Sunday, April 26, 2015

2015 BP MS-150

The largest charity bike ride in North America is the BPMS-150.  It is a two day ride from Houston to Austin with a mandatory fundraising amount of $400 for every rider.  The ride is capped at 13,000 riders!  Last year, 2014, the ride raised over $20 Million for the MS Society.

Riders packet

This year because of epic rains for a week leading up to the ride, the overnight campground at the La Grange Fairgrounds was too flooded and the ride organizers cancelled the first day.  Since I had friends and family, many from outside Texas, donating $$ for me to do this ride I didn't want them to think I spent Saturday on the couch.  I got a few teammates together and we did a 50 mile ride from Katy.  I like this route because it looks kind of like Texas.

Our day 1 well it's cancelled but we gotta ride something route

For the second day the official start was at the courthouse in La Grange. We decided to avoid the sea of people and start on the route a few miles past the official starting point.  This made our ride into Austin a little shorter- 63 miles instead of 67.  So my final stats ended up- rode 113 miles and raised $650.  This is such an iconic ride in Houston that I think I'll do it every year.

Our day 2 route.  We cheated ahead by 4-5 miles

 Last year my two regrets for the ride were that I didn't slow down and enjoy the first day.  A lot of people come out to cheer the riders and make it a festival like atmosphere, I wanted to take that in more.  The other regret was not doing the challenge route the second day.  Well the first day was cancelled and the challenge route was flooded out.  Next year!

Thank you from a woman with MS

Spectators cheering on their family

Top of one of the day 2 hills

Finish line from the spectator side

I had a few conversations while on the road.  I was riding with my old company and had a nice chat with a client from that company.  I went up to a guy who was killing it on his mountain bike and told him he was doing great.  He told me he was tired.  He said he rode the first day route the day before from the start of Terry Hershey Park to La Grange.  His hotel was in Smithville- an extra 20 mile ride- so he had ridden 120 miles the previous day.  I also stopped at a make shift stand a woman with MS had made to cheer on the riders.  I bumped into one of my son's old preschool teachers and we had a good chat.  And of course this being Texas the ride showed the extremes of our weather.  Epic rains, flooded campgrounds and routes, to a sunny 90 degree day on Sunday.  Classic.  Here is my crossing the finish line video.  Until next year BP MS-150, cheers!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Trek Recall

Personally I would never buy a Trek after what they did to Greg Lemond but if you did there is a recall on.  Apparently if you are riding one of their bikes with a front disc brake and your quick release is open you can crash.  Who knew?  Riding full out with your quick release open sounds like a great way to get famous via the Darwin Awards.  Damn recall is gonna get in the way of that.   Details here:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

BPMS150 Why I Ride Video

The MS Society just released this video "Why I Ride"  It is pretty powerful.

The other day I was speaking on the phone with a woman and I noticed on her LinkedIn profile she listed that she had been a MS Ambassador.  We started talking about the MS 150 ride and she told me she did the ride for years, but for medical reasons, she could no longer do it.  I told her I had previously started a team and was doing the ride again this year even though I haven't trained enough.  As we were ending our conversation she thanked me for helping with MS fundraising and awareness. Her gratitude was so sincere, heartfelt, and earnest.  I was kind of taken back and then I realized she said "for medical reasons she can no longer do the ride" and it hit me, she must have MS.  I just thought she was a bike enthusiast and was having a breezy conversation.  I guess it is easy to forget that this ride is for charity and means a ton to those with MS and their families.  I know when I cross that finish line in Austin I'll be thinking of the woman and our conversation.

You can learn more about the ride here  It is not too late to donate or volunteer

Monday, April 6, 2015

Road Rage On The Bike Path

So commuting by bike is supposed to be my healthy alternative to the madness that is commuting by car in Houston, but tonight I got in a bit of a row on my commute home.  This happened where the shared use path around Barker Reservoir ends at Sergeant Hatch Park.   You know where people who drive their cars, to go ride their bikes, end up parking.  So I am coming upon the exit of the path and there is another rider approaching from the other side to enter the path.  There is only room for one bicyclist at a time to pass.  So who has right of way when two cyclists are approaching at nearly the same time?

My first rule is if there is a brutal wind whoever is eating the 20-30 mph headwinds has my respect and the right of way.  Barring that I think it should be the person exiting.  Here is my reasoning:

1) Do you barge onto the elevator when the doors open and before people have a chance to get off?
2) In this case I was in the middle of my ride/commute and the other rider hadn't even started his ride, he can wait.
3) I'm riding with fully loaded panniers on each side of the bike.  Cut a guy some slack.
4) But mostly his ride hadn't even started.  Let the other rider exit the path and then go!

So as I approach the exit the other rider makes no assertive move or clear intention that he thinks he has the right of way.  He was kind of paused before the gate and I decided he was waiting for me and I made my move.  As I passed through the gate we came close to each other and he looked uncomfortable, I almost think he was having trouble getting in and out of his clips, and loudly called me an "idiot".  I didn't take to this at all.  I stopped my bike dropped a "F You" back to him, invited him to stop, turned my bike around and went through the gate, re-invited him to stop, and called him a spiteful woman with a 5 letter word but he kept riding away. Of course I am going to keep my eyes out for Mr new bike, new kit, can't get in his clips, drive to go ride his bike, shit talker.  I got a couple ideas for him.

Then a couple miles into George Bush Park I saw a young girl getting helped to the trail parking area.  It looked like someone was calling her an ambulance.  From the way they were immobilizing her arm at the elbow I think she had a broken collarbone.  Just a nasty injury.  I feel terrible for her.  I want people out on the shared use paths enjoying their bikes.  I guess in retrospect I'm glad the "idiot" caller didn't take me up on my offer.  We should be having fun out there folks!