It had been Rainbow Dash's long-standing dream to fly with the Wonderbolts, but this was different. Although Saorin' was a Wonderbolt just like Spitfire and Fleetfoot, Dash considered him more as being a close friend and peer. Like Dash, Soarin' seemed to like to catch a few winks when he could, and he always seemed to be hungry for something, no matter the time of day.
Soarin,' the only core member of the Wonderbolts who was a stallion, came flying into Ponyville in the early morning to help Dash with a few of her weather jobs. Being Ponyville's Weather Manager meant that Dash didn't have to do everything herself, but she did have to try to coordinate everything so that sunny or inclement, everything was where it should be according to the plan set out through the Equestrian Meteorological Association.
Twilight said that Dash did not understand all of the technical points of weather management, but then she was skilled enough that she did not have to understand in order to get the same job done. All the nitty-gritty stuff was for jargon-heads like Twilight. As long as Dash knew how to get the job done, she didn't care whether or not she had the right names for everything. In fact, the other Pegasi took turns translating for her when she issued the day's instructions each morning.
Having Soarin' around to help out was definitely an education that Dash felt was worth giving her attention to: he had finished his formal training, unlike Dash, who had dropped out mostly because of the bullying and pressure Fluttershy had faced. Because he was also a bit of a slacker, Soarin' was able to intuit what Dash meant by her instructions -- or when she gave them to Soarin,' her suggestions.
The weather jobs themselves were mostly routine and boring things that Dash did several times a week or a month. One of the more interesting jobs had been to ensure all of the snow and ice had melted so everypony could enjoy the sun with her or his Very Special Somepony. Dash knew how to handle it because she had been Weather Manager for a number of years. It was only when she had to coordinate with other teams that things started to conflict and get messed up.
After the jobs were finished, Soarin' followed Dash down to a diner for breakfast. "I know all the best places," Dash boasted.
"You've been doing this for years, so you'd better. B'sides, I'm hungry enough to eat a whole wagon load of hay."
"So you've brought your appetite. Well, prepare to get satisfied!"
The food didn't disappoint, or at least Soarin' didn't slow down enough to say anything much until he was full and satisfied. "You must've put away three times your own weight over there," Dash said, amazed.
"What can I say? I was hungry and the food was great! Now what d'you wanna do, Dash?"
"What else, but to catch a few winks?"
"Oh wow, what a great idea!" They paid their server and went off to find a cloud with just the right consistency in which to nap.
When the 'lazy' duo woke up, they decided to make some 'lazy' circuits of the sky. Despite what they were calling it, they flew in formation, taking turns as lead pony, while they executed stunt after stunt. The lead always called the stunt out, and then the wing pony had to stay tight and keep up.
It was while Dash and Soarin' were doing a wide vertical loop that Cloudchaser and Snowflake came flying up. "Hey, something going on?" Dash asked, having noticed them coming in from a fair distance off.
"We just thought we might join you in a friendly flight," Cloudchaser said, leading her partner as they flew right alongside the other two.
"A friendly flight is fine," Soarin' said.
"But a little race would be even better," Dash said.
"That is, if you're both up for it," Soarin' said.
Cloudchaser glanced over at Snowflake. "YEAH!" Summed it up perfectly.
"Alright," Soarin' said. "What say we start the race at the top of our next loop in five, and make a complete circuit of Ponyville's streets, ending back here?" Dash and Cloudchaser nodded their agreement. Snowflake simply snorted. Everypony was in, and they drew up even with each other just to make sure. Up they went into another wide loop, still keeping neck-in-neck until they reached the top.
At the top of the loop, Cloudchaser and Snowflake both started to flap their wings madly. Soarin' and Dash simply tucked their wings in tight to their bodies, and dropped into power dives. They started slow, but used gravity and inertia to pass the other two, only pulling up before when it was clear that waiting further would end in a crash.
After pulling up, Soarin' started gliding. He and Dash were still moving very quickly, so they did not have to worry about their other competitors right away. But they took turns leading the race with the occasional flap of the wings to jump ahead of the other racer for half a second or a little more.
Since Ponyville was a fairly small town, it made for a fairly short track, but it was by no means simple, since it was effectively a wheel-and-spokes configuration. The flyers had to choose their direction quickly whenever they flew over a crossroads, and then remember where they had been so they did not repeat a road instead of making further progress.
Soarin' and Dash lost their original boosts from their power dives minutes after they first pulled up. Now they had to flap their wings to maintain their speed, while Cloudchaser and Snowflake started to catch up by flying in a steady, but slightly faster, rhythm. Dash noticed where they were as she took a turn, and decided to put a little extra power into her wings from then on, which in turn drove Soarin' to work harder. She also noticed that the racers were gathering some spectators, which was fine by her: the growing crowd's energy made it seem like she was recharging, and that let her put even more strength into her wings.
Only those who had never seen Dash at her most serious would seriously call her a slacker. She worked hard enough to become a skilled and fast flyer even as a filly, performing the Sonic Rainboom when her weight was not as much of an issue. The was also fast and agile enough to clear the sky visible over Ponyville in ten seconds, all on her own. Dash had won the Best Young Flyers Competition awhile back by pulling off a second Sonic Rainboom in order to save Rarity and the Wonderbolts, and she had pulled off another one at Princess Cadence's and Shining Armour's wedding. After that, she had trained at the Wonderbolts Academy in her first step to becoming a reservist and a Wonderbolt, smashing every record there was in the process. Yes, Dash was an exceptional, no, awesome flyer. And there was one move she could do that she had never seen anypony else pull off.
Dash pulled it off now, surging forward on a wave of seven-coloured light. Even as she crossed the imaginary finish line, the shockwave from her Sonic Rainboom coloured the sky over Ponyville before fading to a sunset spread. Dash hadn't even realized how long she'd been flying and racing, but then that was what happened when you had fun.
The audience below was happy to treat the racers to a well-deserved dinner. They pretty much ignored how Cloudchaser and Snowflake came in after Soarin,' and treated all four of them the same. Contrary to what some ponies might say, it was one of the things Dash enjoyed about Ponyville. She would just never admit it, since if she did her reputation as a serious competitor would take a serious hit. But the workout, the energy of the experience, and the meal were all worth it to her.
After all of that, all Dash and Soarin' could think about was walking off their meal together. They wandered around Ponyville, and saw quite a few couples doing the same thing. Dash and Soarin' were athletes for the activity's own sake before anything else, so to both of them, the day had begun and ended perfectly.