I’m not Contador’s biggest fan, but I’m down with his motto, beautifully enscripted on his latest Trek. Querer es poder which much more elegantly expressed in Latin means “where there is a will there is way”.

I like this slogan for many reasons, not least of which is that here in Montreal winter is coming to an end, but ever so slowly. Not with a bang and a rush of skyborne flowers, but with a slow muddy brown draining of the swamp and a plastic surgery gone wrong sense of revelation. The grit, the sand, the brown soggy gardens are unleashed upon tired and cranky eyes.

I avoid winter blues sometimes by getting up very early to run, and for the first time in weeks have no worries about needing spikes (not that I ever wear them anyway) or wondering if the paths will be clear. I get a clear, clean shot all the way, which makes me pump up the tires on my winter road bike and get out the door as fast as possible just a few hours later.

There’s plenty of short hill action on my doorstep. It’s not glamourous, but it is efficient and if you’re like me and need the hill work to stand any chance of success then it works out great for short and swe(a)ty training.

My mind wanders on the ride. I had dreams too, that I was gifted by the gods of physics, but whether it be pure malevolence or just humble empirical evidence it seems not to have been the case, in my case.

Going uphill is hard when you have a body designed to go fast and flat and long. Especially when you’re bumping over endless grit fields. So why do it at all?

I think, well actually and obviously, because I know that the strains and stress of training in this way will lead to results that should pay off come race day. But I have choices. I don’t have to train this way. Regardless of everything else working against me, I love the feeling of pulling the bike up long climbs knowing it’s just me, the bike and gravity – all playing against one another. I call that good stress.

I like knowing that it’s possible to reach the top and roll downhill and do it all again. And again. It’s like a mantra for your legs, your mind – it produces a kind of freedom.

The hardest part comes later, craving sugars and carbs, and resisting them instead turning to veggies and fruits and more hydration. I want to be on the trail, out in the world riding for days, weeks. But for now this will have to do.

I have another raspberry and get some rest, preparing for the day the ride doesn’t return home after an hour or two.