On Tuesday Adrian invited Jeff and I to go down to Corpus in the new coach for Conquer the Coast. I decided it was a great idea since my Galveston ride did not go at all as planned. But then I started looking at the forecast and it really looked like it might be a repeat of Galveston. I decided to take my trainer and if nothing else I'd spend most of Saturday on the trainer in the coach. Even with a plan I stressed about the weather all week. Conquer the Coast is a 65 mile ride so I needed to add on 35 extra miles, when I started to look for a good route I realized Corpus is not the most bike friendly city and adding on mileage would be a challenge, I came up with a couple of plans and figured we'd make the final call on Friday night.
On Friday morning we packed and headed out to the coach. We were all excited about the first trip in the new coach and I was really impressed at how comfortably 3 people, 3 bikes, and 5 dogs traveled for 4+ hours. Katie, Ahbear, Bonzi, Riley, and Connor (just his tail in the picture) relaxing on the way to Corpus. Adrian loved how comfortable Bonzi was hanging out on the dash. It rained off and on on the way down and we even saw a big double rainbow! Shortly after we got there we realized there would be no hanging out in the lawn chairs enjoying a nice summer night in Corpus. There were millions of gigantic, vicious mosquitoes everywhere! Instead we hung out inside and figured out the ride plan. I planned to do the first 50 miles of the ride and then meet Jeff and turn onto the Padre National Seashore road and do a couple of out and backs there. The coach all set up at the campsite We were running a little late Saturday morning but still got there before the start and even found Ron & Leslie. Me, Leslie, Ron, & Adrian just before the start- Ron looks really tall next to all of us short people!
We started and almost immediately my legs felt a little sluggish, I figured I just needed to warm up. Annette found me in the crowd of over 1000 people and we chatted as we started up the first causeway. She got ahead of me after a couple of miles and I couldn't figure out why my legs already felt tired and I was going so slow! I caught Ron & Leslie after they had stopped at the first rest stop and told them "my legs feel like crap! this might be a really long day, just go on ahead and don't wait for me" They went ahead and soon I saw Annette waiting for me at the side of the road. She asked if I was ok and I told her I was having a tough time. She said she wasn't in a hurry and if I didn't mind the company she'd ride with me, totally fine by me! At 12.5 miles I was still feeling bad and decided there was no reason for it, so I stopped to make sure there wasn't a problem with my bike. I got off and everything looked ok, I spun the back wheel- fine. I spun the front wheel and it didn't even make half a revolution! CRAP! My front brake had been rubbing, and not just a little bit, for the first 12.5 miles! What a stupid mistake! I usually check it when I put air in my tires, but we were in a big hurry at the start and Jeff aired up my tires for me. I didn't know whether to be happy that it was something easy and I could have a good ride now or to be mad that I made such a stupid mistake and it took me 12 miles to check it! Within a couple of minutes after fixing it, Annette said "Wow! There's the Heather I know!" Thanks for hanging out with me even though I wasn't my happy, smiley self for those first miles Annette!!
After that, Annette and I chatted, enjoyed the scenery and had a great ride all the way to the ferry. Crossing the bridges and looking out over the water was awesome. Most of the route was chip seal, which I generally hate, but this wasn't the horrible chip seal that makes you feel like you're getting shaken to death, it was just slightly annoying. At the ferry landing we found Melissa and on the ferry I found Ron & Leslie. Annette & Melissa on the ferry me on the ferry Annette had to make a stop in Port Aransas for shrimp spices, she brought a bag to put in her jersey pocket and everything! I decided I wanted to keep riding instead of shop for spices, she said there was a "gravel pit rest stop" a few miles up and I could meet her there, I told her that sounded good, if we could find each other- great, if not- no worries. Even though I was riding alone, I really enjoyed this part of the ride, they called it the "Toughest 18 miles in Texas" but we had a cross/tailwind, the views were really nice and the weather was beautiful, so I didn't think it was tough at all. I was at least 3 miles past the "gravel pit rest stop" when I realized that what I had blown by was probably the "gravel pit rest stop" so I missed getting to ride with Annette again. At mile 48 I came to the next rest stop and Jeff was there waiting for me. He suggested we put my bike on the jeep and drive down the coast a mile or 2 to get away from the traffic- good call!
Jeff and I started riding down the park road with an insane tailwind! We talked about my ride and Jeff said he had driven the route and that Adrian was leading the ride for at least the 50 miles he had driven, apparently Adrian decided to race the charity ride and won! We laughed about how easy the ride was and we couldn't really feel the wind, but we knew we'd be miserable when we turned around. The chip seal was starting to bother me more so I was really happy that the last 6 or 8 miles of the park road was smoother. In 14 miles the road ended at the beach, we turned around and got blasted by headwind! It was almost impossible to talk over the wind noise- no more laughing, talking, and joking! After 12 miles I stopped to turn around and ask Jeff if he wanted to do the last 25 miles with me or not. He said no way, can't blame him, that headwind was crazy! So he went and got the jeep to come back and follow me while I turned around for more.
I was disappointed in Galveston when I didn't get to find out if the tailwind going out on a second loop would make me feel better after a long miserable stretch of headwind. The answer is Absolutely! Within a minute of turning around I was going fast and feeling great again! My hands and butt hurt from all the chip seal, but otherwise I was still happy to be riding at mile 88 when I hit the beach again! I told Jeff I was DONE riding on chip seal so I rode back on the park road until the chip seal started and turned around to do the last few miles on the nice road- apparently "slightly annoying" chip seal becomes really annoying after 100 miles! 100 miles in Corpus accomplished! I definitely got some good wind training in and I need to remember that when I get out of the headwind in Cozumel I'll feel better again. I ran 4 miles with Jeff following me and giving me water, and then I was done with my longest training day ever! I couldn't have done it without Jeff, he rode 28 miles with me and then followed me around in the jeep telling me I was doing great for over 2 hours! I couldn't ask for a more supportive or more awesome husband!
We got back to the coach and Adrian, Ron, & Leslie all seemed surprised that I was happy and feeling pretty good. We hung out, cleaned up, had a margarita or 2 and went out for a big seafood dinner-yum!
As usual I was worried that my Sunday run would suck after such a long day on Saturday. I started running a little before 7am and was immediately attacked by the giant, vicious mosquitoes. They were annoying, but I just dealt with it, so I guess if there are a million giant, vicious mosquitoes at Cozumel I will just deal with it then too. My legs felt pretty tired and sore for the first 3 miles, but after that I felt pretty good for the next 10 miles. The route I ran was a little boring since I couldn't see the water except in 1 place, I did see some roseate spoonbills there. I couldn't believe that in 16 miles I didn't see another runner at all, except Adrian, definitely not like Austin! At 13 miles I stopped at the coach for more water and the last 3 miles were tougher, maybe because I stopped at 13 even though it was just for a minute or 2. But I did it, a 16 mile run the day after 100 miles on the bike and a 4 mile run! Connor, me and Riley relaxing after my run
All that worrying about the weather was for nothing, I didn't see a drop of rain the entire time we were in Corpus! This was a perfect training weekend, I got to experience all of the things I'm worried about in Cozumel and some I hadn't even thought of- wind, humidity, salt spray, a little blowing sand, and gigantic, vicious mosquitoes. I dealt with them all pretty well so that's a big confidence boost for Cozumel! Katie, Connor & Riley excited to be home