Friday, 25 January 2013

This is why.

Keeping a cool heid - I'll get my coat..
It's a sad fact that at this time of year in order to witness a beautiful sunrise you need to endure freezing temperatures.  I've had to clear ice off the bike after leaving it outside for 5 minutes whilst I get my bag from the kitchen, been stuck in one gear as the cables have frozen, ridden through freezing fog and ended up covered in a thin film of ice.  I've lost count of the number of times my hands have been painfully sore, I still haven't found gloves that work for me which is starting to get annoying - and expensive!After a night when the sleep deprivation tag team have worked me over, getting out the house can be difficult, bordering on painful.  Tired eyes end up hurting in the cold early morning air and stiff muscles and joints take forever to warm up.  The first few minutes are horrible and it can very often take twenty minutes or more before I can feel my extremities again (if at all!)  Once I turn off the main road and onto the quiet back roads I am normally quite, quite alone.  At this time of year it will be pitch black as I start riding as well (though it has been getting lighter).  I do often wonder why I do it to myself.

But then the sun starts to come up.

Another glorious sunrise - another freezing morning...

The contrast between the strip of fiery red sky on the horizon and the pitch black landscape is breathtaking.  As I ride it slowly spreads across the sky until the sun itself finally appears above the horizon.  It's mesmerising and casts an eerie light over the road.  Now I don't mind being outside in the freezing cold.  It's worth it for the views across the hills.  

It's why I've always loved being outdoors, for those moments when mother nature rewards you with a display of her power and beauty.  Whether it's sunsets over the south downs, blizzards on exposed hill sides or a full moon lighting the way on a night ride, it never ceases to amaze me or remind me why I get out there.

One thing on my list to do this year is get out on a bivvy trip to the Galloway Forest Park, which has been awarded dark sky status.  When I was a teenager we used to go walking there and overnight in the bothies.  The view of the stars on a clear night was simply stunning.  I'll be back there this summer with my bivvy bag (and midge net) to find a good spot!  There again is the trade off.  A stunning view of the night sky, all you have to do is share it with a million tiny, wee bloodsuckers...

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