‘Tis the season

I spent a good portion of last night flogging myself on a cyclocross bike. I’ve been doing that for about a month now, though I’m still not sure why. It always seems like a good idea at the beginning, but halfway through you really just feel like throwing up.

I had a pretty solid road season, all things considered. But the road season ended in July here in Nebraska — at least for racing. There were other races around, but time and money and desire were all in short supply. So it’s been a while since I raced.

We started ‘cross practices five or six weeks ago, mainly because we have a few guys in these parts who are gunning for the UCI Masters World Championships in January. What better way to improve than by heading out to your favorite grassy patch and getting punched in the face for 90 minutes?

At the time, the first races were a little less than two months away. (They’re now just over two weeks away.) I was doing it mainly as a way to engage in something different. And though the workouts were harder, they were significantly shorter. Getting home before my son’s bedtime is always a plus. So I’ve become a part-time ‘crosser. And those races two weeks from now? Yeah … I’ll be there.

As we were rolling back to the shop last night, we pointed out two semi-important bits of information. One, it was cold. Not winter cold, but “first hints of fall” cold. It was only 60 for the high yesterday, but it was 52 or 53 as we rode back. Two, it was dark.

Two weeks ago I’d taken to using light colored lenses in my sunglasses, mainly because with dark lenses, the shadowy areas of the park we’re using are pretty much blackout zones. Even with lighter lenses, it was dark last night.

And I guess that’s the first real sign that we’re on the downhill slide. Colder mornings and nights, waning sunshine in the late afternoon … winter is coming. If there’s an upshot to all of this — and there is, slightly — it being able to shop for new cold-weather cycling clothes. Do I need more? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to look.

Upshot number two comes courtesy of Mad Alchemy. In that product description it says I open up a jar and use it at my desk like a wickless candle. That is absolutely true. I used some on my legs last night, too. Today I’ll open up the jar for the first time this year and breathe in the scent of fall.

Of course, within two months that scent will symbolize preparations for several hours of freezing, but for right now, it’s a welcome change. Some people get psyched about Pumpkin Spice Latte returning to Starbucks. We get psyched about the smell of embrocation.

Yeah, that seems about right.

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