This past weekend, I rode in the 2006 Cowtown Classic Ride. Despite the name, it does not take place in Fort Worth (also known as "Cowtown"). The ride began and ended in Crowley (just south of Fort Worth). There were several different routes, the longest of which was 65 miles. I rode that route.
The weather was perfect! There was good cloudcover. It was reasonably cool (high 70's to the low 80's). The wind was reasonably calm. It was great. The course wound over some decent hills (nothing huge, but enough to make you work through the gears some). All in all, I really enjoyed the ride.
The only downside was the course markings and a few traffic control situations. The road was marked with tiny arrows just prior to intersections to let you know which way to go. If you happened to miss them, you had to count on the peace officers at the intersections. At two intersections, the officers pointed us down the wrong road. Luckily, we figured out the mistake quickly both times and got back on course. At one intersection, the officer was getting something to drink from the rest stop and wasn't even there to direct traffic. Those issues aside, I really enjoyed the ride.
I finished the 65 mile course in 3 hours and 10 minutes with an average speed of 20.5 mph. For a while (through about mile 40), I rode in the lead group. I even took my turns pulling for a while. We averaged 23-24mph for a good ways and had some stretches where we sprinted upt to 30+mph. I was just glad to be able to keep up.
I did discover that I do NOT like chocolate Gu packs. Vanilla Gu packs are reasonably thin and go down with no problem. Chocolate Gu packs are thicker and can choke you up if you are breathing hard. I discovered this right before a set of hills. I couldn't get my breath and wound up falling out of the lead group. I never did catch back up.