As winters go, it’s been a mild one. Nothing more than a light dusting of snow a couple of times. It’s been cold, but nothing like last year’s -20c.
For the last five months we’ve ridden on winter bikes, designed to cope with the harsh road conditions of a Scottish winter. Typically these bikes are Aluminium, heavier than the carbon bikes we race on, and kitted out with mudguards. They’re good for pounding out the miles, and stay solid in the crosswinds that we inevitably endure.
But by the middle of February we’re itching to get out on our race bikes. I started building mine up at the start of January. Just an hour here & there, it brought the promise of Spring, and the joy of racing. Somehow replacing cables, chains, bartape brought us closer.
At the start of this week, I checked the forecast (as I always do!) for the weekend. It looked good. A dry week would mean dry roads, and the temperature was forecast to be around 10c. Perfect conditions to get the race bike out!
So, five months after it last graced the tarmac, my race bike got back on the road today.
For me, the first day of the year out on the race bike is possibly the best cycling day of the year. After a winter of riding the heavy bike, it feels amazing to be on a featherlight carbon rig. if you’re like me, then everything’s new – new brake & gear cables, new bartape, and for me this season new wheels. It’s like a new bike.
Today was also the first day this year I’ve been out without the full winter gear on. Instead it was shorts & leggings, a long sleeved jersey and a Gilet. I’ve even put my racing helmet & shoes on. It feels good and gets the mind ready for the season ahead.
From here, the training intensifies, my first race is only 3 weeks away, although the first big objective of the season doesn’t come until the end of May. Until then we’ll keep building, getting stronger and lighter, gently building the form. Only it will be far from gentle.
My legs have liked the last few months. Long steady rides. They’re going to hate me soon…..