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Monday, April 19, 2010

MS 150 Houston to Austin 2010 the Journey Starts

Usually when I have completed the MS 150 I have had the luxury of staying in a ranch close to La Grange the location used for the overnight stop. With such accommodation you get basic amenities such as hot and cold running water, fluffy pillows, and an environment relatively safe from third party intrusion.

For same insane reason which now escapes me Paddy and I decided that we would renege on the ranch and join the majority of the 'die hards' in a large communal tent.
We talked the whole thing up with views of fellowship and brotherhood and beer, after a while the notion became quite appealing.

On the Friday before the ride we helped load up the van that would be used to move 'The campers' gear. Not having slept under canvas since I was 11 years old I was surprised at the quantity and variety of appointments people brought for a single overnight stay.
One couple brought a bag that was so big that it could feasibly contain all of the contents of a small bedroom. Half jokingly I commented on this. The response which I recieved, I took to be delivered in the same tongue in cheek way as it confirmed that what I was suggesting was in fact true.

On Saturday morning I was up at 3am which I pointed out was closer to evening time, than morning!!!!! However being as resourceful as ever I soon found a 'pick me up'

WE started at about 7 with wet weather and a strong tail wind. Our team soon got into stride with a pace line that saw few rivals and gobbled up the miles. Without stopping we had soon arrived at Bellville for lunch having completed 50 miles. I struggled to keep up at times and when I got detached from the group, I had to work even harder to get back.

That Christmas cake and all those other bad things tasted great when I ate them but the added poundage was really taking its toll.

After lunch I became conscious that this two day event was only the start of something much bigger with 'The Natchez Trace' to follow immediately afterwards.
I allowed myself to be shelled from the group and was joined by Paddy and Taylor, we found our own pace which enabled us to enjoy the surroundings and not have to concentrate on half an inch of rubber.
We arrived at our refuge camp early in the afternoon and were each allocated a cot to sleep on. That's about 150 people in one tent.
I managed to find one next to an exit and chuckled to myself as I observed the 'Big bag couple' unpack a blow up king size mattress, sheets, four pillows and a duvet.
Apart from the apparent loss of hot and cold running water, and fluffy pillows I was ever so perturbed about some unwanted guests. The floor of the tent appeared to be covered in spiders.
I don't like spiders and only wearing a pair of flip flops increased my anxiety. It was difficult to tell if it was a blade of grass of a 'legged' creature that tickled my toes.
With spiders on my mind I went to bed about 8pm knowing that we would be rising at 5am.
As I dozed off I dreamt of spiders crawling all over me and woke up in a start thankful it was just a dream only to see TWO spiders seemingly having a chat on my forearm.
My sleep was broken from then on as was my sense of humour as a storm broke outside.
My cot soon became an island surrounded by a shallow puddle of water.
Call me a wimp-camping out is not for me.
Sunday we set off at 7am and I was pleased to leave spider camp.
I found the ride to Austin tough going against a moderate headwind but we had a good group and got in just after lunch.
It was not my best MS 150, but like all of the five I have completed -it was memorable.
Natchez tomorrow..........bring it on.


  1. wow that is awesome!! thanks for sharing :D
    my girlfriends and I have signed up for the Marin century in the summer, we are quite excited
    cheers from SF -m

  2. Congratulations on another successful MS 150.

    It's too bad that you had to deal with the rain and bugs. Most of the grass spiders around Texas are relatively harmless. It's stiil disconcerting to find one crawling on your body.

  3. Wow! this is a very good entry i like it. Will certainly visit your site more often.


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