Festive 500 sends cyclist for a loop

Saanich rider circles University of Victoria's Ring Road 263 times in 21 hours

Cyclist Clay Webb pauses during kilometre 470 as he nears the end of the Festive 500km. Webb rode the Festive 500 for the sixth time

Cyclist Clay Webb pauses during kilometre 470 as he nears the end of the Festive 500km. Webb rode the Festive 500 for the sixth time

Cars were few and far between as Clay Webb began his latest attempt at the annual Festive 500.

It was about 8 p.m. on Boxing Day when he headed out onto the University of Victoria’s Ring Road.

During the night campus security thought it was interesting enough to drive by and ask what lap he was on, though Webb wasn’t counting.

It took Webb 21 hours and nine minutes to do about 263 laps around the 1.9-kilometre Ring Road loop. That brought him to 500.5 km, according to his Strava GPS data, meeting his sixth straight Festive 500 challenge.

Started by Rapha in 2010, the cycling apparel company has made the Festive 500 into an annual affair. Cyclists who ride 500 kilometres between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day can send in their data in exchange for Festive 500 roundel (woven badge).

Webb, 29, is a curriculum co-ordinator for Power to Be, and a semipro cyclist for Broad Street Cycling.

He did the Festive 500 at Ring Road on the same Focus Cayo bike he used to ride up Saanich’s Observatory Hill 68 times in the summer of 2015 (that was for a different challenge known as “Everesting,” which took 19 hours and ascended 8,848 metres in elevation).

“As [my rides grew] bigger and bigger, I asked people for ideas, and one buddy said, ‘why don’t you just lap Ring Road for 500 km?,’ which I dismissed as a terrible idea,” Webb said.

But the idea stuck with him.

Webb grew to like the fact he could do it all in one ride, and that it’s close to his Victoria home, which has its advantages in case of poor weather or other situations.

As it turned out, the weather for the ride was not great. But the support was. Webb has grown a following amongst his teammates from the Broad Street race team, his friends and family. A few people biked about 80 km with Webb, ‘pulling’ him along in his own peloton, one that grew to as many as 10 people throughout the day.

About 50 people in all showed up to feed him all types of sandwiches, cookies, fresh coffee and more.

“People came in waves, I’d often have four or five people riding with me. I was blown away.”

A few people braved the night cold, including his pal Dan Naninga.

“At 11 p.m. a buddy showed up and brewed fresh coffee on a camp stove but when he left, I was alone. I thought it was going to be like that all night when I saw a light.”

The light came from Naninga’s handlebars. He rode with Webb from 2 to 4:15 a.m.

Webb’s uncle showed up at 5 a.m. and he was never alone after that.

Around town several riders completed the challenge through the popular cycling and running app Strava, which co-hosts the Rapha Festive 500.

Those who meet the 500-km criteria qualify for a woven badge (roundel) to commemorate their achievement.

Webb framed his first roundel from 2010 and will send in his Ring Road data for yet another. What makes the ride popular is seeing the community that also takes part.

Local pros Cody Canning and Rob Britton are among the 79,000 registered world wide. Of course, Canning and Britton, a former Saanichite, were going to hit 500 km anyways, as they post daily 150-km training rides to Strava.

But there are others meeting the challenge.

Victoria’s Stephen Lund, whose creative riding made national headlines for turning city streets into “Strava doodles,” or drawings, was among those to take part in the Festive 500. His rides include the outline of a decorated Christmas tree that used 98 km of streets starting with the tree stand in Oak Bay, winding back and forth all the way to Broadmead, where he used West Saanich Road and Chatterton Way to draw a star on top. Oak Bay’s Ken Bonner, a 74-year-old local cycling legend, was posting rides more than seven hours long as he closed in on reaching the Festive 500.

Webb completed his ride at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 27. He was a little sore the next day, but mostly from the after effects he felt from being cold and wet.

“My pinky finger is numb today from being on the bar so long,” Webb said.

 

It’s the first time Webb did the Festive 500 in one place, but he’s done most of it in one go before. He once rode to Tofino, 280 km one-way. In 2014, he did a massive loop to Cowichan and in 2015 he rode to Cumberland and back (about 440 km).

 

 

Just Posted

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

COVID-19 exposures have been reported at Colquitz Middle School and Tillicum Elementary School, both on June 14. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
Two Saanich schools report COVID-19 exposures

Exposures reported at Colquitz Middle School and Tillicum Elementary School

Sooke RCMP seized cocaine, ketamine, MDMA, prescription pills, $6,000 cash, a machete and pepper spray during a bust June 15. (Courtesy of Sooke RCMP)
Sooke RCMP seize drugs, machete, pepper spray

Man arrested near Evergreen Mall following drug deal

An eastern cottontail rabbit on the UVic campus. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Wild rabbits persist at the University of Victoria

Feral rabbits are still absent, but another non-native species has arrived on campus

Staff will be reviewing public feedback from second-stage designs for cycling infrastructure in James Bay, part of the City of Victoria’s 32-kilometre network. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria sends James Bay bike lanes choice to next phase

Design modifications based on community input to be delivered to council this summer

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Himalayan Life helped finance the construction of Nepal’s Yangri Academic Centre and dormitories after a 2015 earthquake devastated the valley, killing more than 9,000 people. (Screen grab/Peter Schaeublin)
B.C. charity founder pledges to rebuild Nepalese school swept away by flash floods

6 years after a catastrophic earthquake killed more than 9,000 people, Nepal gets hit again

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Most Read