At night, you can ride the same trail you’ve been on a hundred times, and it still feels like the first. The soil sounds different, the trail seems to turn in a new direction, and the air is more crisp.

Three of us meet up at the trailhead with riding lights and climb onto our bikes. We’re the only ones here. Everything is quiet, and as we start off it’s hard to see exactly which way we are headed.

It takes a bit to get accustomed to the evening—to warm up and start moving fluidly with the trail. Our bodies adapt to the motion and start to buzz with a familiar warmth.

Settled in, we lean into the pedals a bit more and roll over rocks and dirt lit up by the powerful lumens strapped to our helmets. Night glow surrounds us as the trail weaves throughout pinion and sage.

Up on an exposed ridge, the wind reaches us, temporarily interrupting our flow as we travel up and over the top and descend off the other side. Calmness encroaches again, and we pause to put a foot down on the desert floor.

Off the bikes, we stand quietly in the darkness. Lights off—our eyes begin to heal from the artificial daylight and adapt. For a brief moment, the isolation and darkness is jarring.

Cactus takes shape in our peripheral, mountains rise on the horizon, and up above, constellations steal the show. Book Cliffs frame the night sky beyond the trail system and the Milky Way surges from an adjacent ridgeline, stretching over us.

Recharged, the cold starts to creep in again and take up residence in our arms and legs. We take in the final moments of the uninterrupted sky before turning our riding lights back on and throwing a leg over the bike.

In the distance, the lights from town flicker as we push off down the trail putting rubber to soil—chasing light beams through a series of manicured turns, over another rock garden, and on into the night.