I live my life by the season. That’s not a spelling mistake, I don’t mean seasons, plural, I mean the cycling season.
The Giro ended on Sunday so that means I’m currently in pre-summer. (You wouldn’t know it by the weather, but that’s a gripe for another blog.) That means there’s a month until summer proper, i.e. the Tour. To get me through the intervening period I have the Tour de Suisse and the Dauphine. Then it’s July, the high point of any year, the maillot jaune and matching fields of sunflowers, white, green and spotty jerseys, the Alps, the Pyrenees and eventually, the Champs Elysees.
The first Monday after the Tour will be flat and empty. I will steel myself and look toward an Indian summer, in Spain. La Vuelta will be a golden opportunity for the Scottish weather to redeem itself, for some riders to salvage a hitherto empty season or, for others, to build their form for the Worlds.
The Worlds: a rainbow through the flattening light of rapidly shortening days.
Lombardia, the race of the falling leaves, the inescapable reality that it really is almost over for another year.
By Paris-Tours I’ll already have begun to taper down. In winter my attention will switch across the Atlantic, to San Francisco and my other sport of choice. I’ll sit up late on Sunday nights, munching nachos, getting sick of the endless adverts and praying that the 9ers have a return to form.
Through the dark winter days I might cast half an eye at cyclo-cross and the six days, trying not to wish my life away.
I won’t fully wake from hibernation until Paris-Nice begins its race toward the sun. By then I will be returned to the cycle, just weeks away from that classic time of year, the month of Milan San Remo, mud, cobbles, murs and bergs.
And as the last Ardenne is crested my mind will already racing ahead, to May, the Giro and another year come full circle.