The sun wasn’t up when we met in the grocery store parking lot, each of us blowing great gusts of breath into cold hands. This had seemed like a good idea last night, but this was our first cold, dark shop ride of the season, and we stood there, shifting from foot to foot, trying to gather the will to roll out.
The sun filtered through the trees on the way up the first leaf-strewn climb, heat rising in our chests, until we were at the top with dumb grins on our faces. Someone said, “I must have mountain bike amnesia, because I always seem to forget how much fun this is, even though it’s ALWAYS this much fun.”
We passed a dog walker and ran into an old Seveneer, on his own pre-dawn ride. We shook hands and made small talk, and then we went on and dropped down the other side of the hill, crossing the road and the meadow and fording the brook at the wooden bridge. We’ve done this together so many times, that we know where each rock is, each overhanging branch.