11 April 2008

MS150 2008 - Riding for a Cure

Saturday and Sunday I am leaving Houston on my bicycle and riding to Austin. It's for the BP MS150, a charity ride benefiting the Lone Star Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Riding that far is not easy. We get sore, tired, and occasionally wreck, but we expect a few problems when 13,000 cyclists of varying experience levels are sharing the road with automobiles and each other. We are buoyed by the volunteers and supporters along the trail, who post encouraging signs and cheer us on along the road. I have ridden many organized bicycle rides, and the emotional and physical support riders receive on the MS150 is one of the best.

The weather is supposed to be dry, but cold in the morning. That's OK, because we have long-sleeved shirts to put over our colorful jerseys. We're riding with Team Saint Arnold, a large (250+) member team supported by the Saint Arnold Brewery. The employees and volunteers take good care of us. They provide a large circus-type tent to sleep in, carry our cots, sleeping bags, and baggage, and feed us great food and cold beer.

To train for the MS150, Max & I rode 56 miles last weekend in the Texas Hill Country. We rode from Fredericksburg to Sisterdale and back. The ride had some challenging hills, but the views were great and the weather was perfect. We stopped at a bat cave (old railroad tunnel) viewing area, managed by the Texas Parks Dept. The traffic on the narrow back roads were light, except for the motorcyclists, also taking advantage of the great weather. I support motorcyclists and their rights, but damn, when I'm on a bicyle, enjoying the quiet and the scenery, those Harleys are loud! Most of the motorcyclists were polite and shared the road. I was disappointed to see one pull out a 7Up, glass, and a fifth of whiskey at one of the stops along the road. Luckily, we didn't encounter this particular biker on the road!

We passed through Grapetown, a very tiny spot in the road. It's very pretty around there.

When I bicycle, I don't ride alone. I have a friendly face watching my back and the view from my Camelbak. He doesn't have a name, but he loves riding with me, never complains, and proudly wears a LiveStrong plastic bracelet.

I hope everyone driving between Houston and Austin this weekend will share the road with all of us cyclists. We will gladly share the road with you!