We set out at a cracking pace and I was soon wondering how long I would be able to stay with the group. I glued myself to Jason's rear tire and hung on for dear life. After a few miles I was feeling reasonably comfortable - perhaps I could hang with this crowd after all. I opted out of the sprints, though.
As we got up to the site of Sean's dog encounter, I found myself at number 2 wheel behind Kenny. Sure enough, a dog appeared and started to give chase, but he was just a puppy and clearly only looking for a runaround. Kenny and I took off and left him behind at the property line. Paddy decided that this was the last straw, and he dismounted and yelled at the mutt. Its owner appeared and Paddy gave him the finger! Not a good idea out in the Boonies where there are more guns than people.
Paddy was flagging a bit, so Jason and I hung back with him while the other three legged it for the gas station. I was a little in front of the other two as we approached the turn. I was wool-gathering or bird-watching or something, because Jason came up behind me very quietly, then yelled "Right turn!' in a Dame Edna falsetto in my ear. I nearly dumped the bike in surprise -rotten Kiwi bugger.
At the Exxon we hook up with Adam and Heather and decide to ride back as a group. I was expecting to return on the back road, but we headed for Business 290 instead. A stiffish head-wind greeted us and we settled into a tight peloton. It's really a lot of fun riding in a close group like that, or at least it was until I blew my back tire (again?). We only had a few miles to run, so I waved the others on. Paddy, bless him, opted to stay with me. I changed out the tube and inflated with a CO2 cartridge, but didn't do a good job because it lost pressure pretty fast. I pumped it up and struggled on, but it was pretty soft when we turned on to Roberts, with half a mile to run. I made it back but I'll need to do a better job on my field tire changes on the way to Austin.