There’s just something about this time of year that I absolutely love. Don’t get me wrong I’m definitely a summer cyclist, my average monthly milage is much higher when it’s warmest. It seems so easy to make an excuse to go for a ride, but truth be told it’s Autumn I love the most.
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The early morning chill is eventually overpowered by the sun as it makes its gradual crest over the the natural and man made obstacles that clutter the horizon. Only a short time ago it had no trouble asserting its dominance over the sky, but as the year winds down, so too does its ability to rise before us. That winter bite to the air hasn’t fully developed yet, but you can sense its presence, subtle but thankfully fleeting.
The first few miles are spent debating if an additional layer would have been the right decision.Up over the first rise the core starts to radiate heat, like eating porridge backwards. The more energy it produces the more functions come online. The stiffness subsides and everything starts to move in rhythm with the road, the uneven surface persists but arms and legs act like shock absorbers, once rusted, now free.
As the miles cascade, so too do the leaves. Burning amber strewn on the ground, crisp and bright. The trees majestic in their peacock state, a final display of natura before the hollow winter. A once lush canopy now breached by sunlight is the ultimate distraction, white, black, white, black. The eyes can’t quite keep up.
Descending into the village it’s damp under tyre, fingers instinctively cover the brakes. The road a patchwork of moisture and debris, it’s hard to pick a line. A flat seems inevitable. Challenging surface conditions only elevate the ride though, pulling a turn now comes with added responsibilities. Distinguishing the real hazards from the benign requires immediate focus, scanning and analysing the abundance of stimuli is almost as tiring as the riding.
The effort is well and truly rewarded by the scenery. Natures golden hour supplies the senses with a warm embrace. The green turned orange, on it’s way to grey provides a reminder that rising before most on a Sunday morning has its benefits.
My heart belongs to those picturesque days.
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