'Cross season has always signaled transitions. Like the rebound boyfriend [or, better, the really awesome guy friend that will voluntarily be a fake boyfriend post-break-up until you can go 24 hours without unraveling into a weepy mess], 'cross has held my hand every year as road left me. The air gets a little colder, I start pulling on knee warmers on rides, and by September the races I'm watching involve muddy stairs, and much less asphalt.
It's a good change of pace. Like hanging out with your big brother type friends - the ones you know will make sure you get home okay before going home with that girl you played wingman for - after you pulled a bit of a disappearing act over a crush that didn't work out. CX gives you something fun to do when it's freezing cold outside, with people you secretly think are insane, but you're still proud to call your friends. You end up with lots of good stories, inside jokes and killer hangovers. It's the best way to spend a winter. [Picture below taken by Alex...isn't my helmet hair amazing?]
But then there's a lull in February, after CX Worlds [although Cyclocross Tokyo holds me over a little longer]. Valentine's Day rolls around and the big brother figure that is 'cross is out wining and dining a hot date. The lack of romance in your life becomes a little too clear. You start intensely staring at the Competitive Cyclist postcard from three years ago with Cav on it racing in the Giro - even though you're not a Cav fan - because maybe, just maybe, you can will it to be May if you tried hard enough.
I know, I know, there are the Spring Classics, and it would be greedy of me to ignore Paris-Nice. Coming off the high of CX season, though, I've been craving something...more. The excitement of watching all the big names flex their muscles in the same race, Tour-style. The sprints, lead-out trains, and fast-as-fuck climbing that you get to see in stage races. The Italian sun bouncing off colorful jerseys on carbon fiber bikes...
Actually, that's all bullshit. I didn't see Adam Hansen's name on the Paris-Nice start list and immediately lost interest. Yeah, I understand there's value in watching races that don't include the most bangable dude in the pro peloton, but understanding that concept and acting on it are two different things, okay?
But then there was a tweet about Tirreno! And a start list shot full of HGH [that's Hendy, Greipel, and Hansen, in pedal-strike speak]! And just like that, it looked like I was going to make it through March without [too much] pro cycling stage racing withdrawal.
Sure, my entire face is in agony from the trees around Tokyo constantly jizzing pollen into the air, but I am seriously loving spring.