… rolling in from the west, chased by a rising wind. Across the fields a group are gathered, mud-pluggers circled like wagons. The wind carries the pop-pop of shotguns. Maybe they’re pulling clays; maybe not.
Beforehand the sun shone, brightly, sky like eyes of innocence. Chores done, soup ready and waiting for the return, it was time. First cycle of the year, wheels turning, knees complaining. Layered up against the chill, wary of the road conditions. An hour, just give me an hour. Route planned, climbing high, descending fast, before the clouds come in.
And off we went, light of heart, mind ready to wander. It didn’t last. Too many places where the sun didn’t shine; shaded still. Too many places with run-off from the fields. Too much ice.
The pace was slow, wary. One blurry eye, contact lens not properly bedded, didn’t help. And then the inevitable. A wobble, a slide, man and machine gliding as one, Bolero as an ear-worm. So we picked ourselves up and away we went; slower yet. Watch for the icy stretches; off and walk. Even that was treacherous and to the safety of the grass verge we slithered.
Route plans changed, trying to avoid the shady slopes. Back home early, slowly, straight into the glare as the sun bounced off the wet tarmac, hiding what may be frozen beneath the surface. It is the time of year when the sun doesn’t get close to the yardarm, rising only as far as the helmet mirror, just to blind you front and back.
Home just in time, the skies changed, blackening; the wind threatening. And that’s when I realise there’s a pair of winter-weight bib-tights beyond repair. For ice and lycra are not a good mix. And the bruising on the arse is becoming the colour of the sky. I’ll spare you the photos.
But it was good to get out again, almost. Time perhaps to succumb to the misery of static cycling, the view of the garage walls. I hate January, for a number of reasons.