.....is now - that November/December period.
The low temperatures, biting wind and short days are bad enough, though we learn to get used to that.
The long summer days are now a distant memory, and Christmas festivities are just that bit further way.
So where do we find ourselves - in that awkward in between stage where there's nothing really exciting happening. It's all about coasting through an impasse - rapidly reviewing the year, and seeing what we can salvage of it, or just resigning ourselves to the lot we've got and just grinning and bearing it, while saying "next year, next year will be the year when it all happens."
So while I wait for this "blah" period to be over I intersperse the London drudgery with cycling !
Not that easy. For all the road races I've done in the pouring rain, and the mud-fests aka cyclo cross races, I still consider myself to be a fair weather cyclist. I hate rain, cold and wind. It makes me cross and anxious and it affects the way I ride. It's always a massive "getting out of my comfort zone" exercise.
I just about manage to cross the comfort/discomfort line between January and October. But November is always that bit harder. It's damp, it's cold, it's grim and I'm generally in that unpleasant phase of not quite having a cold, but yet not being fighting fit. The echinacea, the zinc, the Vitamin C are on full through throttle during this time and I can't go out of the house with fewer than 6 layers on.
So riding my bike becomes a balancing act between riding well enough to get a training benefit, but not working so hard that my immune system gets depressed further. There's a fine line between the two, and most of the time I don't know where the line is. Training but not training at the same time. Just battling against the dreaded bug, that's lurking around. I don't know exactly where it is and if or when it will give me a body blow, but I have to be ready. I need to be putting on the fighting talk !
If I get through this period without being struck down with the virus, I see it as an achievement. Any riding benefit gained is just a bonus.
So for the next few weeks my riding will be rather akin to when I was a small child going through the Ghost Train. I'll just have to hold on tightly to the barriers, close my eyes and grit my teeth as the ghouls and demons get dangerously close to me, but I know that as it's only a short ride all will be over soon and I'll re-emerge at the other end, unscathed and in pleasant sunshine.
Roll on 2009.