Chronologically I am on dodgy ground here. Ground that is still – for the most part – rock hard under a frost last properly thawed a few weeks back.
But there is enough, on closer inspection, to sow the seeds of hope that the worst of the winter is behind us. Although, my last reckless prediction heralding the start of spring saw a few of us hub deep in ice and snow. So it is fair to say this hypothesis is primarily driven by emotion.
Let me lay out the few facts I can offer in mitigation of it still being obviously bloody cold and dark. Firstly, a second ride was undertaken in mostly shorts. After finally succumbing to the awesome all-weather performance of bib-longs*, I have campaigned these lycra masterpieces since mid November – even perfecting the dangerous skill of the bib-crouch-pee.
But on Sunday’s MTB ride and an endarkened commute yesterday, a slab of pale flesh – bounded by long thermal socks and fleecy knee warmers – met winter’s worst without contracting exposure or frostbite.
It may still be some time before the light is at the end of the tunnel, but it is starting to make itself noticed at the end of the day. And morning now turns up before lunchtime which is a bit of a double edged sword. Especially if Reading is the first thing illuminated on this long journey to London. That’s enough for you to demand the return to eternal darkness.
Four weeks till March. Four more until the unmitigated joy of BST. In the last four, I’ve managed 300k, a weekly commute, lots of mountain biking and a strict adherence to a “no booze until Friday”** all of which has shed 2.5 kilograms from my bloated Christmas carcass.
Riding home last night, I was caught out by occasional patches of latent heat held in dips from the daytime sun. Overdressed and sweaty on the climbs, mildly overwhelmed that maybe the worst is over.
But It is not so much the dark, cold and general misery of winter that makes me so obsessional over any signs of change. More the childish delight and anticipation of my favourite season. Come on Spring, get a move on, there’s a few of us desperate to see you.
* Although it is impossible to carry them off with anything other than an apologetic reference to how unfrozen pink bits outweigh their affront to trousered dignity.
** except a cheeky beer post night riding. My view on that is it is a recovery drink