Over the winter months I *deliberately* gained some extra timber to give me an excuse to ride it off early in the spring, and with spring rolling around now the time has come to start peddling the pounds off (or shifting the stone as it were..)
Spring, that time of year when if it looks warm it’s actually freezing, but if it looks chilly out it’s probably quite nice! Sunrise is at 6.15 these days, and if it’s clear, then it really is freezing, and my bed is so warm - it hurts hauling my carcass out. But it only hurts for the first 5 minutes!
My clothing of choice for 6am starts are my Assos winter tights, they’re getting used every day (I tried with shorts and knee warmers on one morning when it looked nice out - but 2 degrees was way too ambitious!) With legs covered, balaclava donned and glasses at a jaunty angle, it becomes time to get out of the house (always hoping that you escape without waking any of the kids up).
Cold mornings are always a shock to the system, to be outside just 10 minutes after waking is like tumbling into a harbour after falling asleep on the steps during a night out - it just seems rude!
Within seconds there’s that familiarity, that comfort coursing it’s way through the body, shaking off the sleep and kicking it to the kerb like one of Madonna’s old husbands. Within a few minutes the legs are feeling warm, feet are happy and the balaclava is coming away from the mouth.
This is the start of another great day. Any day that can start with a ride has the potential to be great, quiet roads, birds chirping and blossom appearing on the trees - fantastic.
As the mind wanders to the Transcontinental race ahead, I find myself formulating training schedules. Whilst an extra hour on top of the commute is ok now, come June time necessity calls for daily century rides (imperial, not metric) and I ponder upon the transition to those daily distances. Some folk like to train entirely indoors on rollers, and whilst this certainly has merits, it’s impossible to really get used to wind and cold and all the elements that come from being outside unless you are actually outside - and as the race gets closer the rides get longer and the mornings get earlier.
One of my memories from riding lejogle was that, by day 8, it would take up to 90 minutes to shake life into the legs - how will that work with a family and a degree to work on? It’s one of those questions that can only be asked as time rolls on - and I guess that’s one of the many reasons why a 2000mile race is so appealing!
So for now, the rides get longer minute by minute, a mix of effort and base mileage, nothing epic, nothing long, just sustained effort. This is where the groundwork is laid, foundations are built and mental battles are fought - and won.
2000 miles, 8 days. How hard can it be?