Yesterday, in Weatherford, Texas, I did my 13th bike rally of the year and my 434th overall. (My goal, for those of you who are new to this blog, is to do 1,000 rallies.) The Peach Pedal (as it’s known) is in its 20th year. This was my 19th. I must have missed only the inaugural version. The rally began from a new place this year, just south of Interstate 20 at Weatherford High School. We used to ride around the Parker County Courthouse at the beginning of the rally, which was fun, albeit dangerous. The traffic in downtown Weatherford has gotten worse by the year, so the organizers (or city officials) must have decided that the rally had to be moved. The rally is in conjunction with the Parker County Peach Festival. (Yes, there were fresh peaches at the rest stops, and they, along with the watermelon and dill-pickle slices, were delicious.)
Several of my so-called friends showed up. (I tease.) Nobody was in a hurry to finish, so we rolled along at a leisurely pace. Much of the route was the same, but in the opposite direction. How different it looked! Hills that I’ve climbed many times became descents. A huge tree that was always on my left as I approached a rest stop was suddenly on my right. The rest stop itself was gone, a victim of change. But hey, change is good, right? So says Barack Obama.
The forecast was for 103º Fahrenheit, and we eventually reached 102º, but it wasn’t nearly that hot during the ride. It was in the low 80s at the 7:30 start and in the low 90s when we finished, shortly after 11:00. It was windy and humid, however, but that’s par for the course at the Peach Pedal. I might add that many hundreds of people—perhaps well over a thousand—showed up to ride. Vehicles were still coming in as I rode around the parking lot on my bike, looking for my friends. Some of the late-arriving cyclists probably got lost, as I did. (I drove about eight miles too far west before realizing my mistake.)
The ride was uneventful in the sense that there were no accidents or mechanical problems. Joe, Jason, Phil, Randy, and I stayed together almost the entire way. (Joe and his son Jason were on a tandem.) We talked, laughed, teased each other, and even whined when appropriate. (Randy has refined his whining technique to a fine art.) Phil rode well for a doddering old fool (I say that endearingly), while Joe and Jason held their own. As Jason gets stronger, it’s going to be increasingly hard to stay with them.
I had an average speed of 18.15 miles per hour after two hours. I averaged 18.40 miles per hour for the entire course a year ago, so I wanted to stay above 18. Alas, I averaged only 17.34 miles per hour for the final 1:25:27 of the ride. That knocked me down to 17.81 for the day (61.0 miles). The final 10 miles or so were filled with rolling hills, which made it hard to sustain a fast pace. We did hardly any pack riding, so I suppose 17.81 miles per hour is nothing to be ashamed of. My maximum speed for the day was 33.2 miles per hour. I burned 1,810 calories. My maximum heart rate was 150 and my average heart rate 116. That tells me that I didn’t work very hard. But hey, sometimes boys just want to have fun!