I've been running 4 times per week, cycling 2-3 times, and trying to get seasoned and fit. I've dropped about 13 pounds already, and I'm as skinny as I've been since high school. With that in mind, when Major Dave asked 'who wants to ride to the cannon' as a prep ride for the San Antonio ride, I signed up.
Riding to the cannon is a simple extension of one of our normal Saturday distance rides. We go to Progreso, then we keep on going. It was meant to be a century, but I turned out to be 106 miles for me (more on the confusion later). I left from my house, so my ride looked like this:
This was an amazing ride. I'll share a few tidbits about the ride:
Tidbit #1: Not Everybody is Into a Long RideWhen I hit Burger King at the 10 mile marker, I met up with Major Dave, Orangeman, and about 20 other Team McAllen riders. I was really excited that all of us would be hammering out a century together. Except when we hit Progreso and stopped for water, everyone turned back except me, the Major, and the Orange. Me and Orange were surprised, Major was nonplussed. We decided to stick with the plan, ride the century. Here's about a quarter of the bikes that stopped in Progreso:
Tidbit #2: Historical Markers are Fun
The reason we call this the Cannon Loop is that we ride past a Texas Historical Commission marker commemorating the Thornton Skirmish. It's near Las Rusias. According to the THC, this is the spot where "American blood was shed on American soil" on April 25, 1846. On that date, Captain Seth B. Thornton and 62 dragoons were attacked by Mexican troops. There's a cannon as part of the marker, but Major Dave tells me it's a naval cannon, so it's more for show than for history. Here I am next to the marker and the cannon:
Tidbit #3: Water, Water, Water
At one point on the ride, Major Dave looked at me and said 'you're overheating'. I sprayed water on my head, chest, and back. Orangeman volunteered some of his water and sprayed some more on my back. I was already staying hydrated, but the spray cooled me down quickly. After I split with the Major and Orange, I stopped again and bought a whole gallon of water from a convenience store cooler. I filled my bottle, drank some, refilled my bottle, then poured about a 1/2 gallon over my head. I had water in my shoes when I was done. I really think that without this cooldown, I wouldn't have made it. I didn't finish until ~12:30p, and it was HOT. Probably high 90s, possible close to 100F. You can heatstroke in this kind of heat if you don't take precautions.
Tidbit #4: Broken Computers Lead to Better Rides
My bike computer is on the fritz. Heart rate monitor doesn't work. Speedometer / odometer quit working today. I only had cadence for about 50% of the ride. So I had no idea of the actual distance until I got home and mapped the ride on MapMyRide. I think this helped me, because if I knew that I was actually past a century, I probably would have been pissed that I had 6 more miles to get home!
THANKS MAJOR AND ORANGE FOR ALL THE PULLS, CONVERSATION, ADVICE, AND WATER SHOWERS!