Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Embracing my demons

I don’t really like getting up early in the morning. But an analysis of my behavior would never suggest that. A long time ago, before I began cycling, I used to meet a friend every morning at six to run for an hour. Exercising at that hour is never my first choice, but if it comes down to exercising early in the morning or not exercising, I’ll choose the early start every time.

After I moved to Boise, I decided to sell the second-hand, ill-fitting road bike in my garage and get a mountain bike. I figured a mountain bike I rode once-in-a-while was better than a road bike I never rode. But I never intended to ride it daily. I was still a runner (albeit not a very good one), after all. I just figured I’d tool around the neighborhood and occasionally hit the trails.

Then Psycho Rider started inviting me to ride with him and another friend before work. Before I knew it, I had given up running altogether and was on the bike almost every day.

I’ve had the best ski days of my life after 4:00 a.m. wakeup calls. It never gets easier to get up early, but seldom if ever do I regret it once I’m out of bed and on the trail or the skintrack.

And so it was this morning when Alex and I met for a ride on the Pipeline trail. Evidently it was too early or too cold or too whatever for anyone else to consider it worthwhile to be out. With the time change, we were able to start at 6:20 without lights, and aside from a couple runners, we had the trail to ourselves.

Conditions were perfect—the trail was milk chocolate tacky with just a few mud puddles. If ever there was a time to clean the Rattlesnake Gulch climb, this would be it. In fact, I was disappointed when Alex dismounted after I hit a rock wrong and had to put a foot down, because I think he could have cleaned it had he kept going.

Of course early mornings aren’t the only things I’ve found difficult or disturbing but have embraced and been glad to have done so. The 7-eleven two blocks from my office is another. I know at one point I swore off it and vowed to go elsewhere. But as I’ve mentioned before, I backslid out of convenience and a lust for popcorn. Well, the staff and other customers have become no less savory, but rather than being disturbed by the experience, I’ve chosen to enjoy it for what it is.

Had I not, I would have missed out on some fine entertainment. For instance:

  • The woman who would buy a loaf of bread there, eat half of it, stick it in her cupboard until it molded, and then exchange it for a new one. After three or four times of this, the clerks got wise and sent her packing. And threatened to call the cops when she refused to leave. I watched the unraveling of her ruse go down, and it was awesome.
  • The city worker who was cleaning leaf debris out of the gutters. I walked out of the store, rounded the corner, and the first thing I saw was a good six inches of butt crack as street worker squatted to scoop up some leaves. I did a double take, not believing someone’s pants could be that far down without falling completely off. Unfortunately, I was too slow with the camera phone.
  • And last but certainly not least, today I saw an honest-to-goodness, Rocky Horror Picture Show transvestite with legitimate looking boobs AND five-o-clock shadow. This time I had time to get out the phone and snap a picture but chose not to because a) I figured someone that gender confused was already tormented enough and, more importantly, b) I did not want to risk getting beat up by a “woman” in downtown Salt Lake.

And these are just the things I’ve seen in the last five days. Seriously, the diet coke has become secondary to the entertainment. I’ve got the diet coke. I’ve got the popcorn. But the show is better than anything in the theaters.


  1. I think I worked by that 7-11 for about 15 years if I know your office correctly. I have seen plenty. One of my favorites was one day 2 drunks were passing a bottle back and forth. One leans over and pukes and then takes another drink off of the bottle. I guess one man's rock bottom is another man's normal? Just shoot me.

  2. This is the main reason I miss working downtown. I am SO missing out.

  3. I miss those days of early morning riding...

  4. I really need to shave before strutting my stuff around downtown.

  5. No the one at 300 E and 400 S. I guess I was close but not quite.