Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer schedule

It's 89 degrees in my house. My pants are damp in conspicuous regions from sweat, my kitchen is infested with fruit flies, and the stagnant air in my bedroom does little to dissipate the odors wafting from my darling canines. Summer, like most everything else, is easy for me to hate.

But it's not all bad, because coinciding with the unyielding rise in temperature is the generous increase in daylight hours, and thus an increase in choices for exactly when to go out for a ride. Basically there are four temporal choices which a road ride may occur; early morning, mid-morning, mid-day, and late afternoon/early evening. All have benefits and consequences, some of which I shall enlighten you of now.

The early morning ride.

This ride leaves at 6:00AM, 6:30AM, or 7:00 AM, or some other square and unholy hour, at a spot three miles from your house. And notice I said leaves at, not meets at. Morning riders are antsy- they have things to do during the day, and this little ride is just one of them. Usually that thing that people have to do is go to work, and people with jobs are responsible types that get irritated when you show up late balancing a half-chewed bagel and coffee on your handlebars, so don't bother dawdling. They are especially irate when you bail. Don't bail on these people, or they will stop answering your "u riding tomrw?" text messages altogether.

Pros: Punctual, ride before the heat sets in, ride gets home early, ride leaves before most bozos wake up, feel accomplished for rest of day

Cons: You'd rather be sleeping, everyone is uptight, morning drivers haven't had their coffee yet.

The mid-morning ride.

This ride leaves at nine or ten o'clock. If this ride is on a weekend, the turnout might me huge. No matter if you're riding alone or with a group, you are never without company. This is the time of day when most people ride, as they have had their 8 hours of beauty sleep followed by a restful slow morning that probably included reading the paper, eating fiber cereal, evacuating bowels, and meditated to the crackling sounds of self-satisfaction. On these rides people are awake and genial and eager to race you up a hill, whether they know you or not, and whether your like it or not.

Pros: Get to sleep in, legs feel better, morning humidity dissipates, everyone's not in a hurry.

Cons: Must navigate every basketball-short-and-iPod-wearing bike rider before getting out of town, must navigate weekend-warriors though suburbs.

The Mid-Day ride.

This ride can be similar to the mid-morning one, but with fewer organized rides leaving so late. The humidity is lower but the sun is beating down at highest intensity, so this ride is optimal for getting that pro-looking cycling jersey bicep tan line.

Pros: Fewer people on road, if you're on this ride you probably didn't have to work that day, can make it home with plenty of time to shower before dinner.

Cons: Other people have jobs and so rounding up riding partners may prove difficult, asphalt is radiating heat, painful mid-ride realization that most tan lines start off as sunburns

The later afternoon/early evening ride.

This ride leaves at five or six o'clock PM, usually after work time. It's a nice way to unwind after an especially stupid day pushing buttons, answering questions, and fending off various forms of attempted idiocy (work). This ride is great! You meet up with your group of friends or cycling buddies, loop through the park for an hour or two, and go home stoked. Pay no mind that you haven't eaten since noon and your hands are shaking from hypoglycemia, or that it's rush hour in a major metropolitan city where they give out road rage with license renewals. The man just took eight hours from you, those last few belong solely to you!

Pros: Get a ride in before dark, stress relief after work, sleep better at night

Cons: Automobile traffic rush hour, low blood sugar, little energy to shower before dinner thus incurring wrath of loved-one who just prepared a delicious meal for the two of you and wants nothing more than to hear about your day without smelling sweat and soggy chamios...

I have to hit the hay early tonight, I've got an early ride tomorrow morning.

Happy riding.