This past Saturday, in Hillsboro, Texas, I did my sixth bike rally of the year and my 522d overall. My friend of 20 years, Phil, joined me. I thought our average speed would be high, since the course was flatter than the course in Muenster the previous week. Ha! It was windy again (12.6 miles per hour, on average, with gusts to 21) and there were more hills than I remembered. But the worst part was fresh chip seal (rough stones poured onto hot tar) for 15 miles. (Click the image in this post to see what chip seal looks like.) The rally organizer could not have known that the road would be paved the day before the rally. It was just bad luck. Some riders turned back when they reached the rough road. Others took a sag wagon ahead. Phil and I, perhaps foolishly, soldiered on. At one point, as I was climbing a hill into the head wind, I saw "5.7" on my speedometer. It was absurd!
All bad things must come to an end, and this was no exception. Unfortunately, I was worn out by the time the road got smooth. The final 15 miles, still with a headwind or a crosswind, were difficult. I waited for Phil at a rest stop with 10 miles to go. When we resumed riding, my legs were gone. Phil dropped me and finished several minutes ahead of me. We commiserated at a local Whataburger.
I averaged only 15.20 miles per hour for 67.02 miles. (Elapsed time = 4:24:29.) To show you how bad this is, only 19 of my 521 other rallies have been slower. At the two-hour mark, my average speed was 17.54 miles per hour. For the remaining 2:24:29, I averaged 13.26 miles per hour. We fought the wind for about 30 miles. In other statistics, my top speed was 33.6 miles per hour. I burned 3,665 calories. My average heart rate was 113 and my maximum 148. The official high temperature for the day was 92º.
I can't be too disappointed. Conditions were poor and, despite the suffering, I got a good workout. The slog will make me stronger in subsequent rallies. It was my longest ride in eight months. I'll continue to build my endurance so that I'm in a position to ride 100 miles in the Hotter 'n Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls in late August. Phil, who is six and a half years older than I am, rode superbly. I think it's that Coca Cola he drank at the final rest stop!