This morning, in Granbury, Texas, I did my third bike rally of the year and my 424th overall. North Texas is a beautiful place, but Granbury is stunning. I did a training ride there two weeks ago and couldn’t wait to get back for the rally. At one point today, as I was climbing a hill with two strangers, I mentioned how peaceful it was. There were no cars or city noises; the only sounds were our wheels swooshing and the birds chirping. The foliage is lush at this time of year. It was truly magical. I cherish these memories, because you never know when you’ll do your last rally. Having friends along makes it all the more precious, and I have good friends.
Joe and Julius didn’t show up, but Phil, Randy, Bryce, Rusty, and Mark did. (The announcer said at the start that more than 600 people had registered. I’ve done all five of the Granbury rallies, going back to 2004, and this was by far the best turnout. It’s great to see so many people out on their bikes, although, truth be told, I hate the traffic.) It was another gorgeous day: sunny, not humid, and with a gentle breeze. Actually, I lie. The wind was brutal. Fortunately for us, the first half of the ride was into the wind. We knew we would have an easy time of it on the way back, provided we saved enough energy. I was ahead of my home boys when I reached a rest stop near the southernmost point of the course. I thought we were stopping there, so I got off my bike and went into the porta-potty to do my duty. When I came out, a minute or so later, I saw Phil and Randy tooling down the road. I yelled, but there was no reaction. I jumped on my bike and raced after them, catching them within a mile. They didn’t know I was behind them, so I sat in. We must have ridden four miles before they noticed me. I think they knew I was at the rest stop. They were mad at me for dropping their sorry asses on the hills and wanted to get back at me by making me chase them. Like I said, good friends.
The tailwind was wonderful. Imagine flying along at 25 to 30 miles per hour without working. I often feel guilty when I have a tailwind, but not today. We earned it during the first half of the rally. Before long, we were back at our cars and off to a local restaurant (Grump’s) to replace some of the calories we expended. To show you how stiff the wind was, I rode 31.2 miles during the first two hours, which is an average speed of 15.6 miles per hour. I averaged 18.8 miles per hour for the remaining 1:42:25, and that’s on a hilly course with a few additional miles of headwind. I ended up with 17.07 miles per hour for 63.3 miles. I reached a speed of 39.1 miles per hour on one of the many hills. My maximum heart rate was 157 and my average heart rate 131. I burned 2,402 calories. Randy said he’d give me the altitude gain by e-mail, but I don’t trust his computer. It has malfunctioned many times. Randy himself is one big malfunction.
Phil is riding like a demon this year. If he keeps it up, I’ll have to stop thinking of him as a wimp.