who all here is in Corpus?
Im about to get me a Raleigh sport, cause im still a senior at Calallen, i plan on coming out to ride with the B group till i get good enough, i have been going 20 miles a day on my cruddy wal-mart road bike.
I look forward to riding with a group and i plan on going to the conquer the coast. From anybody who has done it before how hard is it?
Conquer the Coast, assuming they have it this year, is, in my opinion, one of the best rides in the state. As for the difficulty... well, it is 65 miles in distance (assuming we're talking about the long course around the bay, and not the short one down Ocean Drive), which in itself is one thing, but it only consists of two climbs really... so there's the good news I guess. I've ridden it every year, except for last year, when it got rained out, and usually describe the ride in three stages to friends wanting to ride it for the first time...
The first challenge is the climb up the Harbor Bridge. Most people are intimidated by this the first time they look at the route, but honestly, it isn't that bad of a climb, and since you hit it at the start of the ride, your adrenaline alone will carry you over it before you know it. The long coast on the downhill side is also totally worth it, and you can hit 40+ mph without even trying, so be careful! After that, it is a nice leisurely ride out to the ferry at Port A.
The second part is the most difficult, in my opinion, and that is the 18 miles down Mustang Island, also commonly called the "Toughest 18 Miles In Texas." The road out there is terrible chipseal, you're usually riding straight into a headwind of double-digit strength, and by the time you get out there, the sun is fairly high up, and the temp has risen a bunch. There is only one rest stop once you're on that 18 mile stretch, and it is in what is known as the "gravel pit" so it isn't the most shady spot in South TX... heh! That's where I see most people get into trouble, usually b/c they have not hydrated properly.
The last "challenge" is going up the JFK Causeway. That, to me, is a tougher climb than the Harbor Bridge, whether it be the grade, the wind, or just b/c it is towards the end of the ride, and the legs are already tired. It thankfully is short, and also has a great downhill ride after you reach the top.
My advice would be to just keep riding, riding, riding. Definitely ride with the group(s) around town, and I would probably go ahead and invest in a camelback if you haven't already. The #1 complaint I hear about CtC is the heat/dehydration. It is such a fun ride, that I guess people forget to hit the rest areas and refuel or something!
And thank you for the information, i have been out of town and have not gotten to ride with a group, i am still looking to get a good bike, right now i have a 150$ wal-mart road bike and i have been going 25 miles a day, i am looking at trek but really dont have the money to buy new.