“Dawn Patrol” is a term I picked up a few weeks ago on a surf trip to southern California. It is what my friends used to describe that time first thing in the morning when most people aren’t up yet and we go on “patrol” for good waves and small lineups. It looked a little something like this:
Unfortunately, dawn patrol takes on a little different meaning here in the desert. As I type this, the mercury is creeping past 110 degrees. In the summer, if you aren’t clipped in before the sun comes up, it’s nearly impossible to get a ride in of any real length. Big Jonny touched on this the other day from the road bike perspective. He hit the nail right on the head, but today I was in the dirt. For most people, in most places, sunrise evokes happiness and humming of corny Beatle’s songs. Today there was no poetry, it was just a plain old race against the Angel of Death that we call the sun.
I try to put in my work and get up the hill before the fire ball peeks too high over the horizon. I post up in the shade of a big boulder and try to cool down before my descent. Just then a breeze picks up, and it cools me down instantly as the sweat evaporates from my shirt. Its time to go. With perfect morning light and strangely empty trails I turn off my brain and enjoy the ride. I drop in and the wind generated from my speed cools me down even more. It makes me push it a little faster. I cruise through the one little technical section fast and smooth and smile knowing that it is pure speed from here on out. I take a left at the fork in the trail and climb up the last little rise. I shift it into the 11 tooth in the back and wrap all my fingers around the bars. There will be no brakes for a little while. I feel like I’m giving a couple middle fingers to the sun as I come to a stop at the bottom. I win.
I realize its still pretty early so I turn around and ride back up to grab some pictures:
Do what you gotta do to get that ride in…and always keep it dirty.by