Winter blowers, rain riders. # KLND500

On December 1 of 2021, nine brave ultracyclists set off from Buda Castle to cover 500 kilometers as part of the seasonal #festive500 challenge. The determined team undertook no less than to complete the challenge in 24 hours without sleep, while tackling the December weather and the 14 hours of darkness.

It is often said that ultra-type accomplishments are more of a mental game rather than a physical challenge. It is a quest for the mind on how to deal with the physical ordeals of the challenge and find a path to get to the finish line. Physical and technical preparation cannot be underestimated, yet the key for real success is the hardest to learn, perseverance – and some good experience does not hurt either.

I first heard the idea of the challenge, which was later renamed KLND500, from Marcell Gangel back in August 2021. We were at Lake Hársas, waiting for the full distance finishers of the Hungarian Divide 2021. During the sometimes long but excited breaks, we talked about how much Marcell wanted to do a # festive500 challenge and to complete it in one day. The idea was vague at the time, and in the thirty-some degrees and in the midst of beach noisiness, the thought of a cold and foggy December seemed rather tempting.

The idea came to fruitition just when the usual smog and fog arrived in November. By the time the city got dressed up in beautiful Advent lights, the small but determined group of riders got ready. On the first of December, shortly before noon, nine ultra-cyclists, accompanied by their companions, rolled into Szentháromság square in the Buda Castle. Their aim was to ride to Szeged, and ride back to Budapest via Szolnok. The route was 500 kilometers, the time limit was 24 hours. In addition to the usual cold at the beginning of December, the participants had to prepare for the wind typical of the Hungarian Great Plain. The rain was guaranteed.

The photo report below, is the chronicle of their challenge.

Bikers were preparing in the company of friends and some tourists near the Fisherman’s Bastion.