Madder Red by Yeasayer has been my pump up song since senior year of high school, and is my alarm on race days, adventure days, and big ride days. After 5 years, I'm conditioned to get stoked, my heart starts pumping and my mind gets sharp when it comes on.
Its been paying off enormously recently, as I've started riding with a wildly awesome group of guys and girls on Sunday mornings that call themselves the Fat Cake Club. Why? Because whats a ride without pastries.
Fun people, scenic rides, fast paces, pastries and coffee. What more could you need? How about sleeping in? That's right, Fat Cake Club leaves the Golden Gate Bridge, a half hour ride from my house at 7:30. That means getting up around 6:00. on a weekend!
The last couple of weeks I've had parties I couldn't not attend thanks to the obligation of friendship, leading to long nights of partying and little sleep before these rides. But to squeeze both in pays off swimmingly.
There are times where cycling must be sacrificed for cycling, and vice versa. But its best to have both, to party hard at night, then ride harder the next day.
It all boils down to the wake up. Music is a powerful form of expression, and without my song that works for me I don't think it'd be possible. But it sets me up with the right attitude after too much drinking and too little sleep.
The battle is all about getting that first sip of coffee. Getting out of bed is the toughest, and commuting to being awake and riding isn't official until that aeropressed magical elixir touches my lips. Since its summertime, the first light already peaks through the kitchen window. The outdoors beckon.
Its inspiring to be moving so early. We were treated to the bay area's volatile weather patterns, spending the day weaving in and out of fog. SF may be foggy until noon, but by 8 we basked in the sun in its more remote neighbor Marin. An hour in we had left civilization completely, climbing up sun drenched hills, only to descend into Alpine Lake to see the fog piled on top of Mt. Tam.
We stopped there for a bite and a photo and I felt a tingling of excitement in my nerves. The party burning off, mixed with the contentedness of a good ride in the legs, fueled by the sun and the scenery stirred up a concoction of thrilling emotions that felt proper and inspiring. Why sleep in when it can be this good?
Climbing up BoFax we entered a mythical fog that felt like rain at the top. An enchanted forest where bicycles go to play seemed the scenery, tall redwoods shrouded in fog welcoming only those who come eagerly.
From there, Ridgecrest road was a delight as always. The season shows up on this Mt. Tam ridge more there than anywhere - the summer hues of yellow and brown despondent again the thick fog, the long road and gorgeous curves disappearing into an oblivion of thick fog.
We had to summit of course, and East Peak road broke right out of the fog. Its stunning to see it from above, an endless white blanket, seemingly unpenetrable. But above, the sun shines on those who search it, and the tingling excitement returned. Hills for thrills, views for miles, the workout of a lifetime, and all before 10:30.
We dropped down into Sausalito, a perfect descent void of cars. Its these moments where the bike and I can become one, hugging the turns, going faster and faster still. Fog turned to sun turned to fog again.
At the bottom, coffee and cookies for all, and a great group of friends to rejoice in the beauty of the day. Its not just an activity, its not just a workout, its a way of life.