Defining Moments: Daylight Savings Time

Defining Moments: Daylight Savings Time

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Daylight Savings always represents a turning point for my cycling season.  In Fall, it represents leaving my season’s goals behind as I find once again the simple pleasure of riding my bike for the sake of riding my bike; the sensation of the rhythm, the hypnosis of rain dripping from my cycling cap’s brim, the cool air in my lungs, the indulgence in Rule #9. In Spring, like the bits of green beginning to appear on the tree branches and shrubs along the street, the ambition to start increasing the intensity of my training is beginning to bud. When I set my clock forward on Sunday, I knew the time had come.

The pleasure I found in riding with my objectives just at my back and a long winter stretching before me has been replaced by a desire to rediscover that strength in my legs that gives me the feeling that I can somehow control the pain of an intense effort. The sensation of Control Over Pain rests in my mind like the shadow of a dream which only becomes more vague the more I try to remember how it felt. Riding tempo on the climb up Interlaken Boulevard on Sunday did little to reassure me that such control has ever been within my grasp.

With Daylight Savings, my attitude turns from being glad that I got out on the bike to being disappointed if I didn’t. Objectives for the season are mapped out – whatever they may be – and a plan is formed around meeting them.  At the start, the fitness I had the previous season seems unattainable. I have been working hard to get thin and fit, but the pain in my legs and burning in my lungs tells me otherwise when the road points upward.

Then, slowly, the sensations return. Almost without warning, I’ll find myself at the tight switchback before the steep section on one of my favorite climbs, and instead down-shifting as I exit the turn and hit the first of the ramps, I’ll find myself rising out of the saddle and pushing onward. Then, weeks later still, I’ll hit that same turn while still in the big ring. The power in my legs will feel good despite the pain flooding my senses.

The progression of fitness is something to look forward to.  It takes work and sacrifice, but the rewards are palpable; the progression is along a scale of relative improvements, with each improvement a tangible gain over the last. And that is why I do it. That is why I start, for the objective is too far away and too abstract. I am spurred on by the momentum gained through incremental improvement much more than that of the goal itself. The goal is fleeting; once obtained, there is either the next or nothing. The progression towards the goal, however, represents the continuous evolution of the cyclist.

Today I struggle to translate these things I know to be true into how I feel when I struggle up a climb. But over time, by continuing to step out into the rain and climb aboard my bike, I will start to claw my way forward. And each year, the progression starts when I set my clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

// Defining Moments // Nostalgia // Tradition

  1. Marcus:

    A-Merckx brother…

    Just as a side note, how do you apply rule V in summer. Ride when it is 45 Degrees C out. Ride when the humidity is soooo bad that even your bidons are sweating, and the sweat drips into your eyes causing temporary blindness. Ahhh Western Australia, wouldn’t live anywhere else.

  2. @Steampunk
    Agreed. This whole “after work” thing doesn’t mesh with me. Morning rides are way mo bettah! Then if anything comes up and you end up in lab until midnight, at least you got your miles in for the day.

  3. frank:
    I hate your guts. You keep your nice weather to yourself, and let me wallow in my rain.

    I forgot to mention the iconic group ride The Shoot Out. a 60 mile ride that even see’s pros show up. it a ride for those with heaps of V to dish out.

  4. packfiller:
    Frank, that was poetry. Except for the part of climbing being a good thing. Climbing is never a good thing…
    As for the AZ contingent, you guys kinda suck, with your good weather, consistent tan lines, and long fingered gloves when it’s friggin’ SIXTY DEGREES.
    (Please read jealous tones in previous post)

    having lived through 3 MN winters I do no such thing. but yes my tan is in good form, wish I could say that about the rest of me.

  5. I do wear DeSoto arm coolers only to cover up a tattoo. is that a violation of a rule?

  6. It’s a pleasure read this article and the relative comments.

  7. Yes sadly daylight savings will end here in Tasmania very soon and gone will be the opportunities to get in a ride late in the day. The weather is also getting cooler but who cares there’s plenty of gear that keeps one from hypothermia when its 10 degrees C during the day!

  8. Here in Bris, Aus. the shit weather is just leaving and we are coming into the nice winter riding weather. That’s right, cool to cold dry season.

    Summer means sweating so much that you are constantly drinking to stave off dehydration before the next ride, then the washed out feeling when you’re still thirsty but can’t stand the thought of liquid. Monsoonal rain, means randomly getting dumped on and the occasional freak arse crazy storm being led out by 4 riders of the apocalypse.

    When it’s 35+ degrees (celsius) and 90% humidity I sometimes dream of fresh crisp icy air to breath and the “warmed from within” feeling under a couple of layers of fleece lined kit. Then I’m brought back to reality but sweat trickling off the brim of my cap and the damp stinky mess that I am. Looking pro ain’t easy then.

  9. Oh god I’m feeling nostalgic for rain.

    We’ve had a horrible run of windy weeks in Abu Dhabi, but I was just thinking yesterday that there isn’t the same glory about riding in the wind.

    You come back after a rain-sodden ride and you are visibly affected – dripping, wet to the core but triumphant.

    Come back after a windy ride where you’ve been in the red zone for half an hour trying to push 24km/h just to get home and you look exactly the same as if it had been a gentle breeze cooling you down and offering the occasional push.

    And @Xponti, I know that feeling. Bad weather isn’t just cold and wet. When the overnight minimum was 34 and by 9am it’s over 40C… it doeesn’t get much badder than that.

    What’s worse is that it’s also just turned hot here. We’re up to 35s now, so I know that even if the wind slows I have 6 months of baking heat ahead.

  10. An ode to spring in crap haiku:

    60 in New York
    Stuck in the office, dyin’
    Which road would I ride?

  11. @frank. Yet another fine piece. As always a pleasure to read the thoughts put to keyboard.

    But, I’m with the antipodes crews, stick your DST, ours is just finishing.

    Bastards – nothing personal.

  12. All you South Hemi’s need to settle down! Have you learned nothing? You are on the other side of the cycle; your objectives at your back, you have been given carte blanche to enjoy riding for the simple joy of riding. Get out as much as you can, and enjoy the km’s. In six months, you’ll be ready to dial it back up.

    Believe me, there is no connection between DST and good weather. I will spend most of my days on the rain bike until June. I did take the fenders off. Those things can go fuck themselves.

  13. @RedRanger
    You know, I thought that was one massively lame thing to do until I rode in Maui and realized how hot that sun gets. Strictly speaking, it’s a violation of good taste, but no one’s going to call you on it.

  14. @Ron

    kind of an aside, but I do love the look of black kit. You look sharp in the black V kit, even for such a tall lad;) I wear black bibs, arm/knee warmers, a navy blue vest, but try to keep my jerseys kind of white or bright. Any worries drivers see you less in a black jersey? I don’t even know if you run a tail light or not. In that fog, I hope so, but maybe that’s a deserted road.

    I’ve harbored the same concerns, but there are a few things going on.

    1. Drivers not paying close enough attention to hit you will likely do so regardless of the color of your kit.

    2. The roads and terrain are rarely black, so it’s not really camouflage anyway.

    3. The V-Cog burns bright on the V-Kit. Easy to see.

  15. 9AM and it is 40C (105F) in Pune, IN. Obviously am already done with my 50K ride for the day. Looking forward to that imperial burntury tomorrow. Here we get those warm and fussy kitten feelings frank is getting this week every September; finally when the monsoon recedes, hills turn all green and raceable. The good weather lasts from Late September to March. Last year rains lashed through Nov. Very slushy couple of months.

  16. @Xyxax
    You and me both! The weekend couldn’t come soon enough!

  17. brett:
    You can all fuck off! It’s the reverse down here, only a week or two of DST left, the chill is starting to creep into the air, the mornings darker and the evenings shortening, and the imminent loathing of Rule #9 underway.

    I’m the opposite of Bretto, I’m looking forward to riding in some cooler weather, though not looking forward to spending evenings on the rollers out back of the house trying not to get blown off by wind gusts. I’ve had enough of this sun and shit – arm warmers, riding caps, shoe covers here I come. Summer time numpties, fair weather riders, fuck off and go to the movies or something. Sit on the couch. Come back out of your hibernation in four, five six months, fat pasty and puffing away. I’ll be lighter, my bikes will work like they should and my bike handling will be on point. So rack off and leave me (us) to it.

    I’m hearing both Brett and Minion. Kinda over summertime here. I love getting all base-layered, knee and arm-warmered (sometimes even a gilet). Having said that, most rides start in the pre-dawn dark(ish) 11 months of the year. Makes sunrise over the Pacific pretty spectacular

  18. @Boni
    Mate, I think you might be the first Velominatus hailing from India. I’ve not been to Pune, but I’ve been all over South India and I can confidently say to anyone who hasn’t been: massive loads of Rule #5 required to brave even the traffic! Amazing! Well done, mate. You have arrived.

    I remember one trip I took into the hill country of Tamil Nadu up to Ooty. The road just went up and up and up…I remember drooling over this climb; steep, twisty, feisty. After what seemed like a lifetime, we got to the pass, still covers in jungle. I asked the driver what elevation this pass was at, and he said, “3500m.” Right.

    The Galibier is 2600m and covered in snow in July. This pass was at 3500m and the jungle showed now signs of thinning. I wonder where the tree line is that close to the equator?

    In any case, welcome, mate!

  19. I’ve loved DST this year. Getting in 1.5 to 2 hours, getting home at sunset, around 7:30pm. It’s about 26C. Light breeze. Getting my tan lines.

    Gotta go back to early morning rides by May. I can’t take five months of 35C with 80% humidity. I don’t cotton to drowning and dehydrating all at the same time–too confusing.

  20. @Boni
    Welcome indeed! My firm just opened offices in Pune last year, I hope I get to visit soon.

  21. Nice read Frank!

    Just got my first ride of the season yesterday. Had to drive almost 400 miles and sneak it in between these west coast storms to get it, but it was worth it. The only thing that could have made it better was if those boys at Castelli had laid down a little more V themselves and gotten our order to us quicker. First ride of the season w/a new Velominati LS jersey would have been sheer poetry!

    Oh well, a 400 mile return trip with 3 ft. waiting in the driveway upon my arrival. C’est la vie.

  22. Have a frame that’s waiting for funds to get painted then its the 8 speed winter work racer.

  23. @frank: Ooty can be climbed in couple of ways. The climb you are describing ought to be the Kalahati Monster. It is one hell of a climb. Pune also is in general hilly and we like it that way. While I might be the first Velominatus that you noticed from India, I can assure you that HTFU is a way of life, and there is a large community out here who takes the rules very seriously. Thanks.

    @sgt: Bring your bike when you come over; and do give me a hooller., is a good place to track me down.

  24. Well, to give another antipodean perspective on the upcoming winter – bring it on – cross season is about to start – get on it and stop whinging.
    We’ve had such a shit summer in Melbourne I’m looking forward to winter.

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