With just over 50 days to go until I begin my first multi-day cycling event, I'm back in the saddle.
Winter is not the best time to recommence training. Two reasons - it's bloody cold and bloody dark. Layers can assist with the cold factor. Some mornings I've been known to wear a pair of thermals under my long trackies, a thermal singlet, thermal long sleeve, bike shirt, scarf, beanie and thermal gloves. Believe it or not, I still get cold. Any bare skin is almost blue by the end of the ride, and it hurts to shower - it burns as the feeling returns to cold body parts.
The dark is scarier. Bike lights (well the ones I own) either alert a car you are coming or show you the road ahead. They do either of these, but rarely both. Now I don't mind the occasional adrenalin rush, but I draw the line at flying down Whites Rd hill at Manly West with very little line of sight beyond my front tyre. Pot holes are frightening enough with full visibility, but as a last minute option, it's never a good thing. Even worse are cat's eyes and manhole covers. On a frosty morning, hitting one of those with a slick rear tyre can really ruin a good bike ride.
But here's to looking on the bright side, and there is a bright side. Brisk mornings make for a great excuse to work hard to get the blood pumping and the body warm. Dark starts result in some of the most amazing sunrises over the bay as we drop the pace and begin the warm down on the way home. The mixture of dark sky, still, black water and the first pink, yellow and orange rays of sunlight pushing up over the horizon make for a breathtaking reward for a morning's hard work.
Not surprisingly, after a morning's ride, things always seem brighter. Work seems a little easier to handle, my mood is always on the up and the depression that often skulks around the corner at the thought of another commute into the City for a long day's work is put firmly in its place back on the shelf.
So think about me on those cold winter mornings when you're snuggled deep under the covers in a warm bed. I'll be the one out on the bike, getting the legs moving, the heart pumping and the nose running as I head off on another early morning training ride. As much as I grumble about it, you'll also notice I'm the one with the smile from ear to ear as I'm doing it. After all, no one is forcing me to exercise. For the first time in my life I've found that one activity that I'm yet to tire of. And I'm lovin' it!
Keep those pedals turning!