There's a moment you know is coming, but that never ceases to take you by surprise. It's that moment when you pass beyond the last suburban streetlamp's pool of illumination. For an instant, you are flying blind until your eyes' accommodation reflex adjusts to the light of the beam of your bar-mounted torch.
The modern sportive has deep roots. The tradition of a long-distance event that was not a race, but which had a mass start and would be timed, is one we owe in large part to the randonnée. When I say mass start, I mean about 40 misfits meeting up at daybreak in a village hall that wasn't marked on the map.
I was supposed to be running in this year's New York Marathon, but injury brought my training to a shuddering halt. To say I was disappointed to have to pull out (even if the many people in my position do get to defer their entry to next year) is typically-English understatement, so when the opportunity arose to ride the 26.2-mile runner's course on my bike on race day, I jumped at it.
We've all got a story like this. I'm out with our usual Tuesday training group doing laps of the park. It's just after 6am, and only just light, but it's springtime in New York City and the park loop is amply filled with local club and recreational riders all doing their morning thing.
They say baking soothes the soul. How can it not? There is something so reassuring about the ritual - quietly weighing out butter, sugar, flour, cracking eggs, whisking, beating and folding. "If you're feeling a little bit down, a bit of kneading helps," Mary Berry once said.
It was just one line buried in the tenth paragraph of a very minor story, but for me, it suddenly changed everything. The headline was that the Orica GreenEdge rider from South Africa, Daryl Impey, could return to racing because the UCI had waived its right to appeal against the earlier decision of the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport (SAID) to permit the cyclist to return to competition.
Snow, for many, is already here. And after I'm done writing this, I'm going to put the knobbliest tyres I have on my bike for this morning's commute. I've got used to riding with a big crowd of cyclists on my way to and from work, but I suspect that as it has snowed overnight in London, the rank and file of two-wheeled commuters will be thinned out substantially.
OK, disclaimer time: let me first make a "I make no apologies for this"-kind of apology. This blog is very much in the category of confession to a guilty secret. I'm not recommending this behaviour; I'm not saying it's clever or cool. But it is fun, and I'm definitely not the only one who thinks so.
In other respects, the jury is still out, but in this I am certain I have failed utterly as a parent: I have not transmitted to my children, now young adults, any of what I consider for myself to be the practical essentials for living.
Muck Rack makes it simple to find people, tweets, or articles that mention any name, keyword, company, hashtag etc. We've compiled this guide to help you make the most of your search.
Selecting a term
Start searching tweets, articles from media outlets, articles mentioned in tweets, journalists'
names, titles and bios with some suggested searches:
Companies or Topics (e.g. iPhone, Microsoft)
Phrases (e.g. "cloud computing") — use quotes to keep the terms together
Twitter handles (e.g. @username) — returns those who have mentioned or replied to
Names (e.g. "David Pogue")
Hashtags (e.g. #sxsw, #london2012)
Bio details (e.g. vegan, Olympics, father)
Muck Rack's Advanced Search allows for many boolean operators.
Find results that mention multiple specified terms, use AND or
+. For example, ensure each result contains both Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg by
searching Obama AND Romney or Obama + Romney.
Use the operators OR or , to broaden your search when you'd like either of
multiple terms to appear in results. (This is the default behavior of our search when no operators
are used.) For example, search for democrat OR republican to find results that refer to
Democrats and/or Republicans.
Use NOT or - to subtract results from your search. For
example, searching Disney will yield results about the Walt Disney Company as well as Walt Disney
World Resort. To exclude mentions of Disney World, search for Disney -World or Disney
When using one of these operators with a phrase, enclose it in quotation marks. For example, you can
find results about smartphones excluding Apple's iPhone 4S by searching smartphone -"iPhone
Use parentheses to separate multiple
boolean phrases. For example, to find journalists talking about having fun in Disney World or
Disneyland, search for ("disney world" OR disneyland) AND fun.
An asterisk can be used to search for any variation of a root word truncated by the asterisk. For example, searching for admin* will return results for administrator, administration, administer, administered, etc.
A near operator is an AND operator where you can control the distance between the words. You can vary the distance the near operation uses by adding a forward slash and number (between 0-99) such as strawberries NEAR/10 "whipped cream", which means the strawberries must exist within 10 words of "whipped cream".