Cyclists get a New Years Day Experience at least four times a year.
On January 1st, just like everyone else they set goals, make plans and experience the euphoria of a new beginning. Just like everyone else these feelings and intentions pass and most are left to ponder upon what might have been.
March 1st is the start of the racing and sportive season. Even though in recent years ‘training races’ now start from pretty much the end of January and Sportives are becoming so plentiful that the only space in the calendar left for some is January, there is still the psychological date of March 1st when the ‘real’ season begins.
June 1st is the start of the summer. The weather will be great, the evenings will be long, the shorts will be on and everything is out there to look forward to again. Then reality intervenes. Rain lashes down. On the few days that are dry, the other half wants the grass cut, the barbecue lit and the house painted. The kids want to go to the park, the playground, the beach, for a walk in the hills and about 250 different other places that separate you from your bike. Summer passes and you are left to wonder just how the garmin managed to have a higher reading of kilometers covered in December than July.
Then along comes September 1st. Probably the best shot at a new beginning each year. The kids are back at school so the weather is good and you have a little more time to yourself. The evenings are getting shorter but you can still just about manage a two hour spin after work. The grass has pretty much stopped growing and the barbecue has been cleaned and put away after it’s single use. The bit of painting has been done, or as much as you intend to do for this year. Suddenly you find yourself being able to head off out on the bike without any little niggles of what else you should be doing.
So, what is a September bike ride like ?
With not many major events or races coming up, aside from a few Sportives and the Charleville 2 Day, there is very little that you need to be doing specific training for. The Power meter and heart rate monitor can be left to hibernate in the press and your training spins develop a lightness and relaxed feeling. This is the moment that you can just head off out on your bike for a cycle with no particular purpose other than to enjoy the simple pleasure of riding your bike in the fresh air whilst taking in your surroundings at this most picturesque time of year.
Rolling along quiet country roads, as golden leaves fall around you, with the Autumn sunshine glistening through the branches of hedges on the other side of which ripe corn awaits harvesting. These sights along with sounds of swallows singing their final songs before heading south for the winter give you the opportunity to recharge your batteries and regain control and perspective on what can be a very busy and hectic life for most of us nowadays.
Remember to put the phone on silent and to stop every now and then to look at that stream that you ride over but never notice and to take in the contours of the surrounding mountains without considering Strava times.
At this time of year you can go out there on your bike and simply take a time out from pressures and stresses to enable you to feel happy, healthy and back on top of life once more.