How to… be miserable
January is the best time of the cycling year to bask in misery. You’re a little unfit, the weather is cold and changeable, but the season is close enough that everyone else will start to go a bit faster.
Make sure you don’t wear quite enough. You don’t want to be instantly freezing, what you want is a slow drop in body temperature over the course of two or three hours. Ideally you should dress in non-waterproof kit, and encounter the start of a large band of rain at your furthest point from home. Use a rainfall radar app to help work this out.
Try to find a faster group to ride with, so you don’t have to go to the trouble of knackering yourself without assistance. But check that they’re not so fast that they’ll just ride off and leave you — you’ll want the full effect of repeated overexertions, wretched collapses, and then the repeated embarrassment when everyone else has to wait for you. It’s a form of interval misery, and it’s much more effective than steady-state misery.
Don’t try to fake a puncture to get a rest. You’ll just look like a moron when the whole group stops and you have to try to let the tyre down before you can ‘fix’ it. Also, nothing attracts the attention of the genuine puncture fairy like a fake deflation.
Don’t eat enough. In fact, don’t eat anything. Don’t take any means of buying food. And why not try out a new saddle?
Go on... make yourself grumpy this January