Finally, after a long gap, due mostly to circumstances beyond my control (but also in part due to indolence and the heat), I schedule a Labour Day ride with Kevin and he duly shows up at my house on a very muggy morning for the Four Park loop. He has been taking it easy too, just a few 30 mile loops in his neighbourhood, but you wouldn't know it from the spanking pace he sets down Memorial. I'm trying to maintain a high cadence and Kevin clocks met at 93 rpm, pretty respectable for an old, out-of-condition crock.
We get to the Dam and turn in off Route 6, with a pack of other riders around us. I take point in the vain hope of dialling the pace back a bit and it works for a while, but soon enough Kevin pulls ahead and gets cranking again. We're both glad to get into George Bush, where the trees provide shade and some relief from the building heat.
Once out of Gorge Bush we have a mile or two on the road and he has to slow down because he's not sure of the route, thank goodness. The run up Barker-Cypress, normally a very busy road, is blissfully quiet and we easily make our left turn. I'm thinking about a recent fatality in Memorial Park, when a cyclist apparently swung left for a turn, right into the path of an unsuspecting motorist who threw him 40 feet to his death.
We make it into Cullen and take a welcome blow. I also switch out water bottles - in addition to a high cadence I'm trying to keep well hydrated and I've put away twice as much as I would normally. At this point I wipe the sweat out of my eyes - and dislodge my contact lens. Try as I might I can't get it back in place and have to complete the ride half-blind (but able to drive - honest, I can pass the eye test on my crap right eye!)
Off into the shady section and I take off my shades to give me a fighting chance of seeing the road and Kevin. We make it through to Bear Creek and the shades go back on.
I starting to flag now and Kevin pulls ahead. We get to Eldridge and the three mile pull back into town, which is into a decent headwind today as well. Eldridge is a pretty busy, fast four-lane but it has a wide shoulder so it's normally fine, or it was until TxDoT decided to cut rumble strips... These are pretty deadly on a road bike, so we had to run inside them with the road kill and trash. Kevin set a good pace and I glued myself onto his back wheel.
The left turn onto Dairy-Ashford is quiet too, but Kevin is blown after the pull down Eldridge so we wait for a light and take it easy for the rest of the ride. I'm pretty tired and over-heated but it went better than I thought.