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April 22 & 23, 2006

ms150_map.gif (56934 bytes)
(Click to enlarge)

bulletRide Length: A bunch 0' miles
bulletRiders: Me and 13,000 bicyclists
bulletWeather: Perfect - a tad hot.

Day 1

This weekend was it—the MS150. The MS 150 Bike Tour is a two-day bicycling adventure from Houston to Austin that raises funds to help people living with MS.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) usually strikes adults in the prime of life – between the ages of 20 and 50. It is a chronic disease of the central nervous system affecting the brain and spinal cord. One new case of MS is diagnosed every hour.

This year, I read they hope to raise $10,000,000 from this ride. They'll exceed that amount I'm sure.

It’s about 175 miles from Houston to Austin, and about 13,000 people ride it on bicycle every year. I have ridden a bicycle several years, so this year I wanted to do something different.

Being a motorcycle marshal was pretty darned fun over the past two days. I’m not sure how many total miles I ended up riding, but it was about quadruple the cyclists’ 175.

On the morning of the first day I met a new friend, JP. He has an F650 as well, and he and I pretty much stuck together all weekend. This be him…

(You can click any thumbnail picture to enlarge it.)

This be some of the 13,000 bicyclists…

There has to be adequate facilities for so many people…

One of the most amazing things is that every year the locals all gather and make a huge showing to support all of the riders along the route. Check out this couple…

… I went back by him about 6 hours later and he was still playing his heart out!

Most of my day was spent changing flat tires.

Sometimes I helped by providing tools, most of the time I was the one doing the changing. Too bad motorcycle tires are not as easy to change on the side of the road…

Some folks pull trailers with their kids in the back. I guess if you don’t have a kid, you go with what you got…
There are lots of lovely farm houses along the route…

WARNING!!! Obligatory motorcycle picture follows…

JP and I take a break at one of the rest stops…

And that was it for day 1.

The bicyclists camp in LaGrange, but I’ve done that before—too noisy, too hot… not me. I took a 30-minute ride to the farm and slept in a comfortable bed.
Day 2

Beep, BEEP, BEEP!!! 5:00AM sure did come early! I loaded up and was out the door in the fog by 5:45, fueled up, and found my spot to begin day 2 of riding.

I’d been planning my shot for the latest Foto Assignment "On The Move." so I took several trying to get something that looked nice…

I pretty much fixed flats as I made my way towards the finish line…

Then I turned around to do it all again…

Until I came upon this…

One of the bicyclists went down pretty hard.

All of the bicyclists walked their bikes through the accident area while the fella waited in the ambulance for life flight to arrive…

Once we saw “the bird” overhead, we cleared room for it to land…

They loaded the unfortunate fella up…

And headed out in a remarkably short period of time…

I think after watching that many bicycles, this ole boy deserved a rest…

That pretty much summed it up.

I made a few more runs up and down the route..., and I thought I would stay to watch "The Turtle" (the name given to the last rider) cross the finish line... it's apparently a huge celebration as he or she makes it across the line..., but with over 175 miles to get home, I decided to call it a day and get home before dark.

It was quite fun and rewarding to be a motorcycle marshal. Nice to meet another F650 guy in Houston too. It definitely was a different perspective on things. The only thing I would have liked to have had would have been a HAM radio. JP did, and he relayed a lot of what was going on to me, but hearing the play-by-play in real time might have been interesting.

That’s it until next year…
… thanks for coming along!

 

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