For the second time Robyn and I did Conquer the Coast - a ride starting in Corpus Christi with the 65 mile route circling around the Corpus Christi Bay.
The weather cooperated this year and scenery was beautiful.
Robyn and I were quite the attention getters with the following picture being taken at the start by the local newspaper and then appearing the next day in the Sunday morning newspaper.
Outside of a couple of loops around the neighborhood to get the fit correct this would be my first significant ride in the new DF-XL.
Just seconds before the ride started I snapped this picture while setting in the DF-XL.
The ride started in waves. First they let out a the fastest group of about 20 riders who were planning on averaging about 22 mph for the ride.
They waited 5 minutes and then let out the first wave of 65 mile route riders who where trying to average 20 mph for the ride. There were probably over 100 riders in this group. I started in the middle of this second group.
They waited another five minutes and then let out the third wave of 65 mile riders. In all there were 1,000 riders on the 65 mile route.
The Big Hill (Harbor Bridge)
Immediately after the ride starts you have to climb the Harbor Bridge. This is a 6 percent grade for about 1⁄2 mile.
The DF was pretty easy to get up the hill. The velo only weighs 50 pounds and the drive train is very stiff. I put out 200 to 215 watts all the way up averaging around 8 mph on the 6 percent grade. Still I was almost the last one to the top out of the first two groups and many people in the third group also passed me.
Race To The Ferry
Cresting the bridge the DF zoomed right up to 38 mph and would have keep accelerating except I got scared and started riding the brakes. This was my first ride on the velo and I didn’t want to test the maximum speed possible right away.
After the Harbor bridge the ride was flat, flat, flat. I held the watts at 163 and the heart rate at 153 steady and just started passing people left and right. I was a little concerned whether I could hold this effort for the whole 65 miles but I knew I would get at least a 20 minute rest break while waiting to cross the ferry to Port Aransas.
The 163 watts effort was putting me at about 28 mph and I was really making up for lost time climbing the Harbor bridge.
Right around the 10 mile mark I pass the lead pace line of what I thought was the first group. There was nobody else in front for as far as I could see. I kept the effort up because I wanted to be first to the bridge.
Slowly I started catching single riders who where going pretty fast, but not 28 mph. After several of these riders I slowly came upon what I knew now to be the very first fast riders who started 5 minutes before me. There were about 10 of them in a very professional pace line rotating out about every 20 seconds just like clockwork.
I paced them for a little while to catch my breath and then I put forth a pretty good burst of energy to pass them and start pulling away. After I got about 50 yards out I think they slowed down a little because I seemed to be pulling away quicker without any more effort. Needless to say when I saw them dropping away in the rear view mirror I let up a little bit on the effort myself.
I missed the right hand turn to the ferry because the sheriff was standing in front of it and nobody waved me to turn. I notice the guys behind be turn in my rear view mirror, and knowing they probably weren’t stopping at the rest stop there, I immediately u-turned went back to the corner and asked the sheriff which way the route went. Now I went from first to about twentieth and just tried to maintain my position the next five miles to the ferry.
When I got the ferry there were about twenty people in front of me. Probably another 80 riders arrived before we got on the ferry to cross just before 9 am.
The ride started at 7:30 am and I think I averaged 22 mph on the 28 mile route to the ferry.
Shows averaging 22 mph for the first 28 miles to the ferry.
Down Mustang Island
Of course, once off the ferry everyone hops on their bike and with extreme side-to-side in-your-face motion proceed to leave me in their dust.
Once we got to the other side of Port Aransas and start heading down Mustang Island I start reeling them in. Onesies, twosies at first. Then a big ol’ pace line. The pace sped up to match my pace but started drifting back.
They were rotating out of the front and about every fifth position this one strong rider would come to the front and they would start catching me pretty fast. As soon as the strong guy rotated out I would put more distance between me and them. After a couple of miles of this they gave up and let me go.
Towards the bottom of Mustang Island I really starting to wear out. About mile 45 I decided to start riding a little easier. Even though I’m pretty wore out the DF is still cruising at 19 to 20 mph back up the coast towards Corpus Christi.
Three hours and 42 minutes elapsed time I finish the 66.5 mile route. The ferry wait and crossing was 18 minutes so my actual ride time was 3 hours and 24 minutes. I did not stop at any rest stops.
Crossing the finish line one of the vendors really wanted his picture (with advertisement) taken with the velo.
What about the DF vs. Quest?
There were 1,000 riders doing the 65 mile route. I probably came in the top 30 finishers. The DF is a cruising machine.
I’ll post later this week about DF teething pains and a comparison between the DF and the Quest.
The Quest is an awesome machine and previously the fastest of all my recumbents.
The DF is definitely a keeper and the Quest is going up for sale (along with a few other of my bents).