This morning, before 8 am, I went for a 34-mile bike ride. This ride would probably not even be challenging for most, but I'm a wimp, and it was early. However, rather than dwell on how cold it was, and how tired I was (and how tired I'm going to be this afternoon if I don't get some caffeine down me soon), I'd like to list of the top 5 reasons for getting up before dawn and going on a ride. (I was going to do the top ten, but I really couldn't think of that many.)
5. Crisp morning air.
This morning, it was particularly crisp at 35 degrees, but even in the summer, mornings seem clearer. Perhaps this aids in clearing my groggy, early-morning thoughts. There's something about getting your blood pumping and your lungs working that early in the morning. It gives me a better outlook on life.
4. Sets up the day to become a great day.
When I get to work, often things don't go well. Quite often, in fact. On days when I get up early to ride (and I should mention that if I'm going to ride before work, I have to start out in the dark to give me enough time to make it to work), it doesn't matter if work goes poorly because my day has already been great. It has already been a success.
3. Feeling of superiority over those still asleep.
Well, this one really was iffy. I mean, I feel that way sometimes when I ride, and it makes the tough times (cold, wet, tired) easier to bear, but it usually isn't reason enough to get up in the morning. (Those who don't get up usually site sanity as the main counter-point to this one.)
2. Fewer cars on the road.
This doesn't apply so much for off-road, but it is a huge deal for road riding, so I included it at number 2. Accidents on road-bikes generally happen due to cars and bikes trying to share the same space--sometimes the exact same space. Fewer cars = I feel safer and can enjoy the other points mentioned here.
1. Beautiful alpenglow/sunrise.
Honestly, when I am out alone, with no cars around and the sun starts to rise above the mountains (and just before that, when the sky is getting light and the mountains are silhouetted against it) makes any cold air or tired muscles disappear. Today in particular, was incredible. Over the weekend, Mt. Timpanogos has been dusted with snow down to about 8000'. As the sun was rising and caught that snow, highlighting it orange and pink, it was amazing. Though tired at the end of the ride, I would have done it all over again if I could have seen that sunrise over Mt. Timp. again.