Sorry photos are not obtainable at 4:30am so there will be none but I will explain to you the pre-sunrise that I caught a glimpse of later on (yes this is a tease to make you read the whole post)
I got this brilliant idea last night - I have not been on an early morning bike ride all year long. In the years past I would maybe not sleep through the night and when I woke up I would get dressed and go for a ride - no matter what time it was. Lately I have been sleeping like a baby (one that sleeps through the night - I think this saying needs changed but that is another post (by someone much more articulate than I am) for another day!) and wake up to my alarm and then get on the bike around 5:30 or so each morning.
I have lights - boy do I have lights. My thoughts on lights are that the more you have the more likelihood that the car that can crush you in a blink of an eye might just see and give you another day on the bike. I put my blinking front light on, I put a strong steady front light on, I turn my helmet head lamp on, I turn on helmet rear red blinking light, I try to turn on my rear seat post mounted (forever because I stripped the plastic screw) but it does not work so I pull my other rear red blinking light off another close by seat post, put that on, turn it on, and magically my other rear red blinking light starts to work also. In case you lost count - 6 total light sources - they will never be able to say that they could not see me without any lights!!!
So the alarm goes off at 4:00am and I contemplate life for a while. I really didn't want to go - I really wanted to go back to sleep. I told myself how awesome it would be - still didn't work. I went to the restroom, came back, reset the alarm to 6:00am and said if I feel asleep before 4:30 then I won't ride, thankfully I stayed awake!
The trails were muddy so I bailed on that and just did a hill ride to keep working in my new 2x front ring setup I put on this weekend.
Then I came to my favorite hill in all of Western New York - Ward Road right before Old Chestnut Ridge Road. When you hit this point you can look north and see the whole city of Buffalo and a good percentage of the surrounding suburbs. The lights were still on and off to the east the sun was beginning to make it presence known.
Close your eyes and picture this! (You might have to find someone to keep reading for you because I always found it difficult to close my eyes and read:) There were some clouds in the sky and further off there was another set of clouds that were much lower on the horizon.
A little interruption came to mind: I thought back to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia, ME and how the sun rise would have already been visible for quite some time and cannot wait to go back with Jake after football season ends.
The sky was turning pink and it was a beautiful sight looking off into eastern Western New York and the farmlands that separate Buffalo from Rochester. I don't know how far you can actually see and it would be interesting to find out a way to learn that but once again another post (by someone much smarter) on another day! The land was visible, lights were beginning to fade, and I got to ride home with that picture in my mind.
G-Ted and GNAT say it best - Get out there and ride if you have a bike. If not, get to a local shop and purchase freedom in the form of 2 wheels! Bring a camera, bring your sense of adventure, and learn what payback truly is!