Be Realistic Ask the Impossible: Spring Ahoy...
Well road.cc'ers-Spring is well and truly in the air... the bees are buzzing, birds chirping, and the sun is rising earlier, setting later and passing over the body with a gentle warmth. And like wild salmon migrating back upstream to their breeding grounds, the roads are suddenly awash with neon-striped commuters, jumping lights, and dashing from one side of the road to the other in a wierd bestial frenzy. With all the bright, flapping plumage, rattles, squeeks and bobbing heads it really is akin to some bizzare mating ritual.
It's like a strange Mayan calendar that exists totally independent of the clocks changing or school holidays or any of the other things that we organise or daily lives by. Once the air reaches a certain average ambient temperature, the fair weather commuter awakes from his or her hivernal slumber and frankly, wreaks merry havoc to what was already a fraught enough enterprise by ramming themselves into any available inch of road space not taken up by a menacing taxi or HGV.
Yes, new job equals longer commute and longer commute equals great exposure to base levels of road user irritation. I suppose with the present global circumstances I should just be thankful that I'm not a Japanese nuclear technician with a certificate in tsunami recovery procedures that was undertaken on a whim to get extra overtime pay for going on a cheeky weekender somewhere nice (or some carbon bling for the road bike). Or a Libyan air traffic controller.
But still, it's all relative and work is enough of a hindrance without it being sandwiched between 20k of brompton riding Forstmann wannabes that want to give you a generous view of their wobbling buttocks as they speed up to overtake you then plonk themselves resolutely in your path as soon as their mission is accomplished. And am I the only one who has to wordlessly observe someone making erratic manouvres in heavy rush-hour traffic to overtake another cyclist before re-passing them a minute later once they've ran out of steam? Does this somehow represent some notion of success in their daily routine? Have I missed some unspoken accord of commuter sign language that says 'yes, please, I want to challenge you to the most brutal 20m sprint you've ever faced; taking in exactly one speedbump, 3 potholes and a half-full bottle of lambrini before straddling the mini-roundabout and pushing for the glory of the finish line...'?
Some people might find this activity gratifying, or say that it's just good natured fun. I just find it a bit mystifying, and tedious. Personally, I'm looking forward to getting to a level of fitness where I can start dabbling in proper racing, perhaps using the winter cross-season to cut my teeth before getting into it in earnest next year. Using my bleary-eyed and sedate spin to work as an opportunity to stamp authority on other cyclists or add to my imaginary palmares isn't really my bag of beans and is probably the cycling equivalent of being a BMW driver.
Anyhow, I digress. Lots of working, so lots of commuting, and not so much proper riding, which is probably why the quality of my commute is more obvious to me. If summer is going to be more of the same, I am almost starting to hope it will be very cold and wet. And this is after only three tepid days of weak March sunshine. Still, two more long-ish sportives on the calendar (the Easter Classic and Rapha Hell of the North) for April before a pretty full-on May. Getting lighter and with the clocks changing I'm really going to be able to get in my desired quota of riding-finally-and can build up my endurance on longer stints in the saddle.