Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunrise Serenade

I'm not sure what kind of nut gets up at 5 a.m. to go ride 26.1 miles in the dark, but whatever kind of nut that is, I'm one. This shot is from about 5:30, as the bicycles mass at the start line. Ride started at 6 a.m., pretty much on the nose.

What it looks like to ride up the highway in the dark. Route was very pleasant, and the temperature was surprisingly mild. My street looked as if it had rained earlier, but there was no sign of precipitation on the ride.

Looking down from the overpass in the previous picture, after riding a few more miles. Obviously still plenty more riders coming behind me. (Note that they're going in two directions here; there's a U-turn just a little bit ahead.) This is within the first 5 miles of the ride; even by the time I got to Mile 23, I could still see a lot of riders coming along around Mile 10. I got lucky and started near the front, so I could go full speed almost from the start. Folks who start back in the pack may have had to crawl along for the first few miles, although here you see the pack pretty spread out.

Right up near the end. I finished in about 93 minutes, which means I averaged nearly 17 miles an hour, or about 3.5 minutes per mile. Not too sluggish for an old guy who hasn't been training particularly hard. Plenty of people passed me along the way. That time includes the one camera stop I made.

As you ride past the refreshment stands being set up along the roadside for the runners who will take the same route later today, the folks by the side of the road cheer you on and applaud--some more, some less. I like to wave back.

As I went past one of them, early in the race, I heard a girl call out, "Finally! A normal person riding!" What she meant was that I was in T-shirt and shorts, not a high-tech jersey and Lycra contour riding leggings, and I was on a pretty ordinary bike, not some high-tech space-age sculpture. What I thought when I heard it was "Yeah, if you call a guy who rides up the highway in the dark normal, sure, it's a normal person on this bike."

I really enjoyed this ride. It started too early, but it was over fast, and the route was mostly a good one. (Being so close to the beach, it was almost completely flat; there was a little wind, but not so you'd really complain.) The best part was how close it was to my front door. It took me about 10 minutes to get there on my bike, and a half-hour after I crossed the finish line, I was sitting in my kitchen again, sipping fresh espresso I'd just made and nibbling on the last of the cookies I baked last night. Looks like the rest of the day will be overcast; I can sit inside and enjoy the ambience of a fine fall day. All that's missing is a crackling fire.

1 comment:

Andrew Shields said...

That espresso sounds good. Can you make me one? A.