There is something very romantic about the idea of climbing a road high into the sky, even more so during the winter months. The image of a lone rider battling the gradient seems all the more vivid when placed in the solitary and barren landscape of a snowy mountain, their battle all the more admirable.

My dreams are based solely on watching videos of professionals on their winter reconnaissance missions, ascending high mountain passes as Director Sportifs shout encouragement from the following car. The grey of the tarmac contrasts the white all-surrounding blanket, the rider grimly yet fluidly presses on to the top, it all conjures up such perfect imagery of winter training, of hardship and of preparation.

Today I felt a part of this image for the longest that is possible in Essex, barely a handful of seconds. Immediately I felt a connection to something so quintessentially 'professional'. I placed myself into that role of the lone climber scouting out his arena for battle the following summer.

Altitude. Winter. Preparation. Reconnaissance. Neck warmers. Commitment. Neoprene. Professionalism. Grand tours. The Alps. Frozen bottles. Isolation. The Pyrenees. Snow. Visible breath. Ambition. Mental fortitude. Support. Desire. Mountains. Romance. Hard yards. Climbers.