Here in Kansas City, we all have a choice. We can either drag out before the sun rises and crank out the miles or prolong the inevitable until after work and trudge out for the training ride. If you’re a pro, independently wealthy or just don’t have a job and you can train at any time during the day, then this post may not be for you.
For the majority of us that have to hold down the day job to support our triathlon junkie habits (oh and the family, house, cars, clothes… etc), you jam in the long rides when you can. Generally the long ride is saved for the weekends. This is less of a problem since there is no ticking time bomb that is the work day in the back of your mind. But, if you have been reading my articles (and you should be!) then you’ve read up on the idea HERE that saving a long ride and run for Saturday and Sunday isn’t always the best idea.
So when is a dedicated athlete to hit the road for a long ride? Morning? Afternoon? Here’s the pros and cons of riding long after work.
- Better fueling – Hello chipotle lunch and a better fueling. Hard to get fueling in when you get up at 4am to work out. Who wants to get up 45 minutes BEFORE 4am to eat properly. Eat 10 minutes before riding? Hello, I’m guilty as charged.
- Lights – No need for helmet lights and those annoying cords! Heaven forbid you forget to charge the light overnight!
- Snooze button – Isn’t a factor. You can’t snooze after work unless you’re sleeping at the wheel.
- Better rested before you go into the “day job” all day.
- Fewer time constraints – You’re not as worried about cutting workout short to get to work on time.
- Insects – Generally they come out at night and hang around street lights – where you want to be as a cyclists to see where you are going. Nothing like a face full of june bugs or an appetizer of gnats before breakfast. Sure, you have bugs in the afternoon but they are not as concentrated at the lights.
- Critters – critters don’t like the heat and usually chill out in some dank hole all day. When it’s dark and cool, they come out to play. For the past 2 months I have seen a critter of some sort dart across the road as I rode by… and sometimes a critter that I wasn’t sure what it was. Nothing more fun than riding by a skunk ready to fire as you pray to sweet baby jesus he doesn’t hose you down as you ride by.
- Fools in the road – For some unexplainable reason people like to run and walk in the middle of the street pre dawn. As if there are NO cars out there. Stay on the side or on the sidewalk.
- Weather – sure, it can rain at any time. But, who’s looking at the forecast before they head out for an AM workout. I’m half asleep as it is and the 10 minutes to fire up the computer, check out a weather map and make a decision is time away from training and an excuse to skip the workout. At least you have all day to check the radar online or on your phone to see what’s coming. I mean, as we all know, any forecast made at 10pm the night before still holds true 6 hours later at 4am, right?
- More sweat – There is more of a chance you will be salty and nasty at the end of the ride due to rise in heat, smog and tire particles from more cars.
Cars – Morning, less traffic to contend with and less stupid drivers.
- Traffic signals – It becomes more important in afternoon/evening to adhere to traffic signs and lights with more traffic. Lets face it, we all don’t stop at every sign and light we should be more alert. After you have been awake for 9+ hours, you tend to be more alert and not drowsy after just waking up and hitting the road.
- Less of a feeling of accomplishment than if you went before work.
- Takes away from family time.
- Pushes dinner later.
- Temperatures – For riding, temps aren’t as damaging since you create a breeze. Some mornings are still cool enough to require more clothing but generally you won’t feel it as much at 5pm than 4am unlike running.
So whatever you choose, keep your head on a swivel out there because people behind the wheel are just as prone to running over cyclists in the day or night!
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