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The Cycling Soul

Early Year Rides & the Cycling Soul

I’m busy training as often as I can at the moment. Winter has drawn towards a close, but all that this means is that the roads are constantly wet, meaning descents are tricky and the bike always needs a deep clean after the ride. This last point also means that the rollers are getting over-used, and I’m hiding away to often in the garage, viewing nothing but a line of hanging bikes as I crank out the pedals.

Any sign of a blue sky and a gentle breeze is welcomed, so waking up one day this week to a glorious day, I immediately got the kit ready, oiled the drivetrain and headed off, before nature remembered that it wasn’t yet spring.

The eastern edges of the Yorkshire Dales were calling me, and I turned into narrow winding lanes that twisted and turned, falling into short but steep descents with punchy climbs on exits. Riding the Look 765 disc, I also decided to test it’s class on the trails for which it was designed, and so switched into cyclocross mode as I ascended the Devils Elbow road in Nidderdale, turning onto the snow covered bridleway, with its sprinkled ice waiting to catch me unaware. The challenge was set and it was glorious riding as I balanced and manoeuvred the bike, deliberately riding the ice simply to hear it crack beneath the wheels.

My reward was the long descent that speeds you out of the dales and back towards the cathedral city of Ripon, sweeping past the entrance to Fountains Abbey, a world heritage site, with all around me a blur as my warmed up muscles revelled in the fading weather. Nature had remembered that it was winter and the cold had decided to return.

Heading to home, I felt nothing but happiness, and that simple joy that we have for cycling. I’d been reminded that winter brings on new challenges for the cyclist; new scenes and old routes with a new focus. It renews our cycling spirit in readiness for the warmth of spring. Yes, I’m a cyclist, and I try to live a cycling lifestyle, to ride In all weathers. Why, because I have to, I’m addicted and my soul won’t have it any other way - however much I try to hide from it.