It’s sort of odd, when you think about it, that many cyclists crack out their longest miles in the dead of winter – when the leaves have fallen and the sun is playing hard to get.
However, they say summer PBs are won via winter training, so it’s well worth layering up and cracking out the milage from now until spring.
Here are just a few of the things that always happen when we get back from one of those long, steady, winter rides…
1) Sit down, and remove the layers
One: Overshoes. Realise cannot remove overshoes without removing gloves. Start again.
One: Gloves. Two: Overshoes. Three: Packable or jacket. Four: Warmers – leg and or arm.
Peel off jerseys, base layers, tights, and collect them in a big cold and/or wet pile on the bathroom floor (or in the sink if floor is not tiled).
2) Take photo of ‘Belgium tan lines’
Summer tan lines no more – now, you’re showing off the distinct lines where socks or leg warmers stopped, and mud has splattered your legs in what now appears to be a rather pleasing pattern.
3) Turn on kettle
4) Revel in the warmth of shower
Stand under the shower and stare up at the jets of water as they pummel your body in a manner that’s much more pleasant than the morning's pummelling.
Glance down at toes, and wiggle them in the hope they will soon return to normal colour.
5) Claw toe towards the kitchen
Feet are still lacking in feeling, making the rider waddle a bit like a hobbit with a bizarre limp.
6) Catch sight of face, realise there is mud in ear
You thought you’d got rid of all the muck in the shower, but looks like you missed a bit. Oops. Random flecks of mud may make themselves visible throughout the day.
5) Make coffee/tea
The rising steam fills you with delight as you cup your hands around the scolding china. Bliss.
7) Raid Fridge
The hunger pangs are kicking in. Leftovers have no chance of survival. Nor that chunk of cheese and the last slices of ham your housemates/family had been saving for lunch.
8) Upload the ride to the Social Media’s
Strava – check. Share to Facebook – check. Extra points if you included the words ‘cold’, ‘wet’ or ‘Rule Number 5’ in your ride title.
There's sometimes a short panic when you think your computer has deleted your ride, but it (usually) turns out ok. Scan the ride for QOM's and make sure to gloat if you stole one off your bestie.
9) Scan rides of Strava friends
Just to make sure no one went further than you. If they did, reluctantly give them a Kudos, then wait for them to return the favour.
10) Realise you've left your rear light on
You were good, and remembered to take a light because it was a tad foggy and wet. Unfortunately, you're not in the habit of remembering to turn it off, so now it's out of juice.
11) Fail to clean bike or stretch
Your legs begin to seize up, and the grime and muck gradually begins to envelop your chain and cassette – but you’re not too worried because it’s the ‘winter bike’ and you don’t intend to ride tomorrow, anyway.
12) Leave Clothes on floor/in sink until asked to remove
Once you do get round to it, you realise the remnants of that gel you ate 20 minutes from home has made a home on the inside of your pocket, on your favourite jersey. Doesn’t matter, you’ll sort it later.
13) Go out for the afternoon. Groan whenever asked to climb stairs.
Would it be wrong to use the lift to get from the Ground to First floor in Debenhams? Bore your friends and family stiff with stories from your morning on the bike. Or hang out with cyclists who will share your enthusiasm, and reluctance to exert any extra energy.
14) Get home. Eat more food.
Why does cereal always taste so amazing when you’re THIS hungry?
15) Check Strava for Kudos gains and re-check segments
YAY! More little thumbs up signs in your notifications.
16) Plan another ride
There’s so much more of the world left to explore – where next?
Have we missed anything off the list? Let us know! In the mean time, check out these essential tips for keeping your bike in tip top condition over winter...