The alarm on your phone vibrates as another week begins. You have it set to vibrate as you don’t want to wake the entire household at a time of the morning that many would still consider night. You drag yourself out of bed and stumble to the bathroom. The small shaving light over the sink gives off a subtle illumination of your reflected self. You notice that your cheeks look slightly drawn and inwardly smile to yourself. This is a sign that you are getting lean and all of the hard training is beginning to pay off. You drag on your cycling gear that has been laid out since the night before as silently as possible in the semi darkness.
Downstairs you try not to wake the dog whilst you grab a glass of water as silently as you can. Coffee is out of the question as the rumble of the Nespresso machine would surely wake the mutt and his barking would then wake the rest of the family. Slowly, you open the back door and go get your bike. The side gate creaks as you open it and you remind yourself to spray some WD40 on it later in the day. This is not the first time that you have deposited this reminder in your mind.
One leg is thrown over the saddle as you push yourself off. The street lights are all aglow as they reflect the misty sheen from your neighbours cars all resting quietly in their driveways. A late night Taxi driver on the way home passes off as you enter the main road. He gives a cursory glance as if to say ‘Are you mad going out on a bicycle at this hour of the night ?’. To you this is morning. A heavy workload followed by the demands of family life in the evening mean that this is the only time that you will get to train. This is your time.
The silence of the road at this time of the morning is only known to those who have experienced it. As the sky above turns from black to grey to orange and then eventually to blue you begin to hear the birds awaken from their nights slumber. They have no phones or watches to tell the time. Theirs is natures clock and you consider if you too are within this timezone. Then you remember that extra hour before bed spent surfing the net and your dream of being all at one with nature takes a knock.
The road up into the quiet hills is your chosen route on most of these early mornings. The air is clean and fresh and untouched by the emissions of the cars, vans and trucks that will pass this way later in the day. A deep breath of this pure mountain air clears both mind and body.
You stop at the top in order to put on a windproof gillet for the descent ahead and to take in all of the countryside that now spreads out beneath you. A river winds its way through green pastures and meadows. You have looked, but have never been able to get close enough to have a good look when down at road level. But from up here, from heights that a small plane could fly at, you have propelled your own body to a place that holiday makers from abroad pay thousands to visit.
There is a chill in the air as you begin your descent. A climb that meandered along a mountainside for over an hour can deposit you back down to the roundabout at the bottom in under ten minutes.
As you now head back towards home you pass early morning factory workers on their way to begin their day. They look sleepy and few are smiling as they listen to the morning headlines throughout the World. You are fresh and feel full of life. You wave at a few just to see if you get a reaction. They are driving on autopilot and few even notice. This is a good experiment that reminds you to be cautious on all roundabouts and during any interaction with other vehicles. The moto of always considering that the drivers do not see you and allowing for that is a good one, especially at this time of day.
You return home with two hours of saddle time behind you. Everyone else is now awakening as you clip clop into the kitchen, not really minding making noise now as it is time for the kids to get up and prepare for school.
A quick shower and you are dressed, rearing to go and full of energy. It was not easy to get out of bed at that early hour of the morning but it all seems worth the effort now.
Just like most things in life, going cycling can sometimes be difficult. Sacrifices have to be made and timetables altered. However, it is usually the most difficult efforts that provide the greatest rewards.