Friday, April 17, 2009

'MS 150 Houston to Austin'

(Paddy, Me)
With the loss of all my blog posts, it now gives me the opportunity to begin a new leg of my journey with my Mule (my bike) and to start afresh with only hours left to the start of this years MS 150

The beginning
Living in England and a keen cyclist I was first invited to take part in 'The BP MS150 Houston to Austin Charity ride ' back in 2006. My twin brother Paddy lives in Houston and is always looking for reasons for me to visit.
For those living outside Texas or in fact living anywhere on the rest of the world you may not be criticized too harshly for not knowing what the MS 150 was, but for those within the lone star state it features on the calender alongside, thanksgiving, Christmas and the mother in laws visiting times.
For the uninitiated let me explain.
It is a two day charity cycle ride in Texas run by the Multiple Sclerosis Lone Star Chapter and supports the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The two-day cycling adventure takes riders from Houston to Austin and provides a unique tour of Texas hill country.
Riders peddle between 140 and 160 miles (depending on starting point) on routes that snake through many small Texas towns. The event features an overnight stay at the Fayette County Fairgrounds in La Grange. However, it's not just Texans that participate. Riders come from across the world to endure the hills, headwinds, sun, heat and even rain. Young and old, all ride to support friends, loved ones and those inflicted with MS. All in all it attracts 13,000 +

Knowing that it was always staged in April, I reluctantly accepted.
You see this is not a good time for an English recreational road cyclist.
Winter training is never good at the best of times. The pros do it in Italy, Teneriffe or Columbia. But for me it would be Yorkshire.
Americans often ask 'Where is that?' Well its up in the North of England. It has the same sort of standing in England, as Texas does in The USA. However it is cold !!!!!
Winter training in ice, snow and winter gales did not quite have the same appeal as the Dolomite's, or Bogota.
However us Yorkshire folk are a hardy bunch with a mixture of Celt, Anglo Saxon and Nordic blood running through our veins.

The idea of riding past illuminated Christmas trees and sheds which contained road bikes wrapped up snugly for winter had some sort of masochist appeal. So what if you got frost bite and had to wear 13 layers of clothing.

In my pre MS 150 days my training calender was something like this

January - Read Cycle Magazines in Bathroom.
February - Occasionally peep outside to make sure shed is still there and not blown away by winter Gales. Read Cycle Magazines in Bathroom.
March - Occasional visit to my shed to make sure that my cycle has not been stolen. Read Cycle Magazines in Bathroom.
April - Get my bike out of the shed and tell everybody that I'm going cycling at the weekend. Only to cowardly return the bike back after watching the weather forecast. Read Cycle Magazines in Bathroom.
May - Cycle to lovely country pub up a ten mile climb drink lots of ale and free wheel home. Read Cycle Magazines in Bathroom.
June - Break out the Lycra, regular cycling and moderate weight loss, ale replaced by Bananas and protein drinks.No time to Read Cycle Magazines in Bathroom.
July - Cycling two hundred plus miles a week including the odd 'sportive' dreaming of buying a better bike. Lost my own winter blanket around my waist. No time to Read Cycle Magazines in Bathroom.
August - Fully bike fit now and tackling the 'Devils Chimney' (This testing climb will feature in future blogs), Doing centurion rides (100 mile races) looking like some two wheeled God.
What cycle magazines he scoffs!!!!!!!!
September - Cycle rides get shorter with the odd visit to the country pub for lunch of Ale and steak pie.bananas relegated to fruit bowl.
October - Bike gets lovingly placed in shed and covered by a tartan blanket.
November - Subscribe to cycling Magazines.
December - Reading Cycling magazines and choosing variety of different sized cycle tops for Christmas.
Now I only really take a break from October to December.
Four years on and considerably lighter and fitter, I am now hooked by cycling, and very much bitten by the MS150 bug.
This will be my third ride and certainly the best prepared.
This year I managed to drag myself out of bed on cold winter mornings and total over 1,700 miles since the turn of the year. There were some very bleak days.
Since arriving in Texas a week ago I have completed a further 270 warm miles including the 'Katy Ram' and various training rides exploring Houston. I have also met some great like minded cyclists who have affirmed my belief that cycling is an incredible sport, past time, and leisure activity which seems to bring out the best in people.
The MS 150 is one of many charity rides I try to complete throughout the year.
I am also dipping my pedals into the world of time trialing and sportives, which I love, but really I need a thoroughbred rather than Scott my Mule, to compete.
I am back in Texas in August to take part in the Hotter than Hell, in Witchita Falls.
My blog will feature the highs and lows of my travels with my mule and will include topical commentaries on anything that takes my fancy. Hopefully it will be light and humorous and have some tenuous link with cycling.

As all of my previous post were lost I now attach a series of recent photographs.

See you all in Austin
Frank from Vail, Colorado. A great Guy who joined us in Terry Hersey Park for two days. Sandwiched between twins Ouch !!!!!!!



















Our BHP Billiton Team Shirts worn for the Katy Ram




Paddy taking a rest









Two days after an Easter deluge
Beaver Creek




Below is a link to a german weather where they first heard about our weather for the MS 150 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVtHBN3v3eo

3 comments:

Joanne said...

Sorry you lost all your posts, least you managed to get a few back :)
Have a great weekend, ride safe, will be thinking about you.
Love you x

Big Oak said...

Sorry to hear about loss of your blog posts. Good luck with the MS 150! Sounds like you're getting plenty of training in. I'm still reading cycling magazines in the bathroom.

Philip said...

you have to leave the bathroom sometime............