even though it’s unusually mild, i’m still aware of the surreptitious creep of winter, of tightly-packed isobars and occlusion. i have no more races until March. i have been eating and not thinking about it, or going through chastisement when i do pig out suddenly, as though i have thrown all form away with one chocolate cupcake (or 3). it gets dark really early, and the days are drawing in like a final theatre curtain, bringing to an inevitable end the hours that lend themselves to cycling. i have the kit to see me through, a savagely bright front light and a series of jittery back lights, i have a horrible luminous jacket, i make no concession to fashion, only to safety. all of these are aimed at keeping me out on the bike and putting the miles in, because between now and march i must put the miles in, turn the pedals a million times, maintain the cadence, spend time in the saddle, and build the foundation upon which i can hone the fitness in february. it seems a long way off, but it’s just 14 weeks. after this week i will be back in the saddle full time, fighting the elements and the effect they have on motivation, just to keep it ticking over. it’s odd though, how after only 10 days of relative inactivity i begin to feel antsy, a restless pull to get back out on the bike and experience the physical feeling of scything through cold air and the associated effects of cycling and exertion.
it is winter, and that means only one thing of consequence: fixed wheel. It also means a healthy, quick and light cadence, some hard work on the hills, control of the drivetrain, the sensation of being aware of the untrustworthy road surface, and minimal wear and maintenance. for the next 12 weeks i will be mostly riding 65″, whether the road goes up or down, long distances or short. i may gear up slightly if on a livelier jaunt, but it’s fixed miles from here on in. my fixed wheel has been with me for a number of years now, it’s a bob jackson vigorelli. i run 25mm tyres and a 39 chainring, with a pair of chop-and-flop cinelli handlebars. it’s light and comfortable, a pre-requisite. i still get excited when riding it. it’s lovely.