A night without sleep is a day added to your life.
I got a new bike last month. Really, it’s a new back-up bike. A Pivot 429SL. It seems as if, between the two of us, there is always a bike in the shop for something. And since we both ride a medium, we have the luxury of sharing a back-up.
But - I keep shifting the darned thing down when I want to shift up. And vice versa.
It is frustrating that my subconscious brain insists on doing what my rational mind knows is simply a matter of clicking the opposite direction from what I am used to on the Cannondale.
"I can switch it so that so that both bikes are the same," volunteers the always helpful Popeye.
No doubt he thought I was just being stubborn when I said "No, thank you. My brain needs the exercise."
It's a small thing, I know, but I want my befuddled brain to adapt. Without practice, that which is difficult remains difficult.
(And wicked frustrating.)
It is 1:50 AM. The alarm won't go off for ten more minutes, but I am wide awake.
My bike shorts and jersey are ready to go on the chair beside the bed. You know it's early when your toothbrush is still wet from the night before.
In the kitchen I hit the button on the coffeemaker. No need for breakfast. It feels as if dinner was only a minute ago.
I've always been a good sleeper. Sleep-when-you-can was an essential skill back in the day, living on sailboats and merchant ships. On the ship we called it "sleeping fast", the ability to grab sleep anywhere. Any time there was an opportunity.
Sleeping fast was a skill appreciated best as a flight attendant, though. Grabbing sleep for an hour, or a minute, eventually became easy stuff. Even on a hard plastic chair in the chaos of Concourse C.
It's been a long time since ATL, and a long time since I've been out of my comfort zone on sleep. My current life is one of ease, in a house that never drags anchor, or lands in an unscheduled stop far from home. This subconscious brain of mine cherishes good sleep, and takes good care of me. I wind down at ten and wake up at six. Day after day. No questions asked. No effort required.
But a week or two ago, some comments on the Singletrack Samurai facebook page raved about middle-of-the-night training. And, just like a surprise jolt from shifting the bike in the wrong direction, suddenly here was a new challenge.
Karlos A Rodriguez Bernart - in Alexandar Springs - June 25 at 6:53PM
When I'm prepping for a huge challenge it's important to ride at odd times.. we left the shop at 445 expecting to battle the heat.. instead...the weather was cool and downright chilly.. the forest teeming with wildlife and sounds.. it was a magical voyage
Bryan* I was totally expecting a lot of suck but that was one of the funnest and most enjoyable rides I've had in a long time!
Chad* I love rolling out around 2:00am. On my 200+ rides.
Vicky* Sounds like a blast to me! Wonder if I could get anyone to do this here? (Midnight hash? Scott*? Kevin*?)
Kevin* Let me know when and where.
Thank you, Karlos. Some day you should meet Master Chung.
And thank you, Kevin, for the perfect response.
Popeye sees the benefits immediately. "That would be cool!" I can't be sure, but I don't think he means the night-time temperature difference.
In a group email, I try to talk it up.
It will be cool - literally! No traffic! No sunscreen! I borrow the words of my co-hare, Cross: "It Will Be Glorious!"
And guess what. It was all those things.
3am. We roll out, five riders, each sporting lumens enough to outshine any car on the road. But - there aren't any cars on the road.
Our tail lights blink red in a string up the bridge. No one at all goes by on the Pineda. A single, white pick-up passes on the five mile dash down Tropical Trail to Mathers Bridge. Cars are zero to scarce for the entire first half of the ride.
We cross the causeway, bomb the alleys, and cross US 1, not a car in sight. We cruise the trails in Wickham Park, then ride on to Lake Washington.
At the lake, with 23 miles under our wheels, we stop to change out spent lights for spares, and have a snack at the end of the dark wooden pier. I drop my unwrapped Larabar on the deck. The guys are amazed when I automatically pick it up and throw it overboard with no regard for the five second rule.
Hmm. Perhaps another challenge for my subconscious brain? Then again - nah. This time my brain knows exactly what it's doing. I've seen that deck in the daytime.
I try for a group selfie. Another skill I find challenging for lack of practice.
At 5 or so, we ride back the way we came, heading east in the dark.
In one of the alleys in Eau Gallie, I either hit something, or something has come off my bike. What feels like a slim metal rod hits my calf and falls away to the ground.
The Cannondale misses a beat, the chain hitches up just for a second, then pedals smoothly. Then hitches up again. It will not pedal backward at all. John and Greg stop with me to look for a source of hang-up in the rear drive train. We see nothing. But there is definitely something wrong. Forward pedaling is not smooth, and getting to be more effort with each revolution.
Still not a lot, but definitely more cars now. And other bikes. And runners on the bridge. The world is waking up to it's Saturday. There is a hint of sunrise in the beachside sky.
The bike is getting worse and I am a little worried I might damage it if I keep riding it like it is. Popeye trades bikes with me and takes on the extra resistance of pedaling the last few miles toward home. I am disappointed we won't get to cap off the ride with sunrise at the beach, but no one else seems to mind skipping the extra couple miles to take a direct route to the house.
The sun is full-up now. Breakfast is over. The guys have gone home to get on with their day. Popeye is wisely napping, but I am wide awake. The dishwasher is going, the bed is made, and I have fought the usual fight with blogspot to get this into a legible format. I only have to wait for 9 o'clock so I can call the bike shop.
I feel like I should be getting dressed to go for my usual 10AM ride. I actually feel like doing a 10AM ride. The Pivot, in the garage, is ready to go. I have to remind myself I've already had my fun for today, to keep typing instead.
Once again, Master Chung is right. Like magic, I have added a day to my life.
At the pier on Lake Washington.
Greg, Popeye, Kevin, John, me.