Yesterday, in Lancaster, Texas, I did my second bike rally of the year and my 567th overall. The rally is known as the Lancaster Country Ride. I've done 14 of the past 16 of them. To my surprise (and great joy), all five of my bicycling buddies showed up: Phil, Randy, Scott, Joe, and Julius. I also saw Don and Donna (a married couple) and a number of other familiar faces. The bluebonnets were out in force; the temperature was perfect; and no rain fell. Unfortunately, the wind was awful. The average wind speed yesterday at DFW Airport was 21.9 miles per hour. That's the highest wind speed I've recorded for a day in which I rode my bike. I consider it windy if the average is 10 miles per hour or higher.
The first half of the course was into the wind. We took turns pulling, and occasionally fell in with other riders, so it wasn't too bad. Once we reached the southernmost point of the course, we had a strong tailwind on the way back. It was great fun. Even the many little hills didn't seem bad. We stopped at three rest stops along the way for food, drink, and rest. My average speed for the 61.41 miles was 15.84 miles per hour (elapsed time = 3:52:33), a far cry below the 17.67 I recorded a year ago on the same course. But the wind a year ago was much less strong: 10.4 miles per hour. My average heart rate yesterday was 129 and my maximum 156. I reached a top speed of 29.5 miles per hour. What a wonderful thing it was to be out in the beautiful Texas countryside with my friends, talking, laughing, and commiserating. I am truly blessed.
Here I am with Joe (left) and Phil (right), before the start (click to enlarge):
I've been riding with Joe and Phil for more than 20 years.