As the popular festive song says, “the weather outside is frightful”, and it is currently hard to muster much enthusiasm for riding in Vancouver. It is not the harshest winter weather here, but it still takes a physical and mental effort to do much on the bike at this time of year.
Sean Kelly had different ideas on winter training, once apparently saying that one doesn’t really know how cold it is outside until one actually starts riding. You just have to get out there!
Or as another hard man, Peter Van Petegem, said, Paris-Roubaix is not won on the day but in December and January when all the ‘hard kilometres’ get done. Indeed.
Unless one actually is training for Paris-Roubaix, the best option as this time of year is to watch the televised highlights while on the indoor trainer, or perhaps even perched on the couch with an appropriate festive tipple.
Thinking of tipples, le grimpeur is reminded of that most perfect of French tipples, pastis; the elixir of all that is good about summer sipping and the perfect pick-me-up for midway through an adventure in Les Alpes (it is actually proven to make you climb faster).
Not exactly the best choice of seasonal beverage at present, but even the merest hint of its aroma reminds one of the coming summer, and dreams of blue skies over spectacular European mountain climbs, of epic rides past and to come.
Cobbles and Classics and hard ‘Belgian Days’ are all well and good, but the magic of cycling is in the mountains and in the summer. The hot and lonely road, stretching always upwards, with the promise of only the summit, a speedy descent, and perhaps yet another leg-sapping and lung-aching ascension.
Thanks to everyone who visited this blog over the last year, to share the passion of the author for ‘everything climbing’, and to those who took the time to comment and add their views. More to come in the New Year.
Enjoy the Festive Season!