Yep. Change is in the air. And not before time. After hanging on like a doomed-to-be-dropped sprinter on a hors catégorie climb for the past month, this most peculiar of winters (certainly in Sydney) is slowly but surely fading into history as the Spring sun finally begins to gain the upper hand, weaving its magic and warming the fingers, toes and minds of antipodean cyclists everywhere.
In perfect synergy with the improving temperatures, bunch numbers are beginning to swell with each new morning, much to the joy of café owners and, equally, the sarcastic tones of those battle-hardened souls who rode through the miserable teeth of a truly shitty winter and reckon everyone else is soft. The magpies love it too, of course, as the warmer weather brings with it an ever-increasing number of unwitting cyclists for them to dive bomb for entertainment, as I learned myself recently.
Sure, we’ve all done it many times before. But to me it’s still the most liberating of feelings rolling out for that first ride each Spring sans the full-fingered gloves and leg warmers. Psychologically it marks the start of summer, even if the calendar says it’s still months away. It means packing away those base layers so darn well it takes you two weeks to find them again next year. It means riding in daylight and being warm, even when it’s bucketing down. It means twilight crits and track racing. It means tan lines and vitamin D. It means deforesting the legs. It means significantly less post-ride laundry, although what we do have will likely be caked in enough sweat to fill a salt shaker. And before too long it also means one of the highlights of the riding year – for me and many others in my club, at least – the annual pilgrimage to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under.
Spring, I raise my Gatorade-filled bidon to you.