Dedication is a 5 AM alarm clock setting.

Dedication is a 5 AM alarm clock setting.

David Sterry, a racer who started to take cyclocross seriously this past season in Portland, Oregon, is checking in with us during his off-season again.

by Dave Sterry

“What on earth is that horrible buzzing noise?” I think to myself as I’m laying in bed. Of course, it’s my alarm, doing its best to attempt to summon me out of bed at 5 AM on a Tuesday morning. I struggle to gain some semblance of consciousness so I can get out of bed, dressed and out the door quickly. But let me tell you, it is not easy, we Sterry’s do not take kindly to waking up early. We are more of a “roll out of bed around 9 and spend an hour drinking coffee” kind of family. Just ask my extended family, for years we’ve been the butt of jokes about our rather extended sleeping habits. And while I’ve gotten better at “get up and moving early” in the last few years, I still feel like I’m fighting all instincts when I do something before the sun rises, and somehow besmirching my family name.

So what could possibly make me want to get up that early? It wasn’t work, that’s for damn sure, I don’t need to be up for until 7. No, not work, but a training ride. I have decided for some perhaps flimsy reasons that I’d like to try and do my mid-week block of training before work this year, thus freeing my evenings for relaxing and potential errands. I could come home after work, lounge around and watch TV, make a decent dinner and unwind, instead of rushing home, getting my gear together in a hurry and attempting to get a ride in before the sun goes down, and then cramming some food in my mouth before I crash. Sounds great on paper and in my head, but that first Tuesday it was anything but. I sat on the edge of my bed and debated going back to sleep; I questioned what was wrong with me that I was doing this for a sport that, if I’m honest, I’m not really amazing at. I’m no pro racer, I can go back to sleep damn it! But through some force of will, some desire to see a really improvement this season, I got up and out the door.

And it was quiet out, so quiet I could hardly believe it, really. I headed out toward the Marine Drive bike path that runs along the Columbia River, so I knew I’d have a nice long stretch of path to do my planned interval workout. I think I saw two cars and a bus: now that is a nice change from normal city riding! And it was cool out, which was a great change from the heat we’d had over the weekend. By the time I got out to the path, I was awake, my legs felt warmed up and my mood had changed. Hell, it felt great to be out this early, alone aside from one lone jogger. Well, until I started my workout. I won’t bore you with the exact details, but it hurt. It hurt in that good way, the way that makes you think, “This will make me stronger. This will make me faster.” Well, except that set I had to do into a headwind, that one just hurt.

I finished up my workout and made my way back home as the city was starting to wake up. I saw a few more cars, saw a few people heading out the door to work. I got back to my house by 6:45, earlier than I normally get up, giving me time to relax a bit more than normal and read my book with breakfast. I came home that night and savored the fact that I didn’t have to do a darn thing aside from eat dinner. “I could get used to training before work, I’m looking forward to doing it again tomorrow,” I thought to myself.

Until the next day when I completely failed to get out of bed when my alarm went off. I still did my workout that evening though, ’cross is just around the corner, after all. And, frankly I’m getting pretty excited about it.