William Shakespeare single-handedly stressed out humanity for the last 418 years with this simple phrase from his play, Julius Caesar: "Beware the ides of March." But why should the Soothsayer's wise foreshadowing of the great Roman Emperor's demise in the play concern us?
In the year 46 B.C., on March 15th, Julius Caesar was assassinated. That is a good reason for Julius Caesar to be wary. But why should we feel threatened by March 15th every year? The ides were once a happier time, and we think we should embrace those times, rather than dwell on the murder of Dictator Perpetuus.
During the late Roman Republic, a New Years festival not unlike our modern day celebrations was held on the Ides of March down by the Tiber River, roughly a mile from Rome. In the Roman calendar, the year had only ten months - 355 days - beginning with March. The ides marked the first full moon of the new year. Revelers celebrated with food, wine, and dancing. They also offered sacrifices to the Roman goddess Anna Perenna, for happiness and prosperity in the coming year.
Every year about this time in the Northeast we start to yearn for the longer, warmer days. Some winters last longer than others, but right about the middle of March, regardless, is when we begin our outside riding in earnest. We have grown tired of layering up for outside deep winter rides and have used up all of our patience and Netflix on the rollers. We truly wish for a ride outside where just bib shorts, a short sleeve jersey, leg warmers, arm warmers and a vest will suffice. We choose to celebrate the ides rather than fear them. Daylight saving time has just begun, the Spring Classics are just around the corner, and some of our favorite rides, like Diverged and Digression, are quickly approaching.
As we type, the East Coast is getting a late winter storm; we are predicted to get a 19 inch dusting of snow. It better be gone by tomorrow. . . we've got some outside riding to do. Et tu, Rider?