These are the darkest days of the year for a morning athlete. Officially today the sun rose at 7:30 am, which, thanks to the time change tomorrow, is about the same as it will rise on December 21. On the bike a smidge before sunrise for the ride up to Caribou with Stella. I have not been up here in two weeks, the initial deterent being snow and wind and more lately a cold. Well, it's warmed up and the cold has gone away, so it's time to squeeze in a few more rides before winter (it appears) hits Monday night. Soon these early morning forays on the bike will be traded for dawn patrol nordic skiing sessions at Eldora, and when the snow allows, B.C. sessions at Caribou, Moffatt and a new place that will remain unnamed. One of my favorite things is starting the day off at Eldora with a ski around Buckeye Basin and then up Woodcutter and, as the trail reaches Twisted Tree, catching the first morning rays to the east, basking the skin and land in orange. Follow it up with a lap on Zarlengo or Porcupine Park, or some fast skate skiing on the two little loops. We'll be doing that a lot this winter. Possibly hopping into a few races this winter – a return to the Alley Loop could be parlayed into a sweet little ski trip to CB, Monarch and Silverton where Elaine and I can explore some new mountains in the state. For now, it's the last couple of rides of the year, fine tuning and honing things for when winter starts in earnest.