By dawn’s earliest light

14 06 2016

I’m a morning rider.

If I”m not on the bike by noon, it’s unlikely I’m getting on the bike at all.

The air is fresher in the morning. So are my legs, unwearied by the demands of the day.

Getting out on the bike in the morning doesn’t give the distractions of a typical day a foothold; the ride is the primary goal of the hours ahead and all else will just have to follow.

Sunday’s FRF group ride took the morning ride to new extremes. For the first time we were joining pelotons with another established group ride by one of our sponsors, The Original Bike Shop.

160614collaboration1

The derailleur detente was a chance to see some new faces, test our legs on a new route and build some bridges with another community of cyclists.

The only hitch? They convene at 6:30 a.m.; that’s two hours sooner than the normal FRF rendezvous. When the alarm went off at 5 a.m. on a grey, cool morning, it was tempting to turn it off and just sink back into the warmth of the covers.

But the kit was all laid out, the bike was poised by the front door, its Garmin in place, shoes and helmet on the floor. I’d have to make a stealthy exit to allow everyone else in the loft a chance to continue their slumber.

By 6 a.m. I was pedalling to the meetup, pushing my knee and arm warmers into place to temper the brisk air. The day’s planned route was a tick over 100 kms, with almost 1200 metres of climbing. The goal was to be back by noon.

The Original Bike Shop is not our normal rendezvous.

The Original Bike Shop is not our normal rendezvous.

That’s another upside of early morning rides; early returns. That leaves time for a recovery beer and the afternoon free for family activities.

At its peak, our peloton swelled to 27 riders. The disparity of fitness and an early mechanical meant the ride splintered quickly into smaller, more manageable subgroups with waypoints along the way to regroup.

Awaiting the rest of our sizeable collaboration peloton.

Awaiting the rest of our sizeable collaboration peloton.

It’s a bear to manage such a large, disparate group of cyclists and keep everyone motivated and satisfied. The various captains did an excellent job of staying in touch and keeping the peloton cohesive.

At the midway point, the waits got too long for some as the cool damp air started to tighten muscles; rendezvousing became less imperative than just getting on with the ride. One group cut their ride short, another opted for a more direct route, another decided to forgo future breaks and just ride through. But nobody rode alone.

The misty mountain morning makes a heroic backdrop for @FlyingOakes to catch his breath.

The misty mountain morning makes a heroic backdrop for @FlyingOakes to catch his breath.

The dream of a peloton impressively rolling back into town en masse may not have been realized, but everyone had enjoyed a good morning out.

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