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Thanks for the kind words, Leslie. I am happy you and Bob Zavala joined me for the Conquer the Coast ride.

Right now, I feel a bit like NBC-TV's "Heroes" character Hiro Nakamura after he teleports himself from Tokyo to New York City. Raising his arms in the air, he shouts "Yatta" (I did it)! Well, I completed the 65-mile Conquer the Coast ride in Corpus Christi on Saturday. That was my "Yatta!" moment.

The course opened with a prayer, "The Star-Spangled Banner" and a countdown at 7:30 a.m. I, along with about 500 other bicyclists, began the ride with a 139-foot climb up the Harbor Bridge. That's where I met up with Leslie and Bob. At the top of the bridge, we were rewarded with a sweeping view of the bay and a half dozen shrimp boats sailing toward the rising run. Beautiful!

Leslie had a flat tire in Portland, about 7 miles into the ride and ,while changing inner tubes, had her picture taken by a Corpus Christi Caller-Times photographer.  Leslie's picture made it to the Caller-Times Web site. http://www.caller.com/photos/galleries/2008/sep/28/conquer-coast/11027/

As Leslie was nearly finished with her tire, I pedaled on ahead to try and catch up with my other ride buddies, John Rodriguez Sr. and John Rodriguez Jr. I caught up with them hours later at the Padre Island rest stop. Leslie and Bob caught up with me at the Port Aransas rest stop and we pedaled to the ferry and across to Mustang Island.

After negotiating that 18-mile stretch of island, we stopped briefly at Padre Island and then tackled the JFK Causeway. Ride organizers had the right lane open for us riders but closed to four-wheeled traffic. After pedaling nearly 50 miles, I thought  climbing that causeway would be tough but it went smoothly. Reaching the top, we were once again rewarded with a beautiful view of the bay.

A few turns later, we pedaled through the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station and the last few miles on Ocean Drive. Reaching the finish line 6 hours after we started, riders were cheered and given a ribboned medallion and a hamburger and hot dog lunch. For me, that Dos Equis beer booth was a welcome site (I only had 2 cups of the tasty brew).

This year's ride seemed easier and more enjoyable. I attribute that to the beautiful weather, great support along the way and wonderful riding companions. Thanks Leslie, Bob, John Sr. and John Jr. Hope to see you all at the Missions Tour de Goliad ride in October!

Eric