I was going to call this week’s blog The Four Seasons but as we haven’t had any snow or ice, on reflection I thought that might have been a bit rich. So The Three Seasons it is.
Now that the nights are drawing in (and the mornings out), you can really sense a difference in the air at half five in the morning: a couple of days this week, I’ve had to resort to lights to stay on the safe side of bonkers, but in actual fact that’s no great hardship because my lights are right up there with anything you’ll see in the lead up to Christmas. If you’re breaking the speed limit on the A77 and you see me in the far distance, I am the polis!
And the way this challenge develops, the days kind of merge one into another so forgive me if I interchange Tuesday for Wednesday or Wednesday for Thursday: I’m getting old and the default position is always windy with hot rain and bunches of sun.
Let’s start with summer, because that’s where we’re meant to be. 20C doesn’t need bright sunshine to top up the T shirt tan. But I’ve been so aware of the change from medium dark brown to pinky white that I decided to go for the Neopolitan look: get those sleeves rolled up on the home runs and add three inches of strawberry to the chocolate and vanilla. And you know what: it’s working!
The mornings continue to be a challenge. We’re heading for that time of year when you have to carry two loads of stuff: one to wear on the way into work and one to wear on the way out, except that if the weather turns, you sometimes have to wear the in stuff out, or at least part way as it proved earlier this week. There was one night, I can’t remember whether it was Tuesday or Wednesday, when I left work in the rain, hot rain, and settled into a steady rhythm to get up the hill to the Malletsheugh. It’s not a steep climb, but it just goes on and on for about 3 miles and it’s into the wind. Add some rain to that mix and it’s a tad unpleasant but nevertheless challenging. Beyond the Malletsheugh lies the Fenwick Muir: it’s about 8 miles to Fenwick…
The first thing you notice is the strengthening wind. You can just about double whatever you’ve endured thus far. I normally keep a peaked cap in my bag for wearing under my helmet on these occasions but this time I forgot: I left it at home. Big mistake!
The rain was sheeting down, stinging my face and merging with the sweat to irritate my eyes. But you just find a gear that does the business and turn the pedals. This isn’t winter so the rain isn’t cold: it’s merely an annoyance.
Then, as I came down the descent from Floak to Kingswells where the Eaglesham Moor Road meets the A77, I realised that the sky was actually full of fog. It was hammering down with rain so hard that the sky was fog! It was utterly surreal. I wasn’t cold but I was soaked right through to the skin (remember how I said that sometimes you have to carry two sets of stuff: well here was I wearing a rain jacket that didn’t do what it said on the tin – fortunately I have a heavier one for the winter).
And then there was yesterday morning: you can be sure that if the sun’s out and it’s glove cold, there’ll be fog up on the Muir. And so it proved. I know I keep labouring the point that the Fenwick Muir has a climate all of its own but you can leave the house in bright sunshine, only to find that two miles up the road visibility is 50 yards and it’s freezing cold. These are the things you learn doing LifeCycle, and you learn them very quickly.
One of things I look forward to every day is the Fabby Challenge: one of my best supporters at work, both morally and financially, is Fabiana. Most days she passes me going up the Ayr Road and gives me a toot on the horn. When she’s driving the wee sporty number that’s fine because the horn is kind of weak: but when she’s in the Mini, your pedals skip a rotation believe me! So all of this time I’ve been looking for revenge, and it doesn’t come any sweeter than a wee wave and a see you later look as she’s stuck in traffic at a set of lights while I zoom up the inside on the bike lane. And this week, for the first time in 11 months, I managed it! That may have been the night it rained, I can’t remember. But it didn’t matter: result!
On the miles front, it’s been a week of many milestones. Last year, I logged 4,950 miles from January to December (yes I know it would have been nice to bag 5,000 but I decided it would be better to leave that as an incentive for another time). Well on Wednesday, 197 days into the year and after just 126 days of cycling, I cracked that 5,000 mile barrier. Five thousand miles in just over six months! I know the summer holidays are still to come but this is 9,000 miles a year pace. This is awesome. This is the kind of pace that says that LifeCycle will be done in THREE years not four, and that I’ll then be faced with a decision over what to do with the remaining 18 months until I retire. But you know what? I’ll deal with that when it happens. Right now I still have 17,500 miles still to ride and winter is just around the corner. A lot can happen. A lot does happen on this challenge…
For a start, you can get three seasons in one day in the middle of summer.