It's a shame that most fun outdoor hobbies require the same weather conditions to be pleasant. There's only so much time when you've got good weather, and all the activities are vying for the same amount of time. Why does it seem like there's nothing to do when it's pouring rain with 40 knot winds?
The weather was absolutely amazing this weekend, so it was with much sadness we had to tear ourselves away from the new boat for the 2013 BP MS 150. Much, much sadness.
The MS 150 is an annual event where cyclists ride from Houston to Austin to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and to raise awareness of those living with MS. This was my sixth year involved with the event and third year as team captain. I'd ridden it twice before in 2009 and 2010, and I guess I'd forgotten the misery of riding what is actually 183 miles over the course of two days, so instead of just volunteering this year, I was back in the saddle.
I had meant to do more training. I started doing a lot of squats and leg work back in December, but I kind got busy. Plus, it's way more fun to hang out on the boat than it is to get up early on Saturday and drive out to the bike trails and exhaust myself, etc. I did spend at least an hour a week on a spin trainer, which is better than nothing, but I'll admit, I wasn't really prepared for the ride. Fred is a hard worker, and is never afraid to go the extra mile to do something right, it's just his self control that is lacking. His biggest weaknesses happen to be doughnuts, beer and pizza.
Mary has volunteered with me for the past two years, and I gave her a pass this year since I probably wouldn't get to La Grange, the day 1 stop, or Austin, the day 2 stop until late. However, knowing I was riding on sheer willpower, she volunteered anyway. (I'm pretty sure she thought I might have a heart attack along the route and didn't want to live with the guilt if she was having a boat party, and I died during a charity event.) This is more than 100% true.
I did not ride it fast, but I did ride it. I left Houston at 7 a.m. and arrived in La Grange at 4:30 p.m. Saturday -- the grueling 100-mile stretch. Then we left La Grange around 7:20 a.m. Sunday after waking up at 4:30 because some overly-excited volunteer decided to turn on the generator and switch on the lights. Plus I was awake all night due to the freezing cold. There is no cuddling for warmth when everyone has to sleep on old military style cots. Thank goodness there was hot coffee catered to the tent this year.
I made it into Austin around 2:30 p.m. He was right in the middle of the riders. I was super proud.
It was an amazing feeling to have someone cheering for me at the finish line both days. It's very exciting to see the relief and happiness on hundreds of riders faces as they pass the finish line. I just wish they would have avoided making any loud explosion type sounds in Austin. No one seemed worried though, it was all together a great time. Nothing like seeing small children cheering for their Dad.
I was extra thankful that she was there in Austin to drive me and my bicycle back to Houston, so I didn't have to wait another four hours to come back on the bus.
The MS 150 weekend is incredibly tiring, but it feels good that I raised $625 for MS research, and my team has raised more than $50,000 so far this year. However, I'll be very happy to be back on the boat this weekend.