I blame Halloween.
That's when it starts, you know. The days had started getting shorter, and at first the evening rides got even faster as everyone tried to beat nightfall. But the evening rides end in October, and once they're gone do you really need to stay skinny to be fast up Gosey Hill?
Meanwhile, it began to get cooler and you started to let yourself think that maybe another layer of something might help keep you warm. You thought about chillier rides ahead, slowing down a bit, just doing the distance.
So is it any wonder that when you opened that first bag of candy for the trick-or-treaters you thought, "What harm could just one of these little 100 Grand bars do? I deserve this. I've stayed trim all summer, and it's time to put on the winter fat. Heck, I think I'll take a Kit Kat, too."
And then there's a little pile of wrappers on the coffee table as the clock strikes eight, and you're starting to worry that those little bags of Nerds and Twizzlers may not be enough for the teenagers who're now roaming the neighborhood, hooligans gamely trying to hold on to the last vestiges of mis-spent youth, barely paying homage to any sort of costume ("I'm a hobo -- can't you tell?") as they demand at least four pieces of swag at a pop. Those punks sure don't deserve the little Snickers bars, gol-darnit!
It's all downhill from there. By Thanksgiving, you think you might still burn some of it off if you get warm days in early December, but as Christmas approaches it's all, "Well, what the hey. No turning back now." And by the big meal of New Years Day, you're fully into, "The diet starts next week, so might as well enjoy it while I can."
And then it's January, and your clothes are tight. Getting up hills is hard now. Most of your friends fell prey to the same temptations as you, but there's always one or two who have superior wills or metabolisms, and they're the ones now bobbing up ahead and around the corner and easily taking KOM points were yours for three weeks running back in better times ... warmer times ... leaner times.
Which brings me to my point. I'm giving up food for Lint.
Okay, maybe not all food, but I'm cutting way back and watching what I'm eating. And yes, I know that's not how you spell Lent. But Lent doesn't start for weeks, and if I wait until Fat Tuesday (which, for me, is now the time during the day after Monday when I step on that stupid scale in my bathroom) to start dieting, I will be in big trouble when the rides (and the weather) heat up. So, I'm declaring Belly Button Lint.
This is a secular holiday, although you should feel free to petition whatever deity you want for help when somebody brings in a box of Krispy Kremes. You don't have to get ashes rubbed onto your forehead for this, either. For me, it's just losing weight until I can see my belly button again.
Eventually, this winter will end and everyone else will be riding fast again. If I lose the weight now, maybe I can keep up. Maybe I can even lose enough weight that I can enjoy some Easter candy.
And that's how the circle will begin anew.