Get up and do it.
After a late night text (i.e. 6pm) from Lowetz, I was quite suddenly signed up via verbal contract to ride at 4.45am this Monday to accompany the Boss on his favorite loop around Torch Lake. With the shop opening at 10, and tardy slips from Corporate if we showed up after 940, we had about 5 hours to sneak in 90 miles before the work day.
If you've ever woken up at 3:50am, it's really sort of like taking a light nap. Planning is key. I made a point of having my backpack ready, complete with food, clothes, and underwear, because you need them at work. The bag was waiting by the door, with three water bottles, a PopTart and an Erg! bar stacked neatly next to it.
If you aren't great at getting up early, here's my tip: put your spandex on right away. Don't put on normal person pants. Don't wear slippers. The second you get up, get into your bibs, throw on your jersey and pick out a pair of socks and get out of your room. It's too easy to be late, slow or back asleep if you're wearing your favorite pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pajamas. Get up and get to business.
I rolled out the door and made it to the shop before 4.45, so I had a relaxing ride there. I'd forgotten how dark 4am is. It's dark out there. And to think, only 50, 60 years ago there would have been no stop lights, no street lights, no headlights. Just a thick and overbearing darkness. I don't know if I would mind it.
We rolled from the shop around 4.50, a classy sort of late that comes with checking tire pressure, grabbing snacks and starting Lowetz's new Garmin 1000.
At 23mph (Lowetz needed to warm up) we made it to Elk Rapids as the sun came up and we were able to turn off our head and tail lights. It was still only six in the morning, and there were just a handful of cars out. The town itself was dark, with the main drag through downtown boasting only a sidewalk sweeper parked with its lights on and waving us through.
The rest of the ride found its rhythm. A few minutes on the front, riding a nice tempo, then drift back and grab a drink and watch Lowetz pound out at 220 Watts for a few minutes. The views were worth the effort, with the orchards coming into blossom and everything finally turning green after a long and grey winter.
We took a quick stop in Alden. The Higgins Store, I should mention, does a delicious homemade muffin and 12 oz. coffee for just $2.11. And that muffin was a bargain at twice the price. It was a short stop, but enough to make the next few minutes starting off again a bit chilly. The elevation on the south end of Torch, which isn't much, helped to get the legs warmed back up, and by the time we were back to Elk Rapids, the arm warmers were off. The streets were starting to fill up, and about time on such a nice morning. It was 8am and walkers, runners and families hanging out. We even got a hearty wave from some old boys sitting outside Java Jones, good encouragement before turning dead into the wind for the last ten miles.
I rolled into the shop at 9.20, with 89 miles in as a crew of other riders were just taking off for their roll. The biggest challenge was working after the ride, but we had a great crew of locals and visitors stop through to make it fun.
We are planning on opening up our next 4.45am ride to everyone...so don't worry about missing this one.
Here's the Strava from the ride. Join us next time!