It’s pre-dawn and I’m up. It’s 5am. All right now, go ahead, you’re entitled to ask, why would anybody get up at 5am? Ultimately, you have to answer that for yourself, but I’ll tell you why I’m up at 5am. I’m keeping a commitment to myself. I promised myself I’d ride my bike at least twice a week and I will do it, period. My goal is 100 miles. I’m working up to it.
The morning air is delightfully refreshing. The pre-sunrise chill is intoxicating. I savor it, because I know it is fleeting. It will be hot when the Sun comes up. At 5:30am I’m on the bike and trying to remember how the legs work in order to make those pedals go round. I’m on my way.
When I first started riding, I rode around the Palm Desert Civic Center Park because it’s so perfect and beautiful and once around is about a mile and that’s about as far as I could go. Eventually I worked my way up to five times around and decided it was now time to leave the park and head out to further distances and faraway lands.
I begin by heading East along Fred Waring Drive on the North side of the street. Just East of San Pascual you come to a stunning silver sculpture called “Agave”. It is a giant shiny metal Agave plant. I continue east all the way to Cook Street where I then turn south and ride up to Highway 111. I ride on the South side of the Highway because that’s where the best sidewalk is, cycling East again all the way to Washington Street where I turn South.
Now I am getting a bit tired. I know I will soon turn around to head home, but I want to go just a bit further than I did last time, so I continue. I ride the sidewalk on the East side of Washington all the way down to Sagebrush. I’m ready to turn around.
Sometimes I take a pit stop at Walgreen’s or Trader Joe’s or Jensen’s or Starbuck’s to refresh. Several times along the way I stop for a B.R.B. (butt revitalization break), and also to hydrate. Proper hydration is very important when cycling long distances.
Proper hydration is always important no matter what you’re doing.
I’ve turned around now and am heading back. I notice again all the wonderful things I noticed on the out leg, except this time I notice them even more because I’m going slower.
There are the swallows at the Highway 111 Bridge over the wash. And somebody has planted corn, now twelve feet tall, just inside a wall of a gated country club. There are often bunnies enjoying their breakfast of early morning dew covered grass. The aroma of honeysuckle and jasmine are also along the route. In spring, the trees are awash with flowers and color and heavenly scent.
All these distractions help me continue and forget I’m hurting. I know I’m more than half way home now and the thought of a cold shower comforts my mind and aching body. The hardest part of it all is waiting for the walk signals, however I take the opportunities to learn patience.
At last I turn onto my street. I’ve gotten a second wind and don’t want to slide into the driveway quite yet. I’m pretty sure I’ve enough energy left to take a tour around my block and see how the plants are doing in my front yard. I’m unwinding and breathing deep.
I know when I get off the bike and sit down in the easy chair; I’ll be down and out for at least an hour. I call it meditation. Some call it a nap. I rejoice in the shower that I’ve done seventeen miles today. Next time I’ll do eighteen or perhaps even nineteen. And eventually I’ll reach my goal of one hundred miles.
I encourage everybody to get out there and exercise. It doesn’t have to be at dawn. It doesn’t have to be seventeen miles. Of course, consult your Doctor first, but get out there and exercise if you can. You’ll feel so much better, especially when it’s all over.