In between the latest month of snow showers and sub-zero temperatures, there have been small glows of clearer days and on one occasion the feint feeling of heat in the black back panel of my jacket. The mornings are getting shorter day by day and there’s a “grand stretch in the evening” but we are yet to reach the 6pm sun-down milestone.
There’s still the potential for decent days to turn VERY cold and VERY bad VERY quickly so all available winter gear is yet to be discarded.
Punctures are now at their yearly high. The roads are now covered in muck and stones as farmers drag every conceivable piece of crap from their fields and neatly spread them across the roadside (not forgetting to mention the smell of the sh*te they are spreading within their fields!).
The club spin numbers are starting to increase slowly with every new addition careful to state “I haven’t done a tap in 3 months” in order to hopefully ease the pace or get their excuses in good and early for when they whisper to the guy next to them “If I’m dropped just head on without me!”. There’s the odd flash of a slick race-ready “good bike” in the bunch which brings with it the jealous remarks “I wouldn’t be taking that out on a rotten morning like this” as you labour around on your cast iron gate praying for the road to stay flat. The good bikes presence can only be fleeting as there’s still little patience for a lack of mudguards. “Your bike looks good mate but I’m not a fan of the salt & muck combo that’s coming off your back wheel and I haven’t brought my toothbrush”.
Legs are getting twitchier but those eager to put the hammer down are given a short rope and then chased down or matched for a moment of pace – it’s not quite flat out but the occasional line-out makes an appearance and is generally accompanied by a lull and return to normal service.
Discussions turn to dates and plans. Are you racing this year? Are you avoiding the early crash-fest events? Have ye got your licence? Did ye get your numbers? Have you signed up for this? Ye doing any three-days? “Sure, I’ll sign up, start and be dropped because I’m not near ready to race” says everyone, everywhere. Secretly they’ve been convincing themselves for the past 4 months “I’m coming into this season in the greatest shape I’ve ever been, I’ll more than likely TT the first few races solo!!”. Like kids on the road to anywhere, club members are repeating the mantra “Any sign of the new kit yet? ”When’s the new kit coming”. I better get that “good-bike” out. Ye do know it’s two weeks till the racing season starts!!!
“Call out the instigators
Because there’s something in the air”
– Thunderclap Newman