Thursday, April 27, 2006

BP MS150 Day 2

An account of day 2 has to begin the night before. The BP MS150 stops overnight at La Grange, Texas turning the Fayette County Fair Grounds into a cycling Woodstock. Thousands of cyclists descend upon the town, filling every hotel room, every bed and breakfast, and many private homes. Thousands (including me) stay at the fairgrounds in massive team tents.

The sponsor for my team is a plush, Houston hotel, health club and spa. So we have masseuses on hand, all the beer you could want, and awesome food. I’m sure that other parts of the country have their favorite post-ride libations, but (with all due respect) nothing can hold a candle to Shiner Bock. Just ask Lance.

It was over several Shiners that I met Steve, a triathlete from New York who has done Escape from Alcatraz and all sorts of gnarly events that garnered immediate respect in my eyes. As a newbie, I had absolutely nothing Steve would need, except . . .

As a top fundraiser, I had a get out of jail free card! You can imagine the scrum when 13,000 cyclists try to leave from one location at one time. The top 300 fundraisers don’t have to wait in line, but get to start first with a guest of their choice. The Maria Gratia and the Ubergreyhound had already gone home, so the triathlon gods nominated Steve. We nosed our way to the front of the line and were off with hardly anything but empty road in front and 13,000 cyclists behind.

25 mph down the rollers on smooth pavement with mist rising up in the fields and nothing but the whisper of the chains. AWESOME.

The highlight of Day 2 is known as “The Park,” which follows a two lane, 20 mile tree-lined road through a very hilly state park. I know Bold is sniggering about SLPs at this point, but some of the hills are Battle Mountain steep, even west side of Vail Pass steep. The big difference is they go back down way before Battle Mountain or Vail Pass and there is a lot more oxygen

Right before you enter “The Park,” you have an election. The hard route to “The Park” turns right, the alternate (i.e. SLP) route goes straight out to Highway 71. “The Park” ate my lunch last year, and I was not sure how much gas I had left in the tank, especially given the heat we expected. But as I came to the turn, I asked myself, “self, what would Iron Benny do?” WWIBD!

The answer to that question was obvious. Iron Benny would turn right into the park and put the hammer down. I made the turn, and did as much hammering as a skinny greyhound is capable of, skipped the rest stop mid-way through the park, and came out the other side ready for more. BRING IT!

What a difference a year makes--thanks to Coach T and Maria Gratia.

From there it is grab a banana in Bastrop, pull yourself over the hills to the valley of the winds, and climb the hills into Austin. Hammer up to 24 mph as you scream through the UT campus, lean around the curves and then you see the finishing chute. Zip up the jersey like you’re a pro showing off the sponsors and pose for the camera. You can see a photo from the finish here.

Finished by 11:25 a.m. instead of 2:30 p.m. like last year. 2 days, 10 hours, 180 miles. Nearly $8000 in contributions raised by this rider for the MS Society.

Admiring hugs from Mrs. Greyhound and the puppy and a text message from Maria Gratia, “Now that’s what we call kickin’ ass.”

Bring on Buffalo Springs Lake. I ain’t skeered.

1 comment:

TriSaraTops said...

AWESOME!!! Keep it up! :)