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I was invited to meet up with Cliff and other members of Team Bikin’ as they did a pre-ride of the route for Tour Dallas next weekend. Tour Dallas is a ride put on here locally in Dallas and attracts as many as 3000-4000 cyclists of all skill levels. It’s not a race but a tour and is meant for every one to come out and have a good time. It’s been very successful in the past and promises to be again this year.

When I arrived at the designated meeting place Cliff was already there. A few minutes later Fred of Nearly Famous Fred showed up and we waited. Turns out we were it. I think the cold may have had something to do with it since it was only about 34F this morning. It was due to warm up later in the afternoon but it was a chilly start. I actually had to go buy a long-sleeve jersey yesterday since I didn’t own one. I just never needed one down in Florida.

This was the first true group ride I’d ever done. I did a bike trip from Connecticut to Ohio back in 1995 but I didn’t do any group training for that. Needless to say I was pretty nervous because I didn’t know what to expect.

We took off from a parking lot on the South side of White Rock Lake and Fred, who’s the route director for Tour Dallas, had us deep in neighborhoods in no time heading to downtown Dallas where Tour Dallas would start. The route wasn’t entirely flat either. I just need to get out more and start pounding these hills so I can get used to them.

The trip downtown had me totally lost but I really enjoyed exploring parts of Dallas I had never seen. There was very little traffic this morning which made it nice. The trip back to White Rock Lake was the same way. A lot of residential areas that had very nice homes and smooth streets. It was really beautiful.

As we re-approached White Rock Lake we started to see other cyclists who were out getting their morning rides in. When we started there were only a few runners and riders at the lake but the parking lots were full now with a lot of cyclists heading out for their rides. It was a great setting.

All told we rode for about 2.5 hours over a distance of 28 miles or so. I thought it was a fantastic ride. My nervousness about riding with someone new was unfounded as both Fred and Cliff made the ride an enjoyable experience. I really appreciate them making sure that I was doing OK because, let’s face it, I’m not exactly a prime specimen of health right now.

Over the last two rides both Cliff and I have started to here a creaking sound coming from my bike. We’ve had a hard time figuring out where it’s coming from so I’m going to have to take it to the shop to have it checked. I hope it’s nothing major but with the age of my bike I’m a little worried. I’ve kept it in pretty good shape and have had it overhauled a few times but over time things tend to wear out. And, unfortunately, with a bike of this age parts are a little hard to find so I’ve got my fingers crossed.

I’ll be unable to ride with the group again for a few weeks due to me heading to Jacksonville to see my family and be with my wife as she has a surgery. I plan on getting some neighborhood riding in on my Schwinn Hybrid that’s still there because I don’t want to stop right now. I think I’ve found a group to ride with and I think it’s going to do me good. I found myself consciously watching what I was eating and drinking on Saturday so I didn’t spoil the ride this morning. I can’t do much about my fitness right now except to keep riding but I can control what goes in my body to make sure I can ride as good as I can. I think the accountability of riding with a group is going to help.

Thanks to Cliff and Fred for the great ride today.