Sunrise solitude

I'm not sure why - I've always preferred to do my runs in the morning and riding in the afternoon. I've never minded running in the dark and it seems easiest to bundle up to run then ride. So that's what I do - run early and hope for best come afternoon. Usually it all works out and I have no issues getting my training done. But I've also realized that I need to ride more in the dark to maintain the edge night riding provides. I need to learn to hit my workout numbers without focusing on the data while riding. Night riding forces that because of the darkness. I can't look at my watch and the trail at the same time. There's also the few times I've gotten caught not trusting the weather man that a storm really is blowing in and been relegated to the trainer. Well, I'm not gonna let that happen again. If it's nice in the morning, I'm going start taking advantage of that. I'm already getting up early to run - the ride will just take a little longer.

I did exactly that yesterday. Watching the weather on Monday, I debated riding in the afternoon - it didn't sound like the storm was going to be that bad. When I got up yesterday, I almost ran. But I stuck to my word and got everything organized to hit the singletrack. It was still pitch black when I left, a faint glow to the east indicating the coming of the sun. Venus was brilliant in the sky but the only light came from my own lights. It was surprisingly warm - I took the back way into Stratton to avoid the cars. I was the only person on the trail, but far from the only thing stirring. I saw the eyes of coyotes behind the Post Office and heard them yipping. Under the tunnel near CMHS into a nearly empty parking lot. Even the teachers weren't at school yet! Once I got into Stratton proper, the sun was peeking up, illuminating the clouds. Since I had to stop and take my jacket off, I took a few pictures, both of the sunrise and the company on the trail. 
Sunrise from Stratton 

This one's a little fuzzy - pushing the limits of my camera - but sunrise and the deer made for a good picture in my mind

Deer just strolling down the trail, wondering what I'm doing 

Then it was time to work. Still dark enough for lights, but just. Settle into cadence, focus in the trail, breath. No one around but me, the only sounds my breathing and the crunch of gravel beneath my tires. Keep pedaling, stay smooth and controlled. Plenty of things to think about besides my workout, but now is the time to stay focused. I'm still struggling with cadence - Coach Adam won't like that part of the workout. But everything else feels good - a kick in the pants after some fun weeks goofing off and recovering. Off the Chutes, up onto Gold Camp. Accelerate thru the top of the hill and keep pushing the pace. Another thing to keep working on. Then I'm done. Time for recovery. Another treat for riding this early. No one is on Gold Camp yet. I have the road to myself for the next set. This time, there is no need for lights. In fact, the sunlight has backlit the first tunnel. A window of sun splashed trees and rocks behind the darkness of the tunnel. There is still ice in the puddles along the road - but it's still warmer now then it will be later.  I retrace my tire tracks to Columbine - time to play before returning home. 

I read the weather right this time. The clouds peeping over the mountains when I finished riding kept building all day. Snow flurries moved in, driven by gusting, freezing wind. I still had to face the snow for my run. But the morning ride made up for it. 

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