Another BP MS150 in the bag! Last weekend was my sixth time and David’s seventh time on the iconic two-day bike ride from Houston to Austin. I had really wanted to do it this year, mainly to do the training and get back into “biking shape” – i.e. ride 60+ miles without feeling like death afterward. Anyway, here’s a recap of the event:
Day 1: 86 miles, from Katy to La Grange. The morning was pretty darn cold for Texas in April. We ended up wearing some old tech shirts under our jerseys that we could throw away later plus arm warmers and headbands. There were super strong NNW headwinds for a majority of the ride (right in our face). David and I paced by ourselves this year, so we had a pretty good system of pulling 5 miles then changing.
We stopped a number of times and even found some rest stops we’d never been to before. My favorite stop was one with the dancing volunteer – she is a black lady that has a lot of rhythm and is dancing to funk and getting everyone fired up. I think she might burn more calories than us cyclists!
The other highlight is going through the town of Fayetteville; the people are always out cheering and have a lot of bubble machines so you ride through bubbles. After Fayetteville we turned northwest for a stretch of 10 or so very windy miles. Then finally, you turn south towards La Grange and we had a nice tail wind for 5-10 miles. By the way, it looks like David is pulling me in all the pictures, but really, we do rotate.
We got into La Grange at 1:25 PM, and then to get massages and showers (the lines get long, so you want to do these two things first). This is the one time the guys have an uber long line for the showers, and I just walk right in. It’s great being a fast lady After getting cleaned up, we ate some fajitas at the tent then hung out for a bit with the other riders. We eventually got our free beer (Michelob Ultra – ehhh) then read our kindles and zonked out at only 8:30 PM! It was a cool night (50F), so we slept surprisingly well.
Day 2: People start messing around at 4:30 AM, so we climbed out of bed, put our bikes in the start line (it gets really long if you wait), then snuck back under the covers for another half hour. At 5 AM they put on the lights, and it was time to get ready again. David and I brought a camping granola/milk/banana mix, so we just added water and ate breakfast in bed (kind of).
The roll out took quite some time; we weren’t released until 7:15 AM, so we stood in line shivering awhile. I had a couple people comment on my Betty Designs jersey – mostly guys complimented it! The first 10 miles of day 2 are always the hardest for me because I’m physically cold (especially on the downhills), and my muscles are cold too. Since we were cold, we clipped out at a pretty good pace so we could warm up and beat the crowds.
Other than the cold for the first 10 miles, the weather was perfect – the sun came up and by 8 AM everything was getting warmer. We had a little bit of a change in routes this year – the Bechtel Challenge Route (hilly route) was closed due to forest fires and flooding in the past year. So we were routed on to the Pfizer Express on Highway 71. It was a much more boring and easier route, so at least our legs got a rest since they’d worked so hard the day prior.
We got to the famous Bastrop lunch stop pretty early, and I didn’t feel like eating a sandwich at 9 AM, so David ate (he needs the calories more than I do) and I ate a Rice Krispy treat. We stopped at a few more stops along the way. My favorite stretch was around mile 60. David said to save my legs for the hills, and of course I didn’t. A group of guys passed us and one of them commented that I was leading the pack. I didn’t want to disappoint, so I guess I sped up a little much. I ended up having a really good pull through the famous “S” shaped windy area (love that stretch just outside of Austin).
I go faster if I feel cute!
I don’t know how it happens, but after the “S” road you suddenly arrive in the outskirts of Austin and it gets pretty hilly. I remember my first year doing the MS150, I was so pumped to get to Austin and felt even stronger on the hills with all the energy from others around me! Anyway, after a few more miles, we were at the finish line with ~72 miles total for the day just before noon. You finish at the Capital, cool isn’t it?
The finish line is great; there are always so many fans cheering!
Our little “Look” family. David in A&M and me in skulls & butterflies.
We spotted Mr. & Mrs. Breaux and met them shortly after we chugged some free ice cold Goya coconut waters (which were really good by the way!). Mrs. Breaux ready to cheer us on:
After a quick shower, David and I returned to the team tent and enjoyed some Kona beers with Mr. & Mrs. Breaux. It was not only great that they were there to cheer and pick us up, but especially awesome that they brought good beer. A good beer after a long ride definitely hits the spot – BUT went to my head very quickly! One was all that was needed. We soon headed out to our very favorite Whole Foods on Lamar for lunch & chocolate (I ate tons!), then started the long drive home.
I always enjoy an excuse to bike two days in a row, so the MS150 was great this year just as it has been every year. I especially loved that David and I did it all ourselves this time. It’s nice to ride with someone you know so well and trust. I think this was the last MS150 for us, but not to worry, more bike rides are on the horizon, just different ones!