A race that seemed so far off, is now so very close. Barry-Roubaix wakes up many a bike rider from their winter slumber by getting them on their trainers, their fat bikes, and hopefully out of the kitchen. January's goals and February's good intentions have morphed into March's excuses.
But no matter where your fitness is on Saturday, there'll be a little extra adrenaline pumping through our atrophied leg muscles, largely brought on by being part of a Lycra-wearing horde of fellow cyclists. Few places in the world can say they can get 3,500 cyclists to put on little more than expensive underwear and ride their bikes in 30-degree weather. We'll emerge from our basements and spin classes to see remind our legs and lungs of what it's like have the wind in our faces and the mud in our teeth.
One thing that's so cool about Barry is that some have hours and hours of riding in their legs, while some riders will cut their Iceman number plates off moments before rolling to the start line. The disparity in fitness makes it really two races in one; some are racing to place, while others are just trying to survive. In the early, early days of the 2017 season, just being willing to line up in the (Iikely) cold and wet on Saturday means you're likely at least a few steps ahead of everyone sat on the couch that day.
Good luck, everyone. Have a great week. Get some fresh blood in those veins. Have a cookie. We'll see you on the start line.