There was no bike rally today, so I went on a training ride with four friends: Phil, Randy, Bryce, and Scott. (Bryce, to his everlasting discredit, voted for Barack Obama in 2008. He promised to vote for Mitt Romney this time around.) We met at a shaded intersection on the outskirts of Granbury, Texas, which is Randy's turf. (I had to drive 52 miles to get there.) We started at 8:30, before it was hot. The course is through beautiful, rustic countryside. One of the roads in particular is stunning. It has 100-year-old farmhouses and barns, hedgerows, pastures, and trees. We saw cows, goats, horses, buzzards, and many other bird species. A couple of dogs got after us.
The course has many hills, some of them steep, so our average speed was nothing to write home about (15.98 miles per hour for 47.37 miles; elapsed time = 2:57:45). We stopped at gas stations in Bluff Dale and Tolar for water and rest. My average heart rate for the day was 111 and my maximum 146. I reached a top speed of 38.1 miles per hour on one of the steep descents. I burned 2,746 calories, some of which I replaced at Grump's restaurant afterward. I think I speak for the others in saying that I had a great time. We are blessed to be able to exert, and I am blessed to have such good friends. There's no better place to exercise, or to live, than the Republic of Texas.