As you know, the wife and I are riding again this year in the BP MS150 ride from Houston to Austin in support of the National MS Society and those with Multiple Sclerosis. (Please help our fundraising campaign and donate if you can!)
Last year, my wife did the two day, ~150 mile ride cold turkey, because she was finishing her thesis and is stubborn. She made it, though not without various knee pains. Since I didn’t start working until March, I had lots of free time to train and get in long rides. But this year, we both signed up for the Ready 2 Roll training series, which is the official training series for the MS150. It’s been around for years and man do they have their shit together. Every week there are increasingly longer ride options, and they are fully supported. You have to give up sleeping in on Saturday for 12 weeks, but, it’s worth it especially if you love riding.
Anyway, this week was week 2, and I thought I’d try to take a few pics every week to share as we gear up for the big ride in April.
Took this after just pulling into the lot at Rhodes Stadium in Katy. We got there pretty early, around 6:50am. Huge thanks to Sun & Ski Sports for providing support at the start and at the rest stop, and also for selling us ear warmer/headbands because jesus it was cold that morning (~36*)
Here we are lined up at the start line waiting to go off in wave starts. There were probably ~800 people that showed up for the first ride. It was an easy out and back for about 24 miles total.
So this week was one of our team’s turns to volunteer to help support the ride. I volunteered to help at a rest stop since my car couldn’t carry 10 giant water jugs, or be used as a helpful SAG vehicle. It’s the first time I’ve been on the other side of the tables during a ride, and it was a great experience, helped by working with an awesome, fun group of volunteers – all people I’ve never met before.
Just beginning setup as it starts to get light out around 7:30am. All those jugs are full of water and a few will become Powerade.
Setting up tables on the other side as well, then we spent about 45 minutes taking all kinds of snacks and putting them into little dixie cups for the riders to come grab when they arrived.
Almost all set up. This wasn’t the Bike for Mike ride, but the lady who runs it – we were on her land and that ride starts from right here! I think I’ll be doing it this year because she was super awesome – also there are wine and burgers involved.
Some of the other volunteers. These folks were awesome. He brought that “knife” to help slice the bananas and oranges. But, someone forgot to buy them so the riders had to go without for this week!We were the 2nd rest stop, 22 miles into the ride. From here, people could either head back to the parking lot and go home, or continue on to complete a 38 or 44 mile route. Since it was a big loop, we saw some folks twice as they came back around for the 2nd time. Here, some early quick riders are starting to roll in.
We made these two guys our unofficial mascots of Rest Stop #2. They were locals, wandering about. They didn’t have collars so we hope they weren’t strays. They were pretty friendly and quite interested in our snacks. Either way, they added some cuteness and fun to the stop.
All told we wrapped things up around noon, and headed back to the main parking/staging area. About 99% of the riders had gone through and the few stragglers probably weren’t stopping at our stop since we were so close to the end.
I have to say, being on the other side of the tables this time was a great experience because even though I knew only one single rider that came through (a fellow from work on our team), everyone I talked to was super happy and very thankful for our help and support. And we were glad to be there supporting those riders. A strong cycling community truly is a fantastic thing.
My favorite part of any of these rides is watching those who aren’t strong cyclists trying their hardest to reach their goal of X amount of miles for the first time. Even when they roll in, late in the game, slow and tired, there’s always a group of volunteers at a rest stop to cheer you on and get you back on the road to finish. It’s a great feeling, and a great thing to watch and be a part of.
I’m looking forward to next week’s ride since I didn’t get to ride this week. I’m not sure where it is, but I hope the weather holds!