My plan was to ride early. If I’m to get out on the bike, that is the only time it’s going to work. It’s hot as all hell in Phoenix this time of year, so most of the daylight hours are a bust. My daughters have a swim lesion at 8:30 am, and we have to be on the road by 8:00 am to make it. So, early it is.
I set the alarm for 4:30, thinking I’d ride about 5 or so, as I had done the week prior. Something woke me up around 2:30. The house wasn’t on fire and the kids were asleep. Went to the bathroom and drank a glass of water. Tossed and turned until 3:30 when I said fuck it. Got up, turned off the alarm and picked up my kit off the floor.
Downstairs in the kitchen for coffee and a glass of chocolate milk. Fill up the bottles with water and get the remains of my eldest daughter’s peanut butter sandwich out of the fridge. Put the blinking taillight on, sunglasses hung off the back of my collar, cell phone in a plastic sandwich bag.
I head south. It’s dark. I don’t see anyone for a while. I meet two guys crossing opposite myself at an intersection, each wearing the same jersey. We trade good mornings. Later, a solo comes by, a short wave and I’m on my way.
The legs felt good. Probably just a tailwind. The hills came and went, some felt good. Surprisingly good. The second to last one, straight into the wind that comes with the sunrise. Brutal. Howling. Low gear, really suffering. Shelter from the wind on the second kick, felt a lot better. I blame it on the wind. And why not, the wind deserves it. Bastard.
Ride back up north. Sun up. Sky from warm to pink to white to blue. Gorgeous. More riders out now, groups of fours and fives. I’m blown. Helmet off, hand through sweat laden hair, jersey unzipped. Still warm, cooler than when I started. Man, that felt good. It’s all roads I’ve pedaled many times before. The hills don’t change. It is I that has changed.by