It's 6am. The Sun is still rising over the mountains behind me and I've already reached the peak of the first climb. I take just a moment to appreciate a gorgeous panoramic view of the valleys and mountains before letting go of the brake. I upshift and grin as the wind becomes a hurricane in my ears... There's no feeling like being miles into a ride without a soul or building in sight. It's all of my favorite things in one: challenging, beautiful, fast-paced, and a great way to clear your mind. Each ride makes me stronger, faster, and hungrier for new and longer trails.
6 months ago when I was looking at used bikes for $500 on Craigslist. I went into a local bike shop to browse and ask for some advice. The timing couldn't have been better. They were getting a whole truck full of half-priced bikes from another shop that went out of business. It meant spending 5x more than I planned, but the deal was too good to pass up. My concerns about the price were completely dispelled after my first ride the next day. I went right over the handlebars and my ass hurt for days, but I was hooked.
Tomorrow, I'll wake at 3am, drive 30 minutes to a trail I've never been on, ride for 20+ miles and still make it back home before most people finish their first cup of joe. I love my life.