Into the light

Runners are expected to hit the road early - before work and in the darkness. Other runners wave, say hellos and continue along their way. I've been a long time member of the group, always relishing the quiet of the predawn darkness. Very few cars on the road, empty trails save for other early risers. It's a clan, the early morning crowd. Throw in two wheels and things are completely different. The waves are more in astonishment then hello "she's out riding a bike at this hour? Is she nuts?" Yes, I'm out riding, no I'm not nuts (did you see the lights I have? I can see what I'm doing better then you!)

For the second week in a row, I was up before dawn for my ride. Not to beat the weather this time, but to cluster the workload on the bike. Colder this morning, so I had to add a few extra layers for the warm up. Just a quiet as last week as I pedaled into Stratton under my lights. That first section is always dark, but light was coming. A waning but still near full moon hung heavy in this sky, adding to the faint glow from the east horizon. No company of coyotes or deer this time. Just the solitude of empty trails. A few runners as I neared the main parking lot to start my workout - all of them giving me the same "is she nuts?" look. And that's what got me thinking - why is it okay for runners to be up so early, but not a cyclist? We are both still trying to get the work done before our day jobs. I guess it is unusual to see though - I know I wouldn't have dreamed of doing early morning bike workouts until this year.
Cheyenne Canon from Columbine

But I might just continue them. Twice up the Chutes and not a soul coming down. Much nicer then yesterday where part of my workout was staying out of the way! Gold Camp Road was equally as quiet - no cars kicking up dust or driving like maniacs. Quiet and safe for riding hard, unlike the afternoon insanity that is Gold Camp Road. And even better - after I finished my workout, the day was just starting. I had plenty of time to play on the singletrack without anyone around. There's more then going fast in a straight line for mountain biking and I love finishing up a ride with a good play session. I opted for Columbine all the way down this time, working on my comfort in the loose gravel and tight corners. I'm still slow in the kitty litter, but the switchbacks are much smoother then even last year. Back into Stratton for the final jaunt home, with a smile on my face. Greeting the day with miles of singletrack. It really can't get much better then that!
Moon and mountains - what more could I want?

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