The leaves are late here, mostly green and still in their trees. The birds haven’t been fooled. They are moving south in their flocks. Youth hockey has started. The apples are ripe and the smell of wood smoke has begun to appear on the breeze.
On the bike, this transition manifests itself in the incongruity between morning and afternoon temperatures. You need sleeves to leave the house. You return in a healthy sweat.
When I built my last bike I had fender mounts added with the idea that I would mark this time of year with slightly wider tires and mudguards. Right about now, I thought, I’d be ready to stop trying to go fast, that I could settle down and focus on riding through our normally wet New England autumn.
As it turns out, I never like to stop going fast, and I have never mounted fenders on that bike once. In fact, I never even bought the fenders. The tires got wide, but mostly so I could ride single track on that bike, in between and sometimes during, commutes.
The other day I pulled my wool jerseys from the back of the closet and ferreted out my long finger gloves. I’ve even worn them a few times, when the mercury dipped below 50F. It feels, every year, as though I have to learn to dress myself again. Mysteriously, I have all this stuff, but I’ve forgotten the combinations I need to wear it in. Invariably I fail once or twice, end up freezing cold or over-heated.
Transitions are like this. This week’s Group Ride asks, is your season in transition right now? What does that look like? Is it cold yet? Are you racing ‘cross? Are you shutting it down for the year? In Australia, it’s spring. Any of you just now ramping it up down there?