It's that time again. The time where I begin to feel just a tinsy-winsy bit uncomfortable anticipating the early start on Saturday. But this unfeasibly early start is for jolly good reason. Lest I forget I am in training. I keep reminding myself, via other people. So, in response to the stock line 'Anything planned this weekend...?', I pause momentarily, suspended in the perilsome prospect of riding an incredibly long way on my bicycle. I hover, which always generates more interest than is probably advisable, and make the announcement. Delicately, drawing as little attention as possible to the fact that I am getting up on Saturday morning, to put my bike into my car, and drive somewhere in the middle of nowhere to undertake a gruelling circuit of the North and South Downs in an event invented by bike-mad fools (with possibly rather too much testosterone and most definitely something to prove) called (and the clue's in the name) 'The Long One'.
Thing is, the weather has not been friendly. This is not what I, or anyone else, forecast mid June to look like. Granted, it has got warmer. And more humid. But sunshine remains at a serious premium. And this concerns me. Muchly. I am, and I'm not afraid to announce it, a fair weather cyclist. Things go an awful lot better when the sun comes out. The hills look less horrific, and the flats seem faster. The food stops (also known as feeding stations, which always brings a grin to my face) come round quicker, and the whole thing seems strangely less arduous, bordering on enjoyable (whilst still most challenging). This wannabe sportive rider is built for endurance, but endures so much better under favourable conditions.
So, in the immortal words of Labrinth (and many others, before and since)... Let the sun shine, let the sun shine! And may the spin classes attended in a last minute panic, pay off.
I'll be wearing my new socks with pride, regardless.
Sponsor me now and make my hill climbing fractionally easier, knowing that my pain really is for worthwhile gain.