The MS 150 is a one hundred and fifty mile bike ride from Houston to Austin over 2 days. The event beginning in Houston is held once a year at the end of April and raises $16 million dollars on average ($13,000 riders) for multiple sclerosis. MS effects 2.3 million world wide. You have to raise $400 in order to participate as a rider. This has been a dream of mine for a long time, and this year that dream is coming to reality. With the purchase of a road bike last year, I am ready for the challenge. I went to the new rider orientation this week and learned that after the almost 40 years they have been doing this event they have come up with 19 medications to help with symptoms and just 10 years ago there were 3. They raise a tremendous amount of money for support of this disease ($232.7 million/year) and it makes me sad that no cure has been found. I hope that the money that is contributed to this disease also benefits advances in repair to nerve damage.
How do you achieve that fund raising amount? I have to admit, everything about this is a challenge. Sure I have participated in giving and asking for funds, but never to benefit me directly. I mean, it is for MS, but in order for me to ride in the event, I need to raise $400. That’s the way I look at it anyway. I posted on Facebook and told family and friends and business associates. To my amazement and surprise I achieved the minimum. Apparently for ever dollar contributed 84 cents go directly to research and services. About that, as I learned, events like this are responsible for about 63 percent of the overall fundraising for the year. It is absolutely amazing how many volunteers it takes and the overwhelming logistics involved in running the event. I guess you have to spend money to make money and that works better on a larger scale. They make it easy to receive donations by setting up your own page
A friend of mine encouraged me to join a team and went so far as to forward me an email from the team leader with an entire Power Point on the team. Joining a team is a great idea because you get some additional support in that they provide a team tent for camping at the 1/2 way point in LaGrange. (They will have generators and their own food/water, showers and toilets) They also transport your gear to LaGrange as well as Austin. If you don’t join a team, you can camp on your own in the general camp area and food is still provided (your luggage will be transported to LaGrange for free). So now I am a part of Team Wood Group! It does cost me $100 because I don’t work for the company. So my investment so far is $200 (team+registration fee). I am going to get the team jersey, don’t know how much that will be but expect it to be between $50 and $75. And since the team doesn’t transport back, I will need to take the event provided bus back from Austin for $35.
I learned that there are rest points every 10-12 miles, support vehicles to assist riders, lunch provided 1/2 way on day one and the day two ride as well as overnight camping, dinner, showers and rest rooms.
I now plan to leave from the Wood Group which is about 9 miles away from Rhodes Stadium (which is one of the three starting points). The team captain will pickup the team member’s ride packet and have a night before food fest or carb load. We leave at 7AM.
Now onto training. At this point I need to do 20 miles a week, I have been doing 15 and I need to ramp up to 40 miles (will have to be over two days because I don’t have that kind of time in one sitting). Also, they have plenty of rides in preparation with a group. I am taking a group riding skills class offered for free and required by the Wood Group in February. There are rides to register for almost every weekend around the state that can be used for training for distance and have the support vehicles in case you need assistance. Might try one of those. And lastly, some additional gear. Need a light, case with tube and CO cartridges as well as a tool to change a tire to carry on the bike. Also need to be sure to have sun screen for face and lips, and sunglasses. Will also find out during the group skills training what to pack for the Wood Group team tent for sleeping. SO EXCITING!!!