December’s fattening up period over, January’s best intentions recovery period out-of-the-way, February was the natural time to blow off the cobwebs, inflate the tyres and head out on the road in preparation for this year’s rides for Prostate Cancer UK.
With the alarm set for close to sunrise and the weather forecast looking good, I put away breakfast, and headed out the door. Only to turn around, come back inside, put several more layers on (including some newly purchased overshoes that were getting a first outing) and off we went again.
The usual attack on Upper Parliament Street in Liverpool started the morning, for the first time since June 4th at a speed that wouldn’t be described as brisk. The early morning Sun dazzling on the road up to Sefton Park was an early highlight a I fought for breath, adjusted my arse and tried to get some feeling into my ever-increasing fingers. It’s fair to say I was experiencing the best and worst of being out in one go, or so I thought.
I felt that lapping Sefton Park with its slight gradient, smooth roads and wide cyclist-friendly roads was the perfect easing back in, until I noticed the bright shiny tarmac was actually covered in February’s frost. A couple of laps later and the game of Russian roulette was not worth it, so opting to cut my losses, headed out towards Otterspool promenade and back home by the Mersey.
By now, I was realising why I hadn’t been out in a while, cycling maybe wasn’t all I’d convinced myself it was in recent years, my hands were numb, my head was cold, and my seat had seemingly got stiffer and more pointed in my absence. I pulled over to get a photo by the river and upon setting off caught a glimpse of two gentlemen cycling together up ahead. I set off in pursuit, edging closer to their fluorescent jackets, shiny machines and overshoes that were clearly thicker than mine.
This was it, this is why I loved cycling, I could go past them, put my head down and go like the wind (which incidentally was contributing to the icicles I felt were forming on my nose). I went for it, the road was clear, I tucked my head and with no manners whatsoever powered past the two riding together and did my best to pull away. Okay, upon second inspection, they did appear to be in their late 60s, but to me, they were elite and I was better.
As with all of my triumphs, the fall didn’t take long to follow, and what a fall it nearly was. Close to home, detouring through Liverpool’s Marina district, I caught the eye of a young lady setting off on a morning jog, just as I approached another shaded area thick in frost. Placing my bottle back in its holder I approached a bend (slowly) and had what would be described in motorcycling as quite a tank-slapper. The drama of my foot trying to pull away from its clipped in state, the great facials and high-pitched yelp from my face all contributed to me looking a right pillock as the young lady jogged past (albeit staying upright).
With my arse twitching at the near-miss I decided enough was enough and headed home, fit to fight another day… but maybe when the sun’s out.
This year I’ll be taking on Football to Amsterdam and Ride London, looking to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.
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Watch below, my last brush with the cold.