Friday, 1 January 2010

New Year's Day

I've never liked Bono, never liked that overblown, windswept, grand vista pseudo visionary kind of pop star. It gives me great pleasure then to be able to report that he was wrong. All is certainly not quiet on New Year's Day. Well, not if you live anywhere near Southend seafront. All is mobbed on NYD more like.
This thought whirred through my brain as I picked my way past all of the poor parkers who negotiated the spaces outside the casino, the pedestrians spilling on the pavements and the kids on new Christmas bikes slipping on the cycle path that the council had seen fit not to salt, grit or clear in any way, shape or form. This didn't, of course, stop the fat Jag driver who carved me up and then made obscene gestures at me because I had deigned to ride on his road on this of all days.
But, you know, there is not much that can put me in a bad mood on a day like this - if the snow is our enemy then these clear crisp days are what winter riding is all about. It's as if all other breathing I do during the day is nothing in comparision with the deep lung clearing breaths I take when out on these rides. The sharp winter light under the endless flat horizons may not be everyone's favoured aesthetic but the feeling of stretch, expansion, escape is there on these days as I pedal the fixed round the familiar haunts of Wakering and Barling.
The old road men used to train in winter on a fixed, they claimed the constant cadence and lack of cosy choice of an easier gear set them up well for a spring season of racing. I don't know how true it will be for me but 40 miles on the fixed today has certainly left me hungrier, more tired yet more alive than I would otherwise have felt. Maybe the woozy tunes of the Boards of Canada and Belbury Poly added to that other wordly sense but as I returned dodging the cars on the front I felt, well if this is the new year ...bring it on!

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