Though there may still be ice and snow on the roads in most of the rest of the country, hardy Houston-area cyclists can be found on the roads around the Bayou CIty every weekend of the year. Can you think of a better way to inspire jealousy in that cousin in Chicago than to ride a metric century on Groundhog Day? Here's your chance: Clay Walker's Band Against MS Ride is set for Saturday, February 2, 2013.
If 62 miles seems out of your reach, you're certainly welcome to join the fun on one of two shorter distances, 25 and 42 miles. All routes leave from the Houston Oaks Country Club, 22602 Hegar Road, Hockley, at 8:00 a.m. When you've finished your exercise, try a little two-steppin' to tunes by DunVille and The Buck Yeager Band (helpful hint: change out of your cleats first) and refuel at the post-ride lunch.
Proceeds of the ride benefit Band Against MS (BAMS), a non-profit organization that provides educational information for people living with Multiple sclerosis and help fund research into a cure. BAMS was established by country artist Clay Walker, who will bring his guitar for a special appearance during the afternoon's festivities.
The ride's three routes wind along country roads in Waller and Grimes Counties, north and east of the area covered by rides leaving from Waller or Zube Park, such as the Tour de Pink or Bluebonnet Express. The area is mostly flat except if you get close to the Brazos River. Riders can expect full sag support, volunteer-staffed rest areas, and perhaps a glimpse of a few early-season wildflowers and the occasional puzzled longhorn.
Registration is $45 until midnight on January 31. Walk-up registration will be available at the start. On-line registration is available through PreRace.com (not at Active.com or BikeReg)
Details to remember: Clay Walker's Band Agaisnt MS Ride is a BP MS 150 recommended training ride, sponsored by Shell and Kroger. As with all MS150 recommended rides, safety rules will be enforced: helmets are required, headphones and earbuds are prohibited.
Getting there: Take US 290 (the Northwest Freeway) about 20 miles past Beltway 8 to the Hegar Road exit (between Roberts Road and Waller). Go right (north) at the intersection and follow Hegar Road 4.7 miles to the Houston Oaks Country Club and Family Sports Retreat.