.0 out of 5
4th February 2020

Great way to tick the Festive 500 box, but a great ride in its own right. Northampton makes the perfect mid ride stop (Travelodge for me for 25GBP, bargain) for those of us who like a kip in this length of ride.

Blessed with pretty mild weather in 2019, if there was another Beast from the East it would be a different kettle of fish!

Avatar for George
George

Great Event

Rated 5.0 out of 5
3rd February 2020

Like others have said, this is a great way to tick off the festive 500 if that’s what you’re interested in but it’s much more than that.

I really enjoyed this one, rode mainly solo and had a couple of sleeps, one in McDonalds Northampton for 15min and then an ‘Audax hotel’ just short of Tewkesbury for 20min.

It took me a few hours longer than I though it would and the headwind back to Bristol was tough after 16 hour period of darkness!

Looking back, I really enjoyed the longer event at this time of year, a new challenge and one which will certainly help with the ultra distance events I’m looking at for this year.

Finally, but most importantly the hospitality, sausage bap and hot drink at the start is a great way to start with all the other mad cyclists there at 5-6am, WhatsApp group to share info and make sure everyone’s safe and then Will looking after everyone so well at the Arrive despite being up to his neck in restoring his home!

See you next year and lets pray for the weather again because this would be a whole different prospect with that to deal with!

Avatar for Paul
Paul

Like or loath* it? Let others know.
*Whilst I like to think I can affect the weather alas that is beyond my control...


Bookings close 21/12/23 or when full.

PLEASE NOTE:
  • If you are U18 (or booking for an U18 rider) please contact me direct so I can provide the relevent form and enter manually.
  • This event is run in accordance with Audax UK's Regulations and is covered by their insurance.
  • Audax UK Temporary Membership @ £3.00 is required to participate if you aren't an Audax UK or CTC/CUK member; it will be added automatically if a membership number isn't provided.
  • Please make sure your AUK membership is up to date.
  • Once payment is completed you will receive an email from booking-donotreply@pedalution.co.uk and will be redirected back to a page saying what happens next.
Ticket Type Price Spaces
Entry £10.00
Permanent
Will only be validated for rides undertaken during Advent and 12 days of Christmas.
£10.00

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  • Information specific to this event and generic for the future will be stored in your account.
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You are attending this event.


STATUS: Specific details are Pending - all specifics are usually updated the 5th day before the event.



  • Please flick through the following tabs fully and make any preparations before the event.
  • Route files & links will be found under the 'Route' tab.
  • The event/route specific information will be finalised usually the 5th day before the event and you will get an email reminder 3 days prior from bookings-noreply@pedalution.co.uk - add it to your address book to save any disappointment.
  • Should you be unable to attend the event I have enabled cancellation from 'My Bookings'. This will aid me in keeping controls informed as to how many to expect and also reduce wastage when printing the brevet cards. Remember there is no option to refund or transfer if you are unable to attend.
  • You will receive your brevet card at the start. Should you start the ride and be unable to finish my phone number is within; please drop me a text with your full name to let me know you won't be finishing so volunteers and myself aren't waiting around longer than necessary at controls and the finish.
  • Any queries please use GWRaudax@pedalution.co.uk subject 500fff2 Query so I can filter them easily.

New to audax? Have a look at Audax UK's About for an overview & FAQs for commonly asked questions.

  • Until the route is finalised the interactive map above will give you an idea of where you are going.
  • It is advisable to study the route notes prior to the event for further details; especially if you are just using a GPX breadcrumb trail to navigate. These are also the 'cuesheet' within the RWGPS route; zoom the map to your desired level, click on a cue and it will focus the map at that cue.
  • Every effort is made to identify road closures before the event and provide alternatives where necessary; however I can not account for any emergency closures that are required.
  • A variety of surfaces may be encountered, some may be as smooth as a baby's bum, others potholed nightmares, or somewhere in between; if any unmetalled sections are used this will be noted in the Event Info above and now visible as 'unpaved' within RWGPS.
  • I do my utmost to select low traffic routes but there may be times busier sections are required.
  • Mudguards aren't mandatory but if you can fit them why wouldn't you?
  • I would always recommend a set of lights as you never know what could happen.
  • Similarly consider carrying 2 space blankets; they cost nothing, are tiny, and can keep you and an other warm should the unfortunate happen.

Files and links further down, please read through the following first.

EXTRA DETAILS:
Usually updated the 5th day before the event - you can join the RWGPS Event in the meantime. The latter 3 'Route File' links below will only work once updated.
Route Files:
CSV

CSV route notes - these can be edited in any spreadsheet software.

PDF

PDF route notes - a version with maps is available in linked RWGPS route (no account necessary to use the official PDF - use 'More v') or the event.

GPX

GPX with control waypoints - if re-uploading to an online planner please make private so as not to confuse others in the future - use this tool to split at waypoints and/or simplify.

RWGPS Links:
Event

RWGPS Event - at least a free account needed but you will get full premium features, including offline maps & voice nav for the app, regardless of your subscription level. To sync to your device (Wahoo, Garmin Edge) you need to join this first.

Route

RWGPS Route - no account needed but you will lack a few advanced features such as early turn warnings.

See the RWGPS App for my tips to use your phone for navigation and maximising battery life.

Troubleshooting:
  • Can't copy the RWGPS route to your account? I have disabled this so should any changes be necessary there is the one correct version.
  • I do not provide technical services for your device having never used anything other than the RWGPS app.
  • Can't add it to Garmin Connect? It isn't an activity. Transfer it to your Garmin via USB.
  • Can't send to your device? Join the RWGPS event.
EXTRA DETAILS:
Usually updated the 5th day before the event.
Start:

Please arrive at least 10 minutes before the depart time to collect your brevet card.

Headquarters - opens new tab for map.
Berwick Road, Easton, City of Bristol, BS5 6NG

Access:

  • Bike - Easily accessible from the Frome Way, a couple on minutes from the Bristol & Bath Railway Path
  • Car - M32 J2 - use Easton turning immediately before M32 slip going into town.
  • Train - Stapleton Road station in a few hundred metres away. Otherwise Bristol Temple Meads and Parkway.

Parking:
On street near by - Alternatively use Bristol Parkway long stay

Food & Drink:
Food available.
Usually a vegan rice based dish for a meal.
Unless specified otherwise above.

Accommodation:
YHA located in the centre.

Finish:

As above. - opens new tab for map & a few details.

Route Controls:

Usually updated the 5th day before the event.

Types of control:
  • CONTROL - a place or venue where you obtain PoP which can be done in several ways. You will be able to get food and/or drink, also WC will be available.
    • Manned - a volunteer or venue member of staff will stamp your card providing PoP. All controls are thus unless specified as...
    • Free - you must obtain PoP from that place that has a time and date, usually a receipt from a cafe, shop or ATM.
  • INFO - a question found in your brevet card that is relevent to the location needs to be answered and recorded.
  • CHECKPOINT - similar to a control but there may not be any facilities present.
  • SECRET - now that would be telling wouldn't it!

This is what 'audax' is all about. Travelling between controls to collect proof of passage (PoP) to prove you have cycled the distance. The above controls are found in your brevet card, the route notes, as POIs with the route, and waypoints with the GPX. Your brevet card it to be filled out as you progress around the route. PoP is obtained in several ways. It is highly recommended you carry a pen or pencil to fill your brevet card as you go; if it is a long event numbering any receipts to correspond with the control number will save you time later, then keeping them in order is next level!

USING YOUR PHONE & RWGPS APP:

I use the RWGPS app on my phone to navigate audax events by using spoken cues, I also use it to route check and proof my route notes. This IMHO is the best of all worlds. I don't need to look at a screen (but I can check if I want), I get clear directions when needed (you may need to get used to my shorthand which gets spoken as such), I get a warning if I'm off route, the battery lasts a lot longer than constantly using the screen; especially nowadays as phone batteries are getting bigger plus many are able to rapid charge in a short amount of time. All you need is a good case and mount for inclement weather.

  • Install the app.
  • Join the event.
  • Go to the route.
  • Send to device.
  • Open app and confirm download.
  • In settings (exact location varies depending on iOS or Android) to optomise for best battery use:
    • Logging - adjust interval: every 10s is best for the battery, logs your ride but won't get you any KOMs; every 1s uses 10x more battery power to write data but may get you a KOM if you pedal quick.
    • Navigation - Spoken alerts ON | Off-course alerts ON | others at your discretion.
    • Handlebar mode ENABLED - this will keep RWGPS above any screen lock so you can recall it if needed by pressing power button or similar.
    • Handlebar mode - Screen OFF for cues | Proximity Wake OFF (otherwise changes in light will turn the screen on) | Keep screen on NEVER.
    • Offline mode ENABLED - when you start riding.
  • Better still use flight/aeroplane mode whilst riding.
  • You can adjust the text-speech settings via your phone settings; the type of voice, playback speed etc.

Most of the battery drain on a phone is from the screen. By using voice commands you eliminate this but can still view the map if needs be. The second biggest drain whilst cycling is the phone itself searching for a signal as you move between cell towers; putting the phone into flight/aeroplane mode whilst moving solves this problem; you can easily turn data back on to #tag that #CAKE at the next stop!

ANDROID:

Make sure battery optimisation is turned off otherwise Android will recognise RWGPS as an excessive battery drain and can limit its functionality. This will be particularily evident if you stop for a bit without GPS signal then continue; the app will appear to be functioning correctly but Android will limit it and data can be lost from the stop point until the app is restarted. There may be a similar feature in iOS.

  • Settings >Apps.
  • Find RWGPS and expand Advanced >Battery.
  • If it says optomised then select and wait for all apps to load.
  • Make sure the apps displayed are 'All apps', find RWGPS and select.
  • Select 'Don't optimise'. Exit settings.

You have agreed to and declared that at the time of the ride...

  • You have no symptoms relating to COVID-19.
  • That you are not self-isolating.
  • That you are not required to quarantine during the period of the event.
  • That no local or other regulations prohibit you from attending this event.
  • You agree that if you develop any such symptoms before the event you will not attend.
  • You agree that if I develop any such symptoms immediately after the event I shall inform the organiser.

Please follow any wishes of private establishments en route. I highly recommend carrying a mask/buff/scarf etc for the simple act of covering your face if needed when indoors. Any specifics requested by controls will be noted in the control tab.

Audax UK's current policy can be found here.