Alpine Start

The ride starts in the fresh coldness of the autumn before dawn, and leads through the quiet city streets.

Past sodium lit houses and schools and shops and through orange canyons of light.

Under the motorway and into the dark, and suddenly all peripheral vision is gone and shrunk to the patter of light jumping ahead on the tarmac before us.

Then the moon casts a shadow and the lights of the bridge show our way, over wet roads, with the leaves of the storm under our wheels and shiny wet drains jumping into sight to ambush us.

Over the South side of the bridge with a ship which sideslips beneath us silent on the flooding tide. The first light showing behind and the full moon in front.

And once we leave the boundaries of town and climb the hill, up past the farm and village hall and manor house, the trees hint of their changing colours and paint themselves more tacitly in the growing day.

Along the ridge with the moon still high on the left and the sun low on the right we ride the birth of dawn and death of night and the fresh world is created before us, just for us, so fresh in our lungs and so pure in our ears. We have seen the night win the reward of the day.

The vales unfurl from shadow and hang with mist. The buzzard awaits his breakfast high in the trees, looking for the flashing shadow. And our flashing shadows travel gracefully and goldenly along the hedgerows and across the silver dew.

Finally the road dips down the hill and the sun is hidden and the light is blue and cold. A piercing cold that blows through us as we tuck to blend gravity and wind, and wind our way into Monmouth, lying out in the sun before us.