5:00 am and the alarm is beeping. Swat it silent. Do math on night before. Kids wake during the night? How often? How long? How much better will my day be if this next hour is spent moving or sleeping? Hit alarm again.
Shamble out of bed, dig out jersey and shorts, find socks. Cell phone in ziploc bag to keep out grit and sweat. Bagged phone in center jersey pocket. Eat half banana, few gulps of water. Fill bottle.
5:20 am. Take bike from hook in wall. Check rear tire that always seems to be a bit low. Thirty seconds with the frame pump. If rain is possible, lash jacket to rear rack.
5:25 am and I'm caged in, checking for new squeaks or clunks. First stop sign is also a check on the weather. Find the wind, turn my head into it. I ride the headwind for half my time and take whatever roads look suitable, trying to remember each by name and last known condition. I'm often wrong, and gravel often changes.
I find new hills, new combinations of paved and gravel. The unending checkerboard pattern of roads mean that any A to B has numerous variations to suit mood and weather. I grind up hills and try to hang on on the way down, hear the tires humming on paved and spraying grit on the gravel. Pick my shifts carefully, reaching for the downtube just before the loose patches.
Turn away from the wind. The sun is up and the jacket is off. Reach down and turn off tail light. Check watch, maybe add a loop if time permits. Legs are starting to burn. Return to town. Maybe chase a car, maybe sit up.
6:30. Return. 15 miles or so in for the day. Time to clean up, eat, brew coffee to share with my love, kiss the kids goodbye, and start the day for the second time.