Yeah, I know, its supposed to be a glorious and exciting time of the year as we shed the icy fuckwittery of winter and get on the glide path for summer. A time for lambs to frolic as they make their way from paddock to BBQ, a time for winter jackets to be replaced by gilets (allegedly), a time for amateur doping programmes to step up ahead of summer racing (you know who you are cunts), a time for cleaning shit you’ve been desperately ignoring,
Ok, so I acknowledge that this is perhaps more about me not having experienced a spring for 8 years, so please feel free to file under ‘Lunatic repatriation ravings’, but that aside it hasn’t taken me very long to form some views on why the cuntiness of this so called ‘season of renewed enthusiasm’ is highly underrated.
Summer has excellent sun, heat and dust… Autumn is a friendly transition with welcome lower temperatures and winter is just a set & forget grind in the freezer. But spring is different, one of these seasons is not like the other one and spring is absolute intent on reminding you that in cycling terms, the next word following it is usually ‘Classic’ for a reason.
Yes, stand back as I swap complaining about the choking heat of the cHub for the first world hardship of an NZ Spring, whilst trying to prove that faux weather outrage is almost as hot as hypocrisy in 2017. Lets also ignore the fact I’m clearly low on blogging material and time as I elaborate on why I’m keen to fuck spring off ASAP.
#1 – MagCunts
Diagnosis – Spring takes a bird that has no real purpose and adds absolutely no actual value to anything and essentially turns it into the ISIS of the bird world. Usually Magpies, which are like a shit version of a crow as I understand it, don’t give a fuck about you and the feeling is completely mutual. However, we’re now into that time of the year where they rise up and attack you with more vigour than politicians murdering a fact checker (there’s plenty of time in 2017 for that to actually happen).
Arriving back in NZ to partake in my first spring in not far off a decade, I was completely unaware of the peril that awaited me, but I quickly had my cherry popped by what turned out to be the Bin Laden of Magpies here in the Hawkes Bay, Mavis of Middle Road. I understand Mavis may actually go by many names, including ‘You cunt’ and ‘Motherfucker’, but there is one common theme: This is one fucking pissed off bird.
I can genuinely say I’ve never had the experience of taking a direct hit from these Lucificers of the sky, but Mavis quickly sorted that out with not one, but four ambushes down Middle Road. Aside from “Fool me once, shame on you…“, I had no idea any animal would be this fucking mental over so many weeks. The second time she even changed her attack vector completely, showing that she was indeed an advanced tactician as she hit my Giro Aeon while I looked the wrong way.
By the third assault it was clear this wasn’t about nest protection, she just wanted to fuck with my shit. The frontal dive bomb assault is rare, but indicating this was now sport for her, this legit Angry Bird came at me kamikaze style almost a full kilometre out from her nest for fucks sake… This had moved from turf protection into the magpie version of Lebensraum. It turns out that A) Mavis has a taste for helmet that would make an ambitious corporate intern blush and B) A rider must sustain 48kph or higher in order to survive what quickly becomes a reloadable onslaught.
As the Panther pointed out to me, these motherfuckers hide out in their Macrocarpa Ghetto’s, carefully polishing their beaks and waiting for a solo cyclist to roll along. That’s right, they don’t fuck with groups, simply waiting for you to be Lorenzo Lamas in the badlands before they roll up with a pair of pliers and a blow torch.
These attacks come with such ferocity and surprise that it makes it look like the Japanese put a Gram post of their fully loaded aircraft carriers up days before Pearl Harbour #toratoratora. Is the fear of these feathery terrorists overstated? Initially I would say yes… That is until you have the experience of the Stukka dive bomber attack which concludes with a direct hit on the back of the helmet. What the actual fuck?! I think its 90% about the fact that as Humans, we’re supposed to be top of the pile in the food chain and aren’t that used to being fucked with. Or, you can watch this video of Mavis attacking another H Bay cyclist and make up your own mind:
But it gets worse, these motherfuckers are horrendously out of sync, which means, just like Afghanistan, that previous zones deemed ‘safe’ and cleared can overnight become magpie killing fields as they suddenly start to spawn their devil flock. A once enjoyable piece of road where one may relax is suddenly transformed into a roadside magpie ambush site, with the required 48kmph speed desperately trying to be attained to abet an escape.
Treatment plan – Unpack the Wahoo or stick to Mountain Biking for the whole of spring… Having said that, they do provide much needed interval training. I have been told that the key is to stop and feed them for a few weeks and then they leave you alone, but that almost sounds like a local piss take. Mavis doesn’t seem to interest in food, just in hearing the screams of her victims. Attacks appeared to be vicious when I was in Rapha… Alarming. I’m thinking about a shotgun for next year.
#2 – Wind, but like, lots of it
Diagnosis – Mother nature is a cruel and ironic mistress… While she takes away the beat down of winter, before true summer pleasure can be consumed with unzipped reckless abandon and Austrian tank tops, she instead replaces the frostiness of a crazy ex with the true pegging of Spring: Epic wind.
I respect for most locals this isn’t really a big deal, but after 8 years in the equatorial doldrums, I’m finding this spring wind gig to be quite confronting. I don’t have many watts to give to be honest, so to be looking down to find I’m pushing out 330 of them in exchange for a speed I can’t even type here is humbling to say the least.
Once upon a time this wasn’t such a big deal, but I’ve undergone an extensive softening treatment over the last 8 years and as a result my ability to persevere in a block head wind appears to be on par with my actual ability to read the fucking wind in the first place. This has resulted in perplexing rides where I’ve somehow managed to navigate my way into more face jobs than Sean Spicer.
Treatment plan – Harden the fuck up essentially… Or, funnily enough stick to the Wahoo or Mountain Biking. And buy a fucking compass…. Or use the one on your iCunt. Aside from my beard, which I now understand is a disqualifying feature, I’m clearly not getting a Belgian passport any time soon.
#3 – Dress for success
Diagnosis – This involves getting 20 minutes into your spring ride to find that one of two possible options are unfolding onto your chassis:
A) You’re cold as fuck and it appears to be getting colder
B) You’re already impersonating a roast in a bag chicken
Or perhaps you’re unlucky enough to do both, but on a repeating cycle of doom on the same ride. This was the predicament I found myself in recently when I started out with B… But then sometime later was subjected to A thanks to a fuck your face hail storm, only to reset to status B again. The last 30 minutes of the ride then dropping to a face numbing 3.4 degs (yes motherfuckers, centigrade) to finish me off as a meat popsicle. Turns out it can go from 14 degs to 5 in a few minutes:
Treatment plan – Suspect one starts by ceasing being a small cat, plus intensive & modular layering is probably a good plan. Having a Castelli Gabba is essentially king in this regard and I would have already sold my road bike (if I could, but selling Herr Piggy appears to be an absolute impossibility) if I didn’t have one of these in the arsenal. If you’re rolling into shit weather, more fool you if you’re not equipped with one.
Oh and yes, I haven’t forgotten I was the one complaining about a lack of The Hardcore recently – Don’t worry, that’s being steadily addressed by spring.
Have you got to the end of this and concluded that Spring actually appears to hate road riding and that I really just wanted to have a massive echo chamber bitch about magpies? Well, if so, then you’re on the money and I have also been taking this feedback on board from motherfucken nature, with some stunning results being my reward:
For the tech minded among you, I can highly recommend taking a couple of Kg’s off your 29er, especially if you’re not racing and need to actually earn that turn. The transformation is eyebrow raising. Stay tuned for a non weather and bird related update on that front soon.