Last weekend was our 2nd BP MS150. Unfortunately, weather cut the event in half – the MS Society and event coordinators canceled day 1 of the ride due to bad conditions. It had been raining and storming heavily on and off all week, and we got nailed again Thursday night and Friday night. This caused the campgrounds at the half-way overnight point in La Grange almost completely flooded leaving no place to put 13,000 riders and their tents. With the threat of more storms Saturday night, having a bunch of tents in a soppy field isn’t the best in an electrical storm either. This was only the 2nd time in the entire 31 years the MS150 has been going on that one of the days had to be canceled. But, it is what it is.
So, riders had to find their way out to La Grange to begin on day 2 if they wanted to. I was lucky enough to be given a ride by my wife – who was originally going to be riding with me. But she decided to not ride, and instead gave me a lift out there.
Turns out most of the registered riders wouldn’t let the weather and a distant start line deter them either, as upwards of 10,000 still showed up. The day’s route was slightly altered, giving us about a 70 mile route from La Grange into Austin.
Me & Chainsaw after getting suited up in La Grange
As far as the ride itself – the hills get pretty rough the closer you get to Austin, and this time there was a pretty stiff headwind for pretty much the entire 2nd half of the ride. Plus, it was approaching 90 degrees in the afternoon so that hurt as well.
Pics w/ captions below. Click for larger versions.
The long flat parts are breakpoints. You can see my long lunch break right in the middle lol
Caught some good speed on a few of the descents as well.
It took almost an hour for me to filter around the village square to the starting line, so I got out a little later than most, and I rolled across the finish line around 4:15pm.
The starting area was the village square in the heart of little La Grange. Riders wrapped around three sides of it and extended down a few of the intersecting streets.
Looking down finally to the start line all the way to the right.
Almost our turn to set off.
Looking behind me at the start line before heading out.
Once we got rolling it was a blast (duh).
Thankfully, everyone did a good job and rode pretty safely.
Rest stop #2 – I skipped rest stop #1.
Looking behind me up the hill at the line of riders waiting. There was a rider who went down at the bottom of the hill (about 50 ft in front of where I was standing). They stopped us all, and called in the ambulance. It happened just before we got down the hill. They hauled him out braced up on a stretcher. The bike looked to be in OK condition so I think he maybe got clipped by another rider and went down, which is better than having an incident with a motorist. We waited about 30 minutes and then we were off.
Sherman resting at the lunch stop. Thanks to Jason’s Deli for providing the much needed nourishment!
Lots of bikes on the rails at the lunch stop.
And lots of riders at the lunch stop too.
Back out on the road.
Back out on the road.
The mascot for the Houston Dynamo made the ride too! In fact the mascots for the Rockets and the Astros rode too. I don’t know how they do it without dying of heatstroke but, much respect for them!
Pulling into the last rest stop. Needed the rest – my legs were killing me. Too bad there were more – worse – hills to come! There was only about 9 miles left.
The Austin skyline appears. A fabulous site to see.
I didn’t get a picture of crossing the finish line, so I took this after dropping off my bike and walking back up the hill. Lots of riders still coming across the line, and tons of folks cheering them all on. Incredible experience.
Facing directly opposite from the previous picture – looking at the Texas State Capital Building. Lots of people take finishing photos holding up their bikes in front of it.
We ran into some pretty crazy weather on the way home – rain, lightning, hail, and a tornado watch!
I want to extend my sincere thanks to the folks at the MS Society for scrambling to give us the ride we were hoping for, and to all the volunteers who helped at the rest stops, the start and finish lines, and everywhere in between. The SAG support along the route is 2nd to none. Y’all helped turn a potential disaster of a weekend into a half-event that was just as fabulous.
And thank you to everyone who donated to our fund raising efforts for the MS Society. Fund raising continues through the end of May, so please donate if you still want to!
And thus ends another MS150 season. It’s started with the Ready2Roll training rides in the beginning of February, and ended last weekend in Austin. And…I can’t wait to do it again next year!