the self-scrutinizing question: why do I have to get up so early and go ride? why do I want to be out there first, before everyone else?
why do I have this push to get up there so early, why do I get a little rush from being the first one to the summit? why do I feel somewhat deflated when others are ahead of me, when others pass me, when others are out and about before me?
I've put some thought into this, and I think I have it figured out.
I don't enjoy how tired I get in the evening, nor my need for an early bedtime, nor the terrible process of waking up at 5:15 in the morning.
but absolutely nothing compares to the complete joy I experience up there in the canyon, early and alone. it's not as much about being first as it is about the solitude before everyone else gets there.
I love the late fall and early spring, when the mornings are dark and cold, because there are so very few of us out there. this time of year I can't even count how many other cyclists are heading up the hill or cresting the summit during my journey around and back down.
this morning I was early, and I hit the summit at 6:27, just as the sun was peeking over the eastern hills. no one raced ahead of me on the way up, and the only other person (other than those in cars) I saw during the last 5 miles uphill was a woman out walking.
I love this.
I love riding when the world is sleepy and relatively quiet, when it's just me and all of those birds and chipmunks and insects and other critters. I smile at them, but don't feel a need to wave.
I sacrifice certain things in my life to be able to do these early morning rides: late evenings with friends, jay leno and dave letterman and even the 10 o'clock news. I often go to bed before my kids do.
but as I called out to the canyon this morning on my way down,
it is so very worth it.