Have you ever noticed how Spring just kind of creeps up on you? One week, it seems that you haven’t seen a shadow outdoors for about four months and you just automatically put on twelve layers of thermal clothing before popping out to the shops. Then, suddenly, you notice that the flowers are out, birds are singing, and you’re completely inappropriately dressed. This happened to me a couple of weeks back. One Sunday, I was grinding my way around Northamptonshire in the No Excuses sportive, rain lashing horizontally into my face, and wearing as many layers as I could to try to avoid the impending hypothermia. And then, the next day, it was suddenly Spring. We had two weeks of the most beautiful weather imaginable. I mean, I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but it would have been nice had it arrived one day earlier. Anyway, I used the first week of this sunshine to get as many miles in as possible, and the second week gently winding down the effort in preparation for the tough Spring Lambs sportive the following weekend. And of course, as soon as it started, it finished. The day before the event the weather broke, so out came the winter clothes again ready for the 150km pootle through the Essex countryside . Still, it was a great ride, with both Sol & I completing the distance easily, which bodes well for the upcoming Fred Whitton challenge. However, before that I have the inaugural Ronde Anglia ride which I’m thoroughly looking forward too. Mainly because it goes pretty much past my front door, and the girls have promised to cheer me on from the roadside. If I’m really lucky I might get some homemade flapjack to keep me going. So, all in all, things are going very positively on the cycling front. The bike is, of course, still perfect, and getting more perfect every time I ride it. Other than routine maintenance (which to be fair, I’m pretty anal about) I’ve not really had to touch it. I re-taped the bars as they were getting a bit scruffy, and also had to play around with the stack height due to a back problem a few months ago. Other than that, it’s all just been routine stuff, cleaning and lubing.
In other news… I managed to get out for a bit of climbing a couple of weeks ago, up at The Roaches with my pal Foz. The climbing was indescribably gorgeous, party because it coincided with the Spring weather mentioned earlier, but mainly because it was the first time I’ve got out for a good few months now. I even managed to do a spot of leading, which was nice, and pretty unexpected for my first climb in so long. Also worth mentioning that after my previous post about entering the Manx e2e race, I’m now the proud owner of a mountain bike. And jolly nice it is too. I’m told, by people who know these things that it’s quite a nice one (Trek ex9 apparently), but really, I have no clue. I’ve never ridden a bike with suspension before now, but I’m having a fantastic time bouncing my way around the rutted Fenland lanes. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to take it out on some proper trails in the coming weeks, and fall off it repeatedly. The really nice thing about it is that I get another tool to fiddle with – a rather super little pump for putting air into the suspension. This appeals to me on several levels – firstly a new tool in the box, but also I can spend hours poring over spreadsheets to determine whether I should have 123 or 127psi in the fork for a bodyweight of 66.3kilos and an average speed of 12.73km/h over rutted, rather than rocky terrain. And then when I do fall off, I can blame it on not understanding the spreadsheet rather than hamfisted incompetence.
 Countryside (v.). The killing of Piers Morgan.