Even though it’s August and the daytime high temperatures are still in the mid-nineties, it’s time for would-be participants in the 2013 BP MS150 to climb in the saddle and start building those muscles (and those butt calluses). After all, the annual two-day pedal-powered charity ride from Houston to Austin is a mere seven and a half months away. You’ve already marked your calendar for April 20-21, right?
Preparation is the key to completing this marathon event, so get out on that bike every day you can, folks! Since shared misery, errr, company can make all that training more fun, the good folks at the MS Society and BP have some suggestions for organized rides where you build up that critical seat time. Not only that, but you can have fun, help out some deserving charities, and collect a pile of new T-shirts in the process!
For the months of October and November, 2012, the BP MS150 has announced their first 10 recommended training rides in the Houston area:
Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012: Pedal Palacios, Palacios, Texas (110 miles southwest of Houston along 288 and TX 35). Routes of 12, 36 and 60 miles; benefits hike and bike trails in the city of Palacios. Post-ride shrimp boil included: yum!
Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012: Cy-Fair Lions Club Biking for Sight, Montgomery High School, Montgomery, Texas (60 miles northwest from Houston, 16 miles west of Conroe). Routes of 25, 40, 62 and 100 miles. Benefits Lions Club sight charities.
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012: Gateway Academy Gryphon’s Flight, Hockley, Texas (38 miles northwest of Houston along the Northwest Freeway, US 290). Routes of 25, 40 and 60 miles. Benefits the Gateway Academy, a school for children with learning issues.
Saturday, Oct 27, 2012: Kiwanis Sealy Fall Classic, Sealy, Texas (50 miles west of Houston along I-10). Routes of 33, 45 and 62 miles. Benefits the Kiwanis Foundation of Houston. Sponsored by Middle Sister Wines, so join the sponsors for a glass of wine after the ride.
Sunday, Oct 28, 2012: Red Cross Ramble, Richmond, Texas (34 miles from Houston along the Southwest Freeway, US 59). Routes of 25, 46, 77 and 100 miles; benefits the American Red Cross.
Saturday, Nov 3, 2012: Independence Ride, Wallis, Texas (50 miles west of Houston along US 59 and TX 36 or I-10 and US 36, south of Sealy). Routes of 23, 42 and 65 miles. Proceeds benefit disabled veterans through the Independence Fund.
Sunday, Nov 4, 2012: Tour de Doughnut, Katy, Texas (29 miles west of Houston along I-10).Routes of 28 and 57 miles; benefits Make-a-Wish Foundation. Includes a 28-mile donut race offering a 5 minute time credit for each donut consumed along the route (“Eat enough delicious donuts, and you can finish the race before you even started!”).
Saturday, Nov 10, 2012: Novemberfest Metric Century, Brookshire, Texas (35 miles west of Houston on I-10). Routes of 10, 23, 40 and 64 miles through Stephen F. Austin State Park. benefit for The Center Foundation (formerly The Center Serving Persons with Mental Retardation and Foundation for the Retarded).
Sunday, Nov 11, 2012: Bike for Little Heroes, Hockley, Texas (38 miles northwest of Houston along the Northwest Freeway, US 290). Routes of 20, 36 and 54 miles. Benefits Operation Red, White and Bike; a charity that provides bicycles to the children of wounded and deceased troops.
Saturday, Nov 17, 2012: Weimaride, Weimar, Texas (88 miles west of Houston along I-10). Routes of 13.5, 34, 47, 63 and 97 miles. Benefits Weimar Lions Club programs.
Sunday, Nov 18, 2012: Bike the Bend Ride for Literacy, Richmond, Texas (34 miles from Houston along the Southwest Freeway, US 59). Routes of 20, 35 and 63 miles. Benefits the Literacy Council of Fort bend County.
All BPMS150 recommended training rides have course marshals, SAG support, and staffed rest stops for hydration and refreshments. Participants are required to wear an ANSI or Snell-approved helmet and may not wear headphones or use a radio. See individual registration forms for other rules and regulations. Registration fees are set by individual organizations; most offer a discount for early registration.
All distances and driving directions are from downtown Houston.