The Alarm goes off triggering a mad thrashing of limbs to find that Godforsaken source of unwanted noise. Once it has been located and deactivated you take a moment to survey the battlefield, starting by counting the casualties. Silence equals a job well done, a perturbed rustle from the other side of the bed indicates there will be some explaining to do to your superiors later that day, but worse still a squeak or the possible beginnings of a wail from the ground troops in the room opposite, indeed this may result in aborting the mission entirely.
Having taken in your surrounds, no matter the success, there will be a moment when you consider the comfort of a warm bed outweighs whatever the mornings plans may be.
Your imagination begins to create plausible excuses you can easily communicate to your riding buddies, but just when you think you’ve hit upon the right mix of bad luck and emotion, you realise the effort of communicating said misfortune is to great. So in a move you have practiced a thousand times you remove yourself from the bed creating as little fuss as possible.
Our journey from here may all differ slightly, indeed it is a well trodden topic of conversation in the bunch or at the café. Departure time (ie. That block of time from alarm to first pedal stoke) is not rounded up to the nearest 5 minute interval, we know this time right down to the very last moment.
Some of us may require different things at this hour; bite of muesli, coffee, quick shave, but some things are universal, such as the pre-prepared kit selection from the night before. Now in summer this step takes a mater of seconds, however it is during the winter months that we truly get to know our weather apps.
Because with every reduction in the predicted ‘real feel’ comes a different combination of kit. Is it knee warmers and toe covers, or full legs and booties? Is it a gillet and arm warmers or a base layer and winter jacket? Throw in some fashion paux pas and a list of cycling kit ‘rules’ and you have yourself quite the quandary.
Having made this selection the night before, the early morning version of yourself merely has to fumble its way into said kit. This however is easier said then down, again given the intricacies of winter kit. Remembering to put your leg warmers on before your bibs may at the time be a candidate for the most confronting image of yourself you have ever seen, but 20km into the ride you will thank yourself for remembering.
At this stage you hope your phone has remained silent because at this hour your riding mates are not texting to ask how you slept. It matters little anyway to you now you are committed, the moment you applied winter embrocation to your legs there was no going back to the freshly laundered sheets of your bedroom.
Few can deny we are a strange bunch, just as a seat post length that is 1mm too long can cause hours of discomfort, finding a quicker and more efficient method of putting on shoe warmers can give us just the spark we needed to ride on the front for that bit longer.