I contacted Speedo on Friday and asked if he wanted to ride on Saturday, and we decided to meet up with Alan and leave directly from Mission instead of meeting Team McAllen at Burger King. I'd never ridden with Alan before, but knew that he was a strong cyclist with years of experience racing and riding. We planned the start for 6:30a, giving us a 45 minute head start against the typical Burger King departure time, and head towards Progreso to take advantage of a tailwind on the return. I was excited about the company, change of schedule, and change in locale.
We met near my house, and after making a minor adjustment to my cadence / speed sensor, we rolled out on time. Speedo had 2 bottles and a Camelbak, Alan had 3 bottles, and I had my typical 2 bottles - one with sport drink, one with water. When we started discussing how far we would go towards Progreso, I said "far enough to get to a convenience store so I can refill my bottles." I am a heavy perspirer. I knew that 2 bottles might get me 25 miles, but it would be close.
Alan, Speedo and I decided we needed to push ourselves a bit on the way out. There was no discussion of speed, but even as we warmed up the pace was 18-19 mph. Once we cleared the McAllen / Mission area, we naturally formed into a paceline and started maintaining 19-21 mph. We had a mix of cross and headwind of 11 mph on average, so it was a pretty good burn. Of course, this did nothing to help my hydration. As we rolled into Progreso, both bottles were empty. My jersey was soaked, as well as my bib shorts. Nothing unexpected, but it's still amazing what the body does under exertion.
We dismounted, and Alan noticed that I had gooseflesh on my arms and legs. It is a sign of dehydration, but it happens to me all the time. I just drink as much as I can, and make sure I eat as well. I bought a quart of sport drink, filled my bottle, drank the rest, then filled the other bottle with water. I ate a Clif gel, and we were off on the return trip. About a mile down the road, I noticed that Alan had sweat dripping off his pedals. He was sweating so much that the sweat was draining out of his shoes. It was hot...Africa hot...but we were surviving.
On the way back, we had the wind at our back, and rode along at 20mph+ with no problem at all. We swapped cycling stories, took turns in a reverse delta (my invented term for 2 cyclists side by side in front, one behind but not drafting), and generally enjoyed having water and the wind. At one point, Speedo popped out a strong interval, and Alan one-upped him and took us up to 30mph+. I was surprised by his surge, and had to get out of the saddle to grab his wheel. It was that sort of ride -- we didn't take ourselves too seriously and try to hammer the whole way, yet we played around and challenged the pace from time to time.
We rolled back in to Mission at around 9:45a. Since I had originally planned to be home from the race in Harlingen at about noon on Sunday, this was a big improvement for the family. Also, I've already learned many cycling lessons from Speedo, and hope to ride enough with Alan to learn some from him. Regardless of the heat, it was a great ride with great company, and very enjoyable.
Finally, here's a link to the ride data. As I mentioned earlier, I had problems with my cadence/speed sensor, so I only have data for the return trip. Based on "feel" and frequent speed checks on the way out, I'm guessing that the overall data is very similar to the return trip data. Also, here's a screen cap summary.
P.S. After Alan turned off for home, he was stung by a wasp between his glasses and helmet. That's gotta hurt. Hope he doesn't look like a unicorn getting ready to have his horn break through the skin.