I am not a big fan of waking up. To illustrate my lack of unexcitedness about waking up in general, I would like to provide to you the following list of things about which I am not excited, stack-ranked (with most unexcitedness at the top) to give you some context:
- My receding hairline
- The letter “C”
- Waking Up
- Flat stages in the Tour de France
Ordinarily, I should point out, “Flat Stages in the Tour de France” would be much higher (i.e., providing even more unexcitedness) in this list, but so far, the carnage in these stages (haven’t watched today’s stage yet so don’t give it away) has made them much less unexciting than usual.
(Note to self: write a post about how conflicted I feel about the fact that I scan through flat stages of the TdF at 4x speed, but stop and rewind for crashes.)
And in short, I don’t much like waking up.
But this time of year, I gladly set my alarm for 5:00 AM. And while I don’t like — and will probably never like — the moment of waking up, it’s totally worth it.
Because this time of year, early mornings rule.
Getting Away With Something
More than ten years ago, as Dug and I were first discovering night riding, we stood at the top of a climb that overlooked the lights in Utah County. “Look at all those chumps, watching TV. Eating. Sleeping. Whatever-ing,” said Dug. “They don’t know what they’re missing.”
“It’s like we’ve found a huge chunk of time in the day we never knew existed before,” I replied. “Like we’ve found out that the day actually has 28 hours if you buy the right clock.”
“It’s like we’re getting away with something,” Dug concluded.
We were so freaking deep. But we were also right. And, as it turns out, the same applies to the early morning, as well. If you’re willing to do with a little less sleep, a little less grooming, and can make yourself feel OK about telling your little twin princesses that from now on they’re in charge of their own breakfast, you suddenly have a big chunk of time that nobody else has.
So there’s the “more time factor.” Fine. But around here — and in some places, probably year round — that’s only the tiniest benefit.
What I love the very most about riding in the morning is the temperature. Through the simple act of setting my alarm clock, I am able to take a daily vacation from the heat of the day. There’s something fantastic about feeling cool — maybe even a little bit cold — when you’re outside exercising on a day that’s going to have a high of 101 fahrenheit (or, for those of you who prefer metric measurements, 255.37 kelvin).
In fact, I’d go so far as to say it makes you feel a little bit like a genius. With just a dash of smugly superior.
Plus, when you’re not miserably hot, rides are just better. Here’s The Runner yesterday — we rode up Grove Canyon to the top of Timpooneke, then to the Ridge Trail and down Tibble Fork — about three hours and 4500 feet of climbing into the ride:
I should point out that — judging from the rate of evaporation from my brow — it’s about 9:40 AM and 68 degrees f (293.15 kelvin) outside when this picture was taken. In the middle of the day, it doesn’t matter how beautiful a ride is — you’re just thinking about how brutally hot it is outside, and how soon you can get near an air conditioning vent.
If you start out early, on the other hand, you’re a little more prone to notice that you are, in fact, riding singletrack across a mountain meadow, with aspen trees in the background. On an epic mountain bike ride you started from your house, no less.
Maybe the most awesome side-benefit of the early morning ride, though, is how it leaves you feeling for the rest of the day. If I get a ride in before the day gets started, I’m calm, friendly, and happy. I can deal with everything and anything.
If, on the other hand, I don’t get a ride in, I’m…um…less calm, friendly, and happy. And while I can still generally deal with everything, my methods of dealing are perhaps less…calm, friendly and happy.
Unless you consider sarcastic remarks calm, friendly, and happy, that is.
Of course, this is an easy post to write this time of the year. It’s light, even at 5:00 AM, and that makes it, apart from the moment of disorientation and resentment upon first awakening, easy to wake up.
Stay tuned for my post in a few months, however, which I am tentitively titling, “5:00 AM Sucks. Bad.”