Another early rise. Coffee, whey protein drink, oatmeal. Fill bottles with ice and water. Out into the sultry thick early morning air. The happy beep of the Garmin. Insects gathering in the 300 lumen beam of the headlight.
Low morning clouds scuttling north highlighted by the urban lights. Stars washed out by the glare. No moon. Hint of winds to come as the sun rises.
Going out easy, staying in the small ring. Legs warm up rapidly. Play with big ring on the flats. Rolling past the pretentious upscale housing developments and strip malls in the no man’s land between northwest Austin, Cedar Park, Leander and Round Rock. Surprise at all the early traffic. Wonderment at the odd patterns of travel.
Hint of sun on the right. Venus stands out like a beacon. Unable to discern Mercury. Body fully warmed up crossing FM 1431. Big ring mostly. Hills seem flatter this time around. More light to the east. Noticing new housing developments. It’s been a year since last ride on this route.
As the sun rises, treated to Mother Nature sky paintings. On the last leg into Andice, rough pavement of FM 2338. Concern that new fillings will rattle out. Intermittent glances to make sure water bottles are still there.
Gatorade and banana at the General Store. Friendly good mornings and waves from the towns people and passers-by. Roosters greeting the morning.
Return leg is into the wind. High clouds keep the sun at bay until the last 20 km. Sun tries to make up for lost time — seems to be extra intense. Short bout of histamine as an errant bee stings the left hand. Lots of short breaks to guzzle water and stretch. Last five miles reintroduces traffic. Hectic mid-morning craze of Parmer. Timing of gaps is convenient.
Last mile cool down. Pulling into the driveway where the Garmin signals the end with another cheerful beep. Another 108 km.