It’s early on the Sunday after new year, and just outside Vejle atop the imposing Munkebjerg, nine riders meet for the first time in 2022.
Memories of new year celebrations are already fading away, like the surrounding forest into the mist. Thoughts have turned to riding, and a coffee and croissant to lift the spirit on this damp morning.
Down there, somewhere in the eerie mist, awaits a route through country road and gravel - two hours of freedom, time among friends and the opportunity to wish each other a happy new year.
The trip is the first in a series of events to be known as ‘isolés & friends’, because it's the way we like to ride - as friends, but who still like to test each other and stretch our legs when the opportunity arises.
The roads are deserted on a morning like this, when most people are still sleeping.
In the forest the silence is broken only by the characteristic whir of chains and ticking of freewheels.
The bleak weather has its own harsh beauty. A cool, damp mist blankets the landscape, branches drip with dew, sparkling in the light. Our breath hangs in the air.
The forests around Vejle are ideal for cycling. Rolling hills just punchy enough, laced together through the forest by hard gravel roads.
We return to a toast - to friends and a new year.