Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Early Bird

Today I rolled out the door at the ridiculously early time of 4:30 a.m. This was the earliest I had ever started my commute to work.

If you have even been up at 4:30, you may have noticed that big fiery ball is missing from the sky. It's dark. Really dark. This is especially true in my town where the invention of the streetlight has yet to hit the newspapers. I have a good light, though, and the streets are completely empty at that hour, so who needs streetlights.

That's El Dorado Hills down there where they have electricity and lights.
In previous years I always tried to time it so that I hit the dirt portion of the route as the sun was coming up. However, this strategy always made me a little late for work—a practice frowned upon by management everywhere—so today I left earlier.
The first stretch of dirt was the two-mile gravel road through Serrano, which wasn't tough to negotiate as long as I avoided the rabbits and hares that scurried everywhere. It started to rain a bit, but not enough to matter.
After that I hit the New York Creek singletrack, which is tight, rocky and rough. My speed dipped considerably here because I am not the greatest night rider. This fact became quite apparent during 24-hour races where my teammates were turning night laps only slightly slower than their day laps while mine were significantly slower. Maybe I didn't eat enough carrots as a kid.
The next trail was even rougher, with a number of steep, rocky dropoffs made slick from the increasing rain. I rode cautiously through here, and my speed suffered even more.

About halfway through the Brown's Ravine trail the sky began to lighten, which was welcomed relief. My speed picked up immediately.

Shortly after exiting the last of the dirt, I was on the bike trail. There isn't a whole lot of excitement there, but it continues my car-free route for another 18 miles.

I did see this guy strutting his stuff. The colors would have been much more vivid had the sun been up.

It took me 2:45 to ride the 39 miles. Kind of slow. Next time I would like to shave 15 minutes off that time so I hit the showers closer to 7:00.


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