Dawn Patrol

Guess what! It's summer and that means it's hot. Really hot. Okay, not Arizona hot and we don't have the humidity of the east coast or south. But still, hot is relative and when it's 90 before noon, you know it's going to be a long day. How to manage getting workouts and long rides done with that kind of heat? My personal favorite is dawn patrol - getting up early and getting out there before the sunrise, in the cool temperatures of the morning. Granted, that's something all runners know about and usually do - especially the people running before running of to work. It's easy with running though - not much more then an hour gets you a solid workout and a few good miles. I think nothing of getting my run started before the sun after doing it for years. Before school, then before work. I always ran in the morning. Got it done, and then had the rest of the day for the rest of the things I needed to do without stressing about when I was going to run.

Sunrise from the Chamberlin extension in Stratton Open Space
Cycling seems to be a little different. It's more involved getting out early - or so it seems. Between funny clothes, getting either a pack or two water bottles, checking air pressure on tires and suspension... So much to do before actually starting the ride. The workouts are usually longer, even when kept short and sweet, so even in the dead of summer lights are usually required. For the past few years, I've shied away from the dawn patrol rides. Just haven't been motivated to get out for a hard ride before the sun comes up. I tried to avoid scheduling bike workouts on days I was working so I didn't have to deal all of the "hassles" of a pre-work workout.

On my way through Bear Creek Park to start my workout.
This year hasn't quite worked out that way. There's been a days where I needed to ride hard on a work day so I could spread things out a little more. Given how hot it's been lately, that means one thing. Dawn Patrol. I'm not going to try to ride when it's 90 degrees after work - that's asking for a crappy workout that will take far too long to recover from. If I want quality and I want a good day on the bike, I'll have to do it in the morning. I think its the change from running that makes it that much more exciting. It's something different - the trails are quiet with more rabbits then people and there are no cars on the roads yet. The sun is rising as I'm starting my intervals right now - and soon it will still be dark for the first few intervals. And I'm finishing just as it starts getting warm instead of heading out in to the furnace that is building. I can't say I'm that motivated to do all my cycling workouts in the early morning hours, but I need to consider it seriously. There's only a few more weeks left of hard training - might as well take advantage of the cooler and quieter early morning hours.

Sunrise from the Bear Creek Park Mountain bike trails

Lights on in Stratton!

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