Here is another illustration for the Notable Missourian book on Albert Bond Lambert, written by Christopher Lynch and published by Truman State University Press.
Before there were airplanes or dirigibles, balloons were the way to experience flying. The problem with flying a balloon is you're totally at the mercy of the air. You go where the wind blows you. Of course this made it exciting too. Albert Bond Lambert, ever the adventurer, spent much of his time flying and racing balloons. In fact some people thought he spent so much time with his gas filled hobby that he was neglecting his job as a city counsilman.
The more I think about it, "balloon race" is a bit of a misnomer as it was more about distance then getting somewhere first. How far would they go? Well, one time Albert and his fellow aeronaut H.E. Honeywell packed two fried chickens, twelve sandwiches, water and a thermos of coffee....so they clearly planned to be aloft for awhile. They landed almost 20 hours after takeoff in Tiger, Georgia - 450 miles away from where they started in St Louis.