Sunday, 6 November 2011

chesnuts and change

This is a funny time of year to be a bike rider; the season has been long and hard and you'v got time to recover. But at the same time the last race was already a month ago, and you haven't ridden much since. Your mind goes back to the parts of this season which you'd like to improve upon and part of you wants to get out and train harder than ever. you feel tired from not riding, your body isn't used to the lack of endorphins and you stop feeling hungry. The evenings close in and the trees change colour.

I like the connection to the seasons that being a bike rider gives me, i feel that's doubly true living where i do. as the nights draw in the children man the street corners, hunkered over old oil barrels roasting chesnuts which they wrap in the days' newspaper and sell,along with a tot of moscatell to keep the cold out. The time for sipping cava in the sunshine and eating salad because you daren't turn on the cooker is gone, anellets of almond- meal and sugar are the pastry of choice for all saints day and coffee isn't served with a glass with ice any more. The vineyards have changed too, in april they were verdant, bright green and luscious, through the hot summer they became yellow, barely hanging ontot the dusty mountainsides, now they're all shades of red and orange. getting old and loosing their hair, in a month they'll be bare.

There are fewer tourists here now, taking my paseo after dinner i noticed fewer crowds. the streets have been returned to the local people. there's a knowing familiarity in the way people nod to each other. the market still bustles, but in the dark at 6pm it has a different aura, the stalls like little beacons, each with a crowd. there's less shouting and nobody's trying to sell you a photograph of a paella and a menu in english anymore.

training changes with the seasons as well, like nature intended we eat a little more, sleep a little more and move a little less. i don't need my mixes and gels at this time of year. i head out with a jacket and a scarf, a pocket full of roscos and leave the SRM at home. i like passing the families out gathering mushrooms, stopping to pilfer the last of the oranges which never quite got ripe enough to pick or the apples which have sprung up outside of the orchard. When i get back the recovery dirnk isn't a priority any more it's about a warm shower, a cup of tea or hot chocolate and then a hearty meal.

i do miss the sunshine, and i find it hard to summon up the enthusiasm to train in the rain, but perhaps thats not a bad thing. i'm trying to listen to my body, and to nature. it's been around for a while and it's had soe time to work things out. also it's responsible for producing roasted chesnuts which are downright spectacular.

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