No need to look at the clock radio. Your internal body clock tells you it’s 4:45am. And it most certainly is. Time to rise and prepare for your ubiquitous early morning ride. Except that unlike the previous six months, the season has most certainly changed in recent weeks, and the chill on your nose and cheeks as you peek out from under the blankets tells you it’s a long sleeve, full fingered glove morning – possibly even skullcap weather.
Undeterred you go to move, only to suddenly hear ‘them’ whispering in your ear; the early morning sirens. “Stay in bed, there’s no need to ride today,” they say seductively. “But it’s so toasty and cozy in here, and so cold and lonely out there on the dark and dangerous roads – stay.” Your partner would no doubt agree, but he or she is fast asleep, blissfully unaware of the emotional arm wrestle taking place beside them in the pre-dawn bedroom darkness as you guiltily ponder your ankle-length knicks and thermo-fleece jersey laid carefully out on the dresser. These are the sirens that pervade every cyclists’ mind, emerging whenever the elements take a turn for the less comfortable, perhaps due to excessive precipitation, wind, heat or, as is most likely the case in Australia right now, the cold.
Have no doubt, the early morning sirens are mischievously adept at what they do; infinitely more persuasive than a Queen’s Counsel on a million dollar win bonus. But just like Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ or Euripides’ ‘Helen’, they are also certain to lead you astray, causing trouble in any number of ways.
Calling out in the darkness, cajoling you under the doona and attempting to gain your surrender in any way they can – with scant regard for Rule #5 – they will appeal to any hint of mental weakness and the self-preservation instincts that reside deep within us all. “You can feel it, can’t you? It’s too cold to ride, your fingers and toes will be numb, besides what difference will missing one day make?” DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM. For if you do, you shall also have to listen to something far worse: the mocking derision of your riding mates who managed to find the strength to ignore their own sirens on that very same morning…