Paddy was there with the Mules trailer and I stopped for a brief chat before rolling out on my own under grey skies, with a decent wind from the south east pushing me along. Rather than take the Hegar route, I opted for the previous standard, which goes down Laneview where there are usually wild flowers and sometimes exciting birds. I wasn't disappointed! About 20 miles in I put up a scissor-tailed flycatcher, who delighted me by flying along by my side for a good 100 yards, giving me a great view of his superb plumage. Certainly the best looking bird we see out here, he knocks Kevin's Caracara out of the park. But still no bluebonnets sadly.
Another down side of riding on my own - no earworm! I had a bizarre mix of "I'm a believer", "Our house" and "Solsbury Hill" rolling through my head all the way round, with occasional bursts of Taylor Swift when I needed a hill climb boost.
I took the standard break at the Exxon and the standard selfie, this time sans domestiques (subsequently photo-shopped in by MC), and rudely eavesdropped on a conversation amongst a group of serious-looking riders who were discussing shaving products. Then back at it and the run through Hempstead and points south.
When I turned for home the wind started to bite in earnest, but I hung in there, admittedly at embarrassingly slow speeds. I got back to Zube with 51 miles done at an average of 14.6mph, a good 2.5mph slower than the same run with Kevin and Lee. One more ride to go before the big day!