Motivation comes today in the form of a giant golden ball in the sky, radiating heat and light and well-being.
Where have you been, my solar chum? Too infrequent a visitor to these shores, the sun’s absence is quickly forgiven, such is the bountiful nature of its return, transforming the landscape from grey morass to kaleidoscope.
Once murky streams glitter, the fields glisten with sudden verdancy; even the bricks of a certain country pub seem somehow redder, the slate roof darker.
There is nothing I would rather do today than ride my bike. It is cold in the shade, but what do I care? I am wrapped up warm, in De Marchi winter kit, since you ask, the helmet liner as suddenly superfluous as the mudguards on the RCUK winter bike.
The wind is behind me for much of a ride bathed in the most glorious (whisper it) spring sunshine, making today’s conditions as close to perfect as I’m likely to experience on an island north of Continental Europe.
I wouldn’t have expected the Easter holiday to have reduced traffic on rural roads, but it has. Normally quiet lanes are today absolutely deserted, mine entirely: mile after mile of glorious tarmac, some potholed, some billiard table smooth, but all suddenly sleek beneath a sheen of reflected light.
There are other cyclists on the road, sneaking in a ride, perhaps in an extended Easter holiday, perhaps not. The sun has brought them out, without question. The resigned nods of the previous weeks have been replaced by smiles. “Look at us,” is the unspoken message, “living the dream!”
The heroics of the Classics hardmen are best enjoyed from the comfort of home, I find. Riders deployed to the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco have surely drawn the long straw offered by their teams. Today, England took a share of the sunshine illuminating the Basque Country. Let’s hope for more.