Now that the Texans are out of the playoffs and you're no longer glued to your TV screen on weekends (except perhaps to root for whoever's playing the Patriots), cyclists planning to participate in the 2013 BP MS150 are likely to be back on roads around the Bayou City. After all, they have just three months to strengthen those leg muscles and solidify those butt cheeks. The annual two-day pedal-powered charity ride from Houston to Austin is just around the bend: April 20-21 is already circled on your calendar, right?
Preparation is the key to completing this endurance event, so it's a good practice to ride every day you can. Shared pain, errr, company makes training more fun, so the folks at the MS Society and BP have have a list of organized rides that should help build that critical seat time. Not only will it help with preparation, but you'll have fun, help some deserving charities, and collect new T-shirts along the way!
For the months of March and April, 2013, the BP MS150 has pointed out a slew of recommended training rides in the Houston area:
Saturday, March 2, 2013: 24th Baytown YMCA Gator Ride, Baytown, Texas (east of Houston across the San Jacinto River). Routes of 33, 43, 51 and 62 miles plus a 10-km family ride; benefits benefits the Baytown Family Y. Olympic silver medalist (1984) Nelson Vails scheduled to ride.
Sunday, March 3, 2013: The Plane Great Ride, Montgomery (north of Houston along I-45 and west of Conroe). Routes of 25, 47 and 67 miles. Benefits We Care. Be prepared for some hills!
Saturday, March 9, 2013: Pedal through the Pines, Bastrop, Texas (30 miles east of Austin on TX 71). Routes of 17, 27, 47 and 62 miles. Benefits the Family Crisis Center. A good chance to look over the rebirth of the Lost Pines area (Bastrop and Buescher State Parks) after the devastating fires of 2011.
Saturday, March 9, 2013: The Raven Ride, Huntsville, Texas (70 miles north of Houston along I-45). Routes of 10, 20, 33, 51 and 61 miles. Benefits Texas Lions Camp at Kerrville.
Sunday, March 10, 2013: The Great Escape, somewhere down south... Details to come..
Saturday, March 16, 2013: B-geO Magnolia Miles, Magnolia, Texas (18 miles southwest of Conroe in Montgomery County). Routes of 25, 36, 53 and 64 miles. Proceeds benefit Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center in Houston. Free punkin bread!
Sunday, March 17, 2013: Tour de Houston, downtown Houston. Out-and-back routes of 20, 45 and 70 miles; all on city streets. Register to win a bike or a pair of airline tickets..
Saturday, March 23, 2013: Schlumberger Education Expedition Bike Ride, Missouri City, Texas (about 10 miles west-southwest of Houston just outside Beltway 8). Routes of 11, 52 and 79 miles. Benefits Fort Bend ISD Foundation. Post-ride lunch included.
Sunday, March 24, 2013: Bluebonnet Express, Waller, Texas (40 miles northwest of Houston along the Northwest Freeway, US 290). Routes of 25, 35. 45, 55, 65 and 75 miles. 24th annual ride, one of Houston's longest-running events.
Saturday, April 6, 2013: Camp for All Hilltop Ride. No further information available.
Saturday, April 6, 2013: Spokes 'n Spurs Ride for the Ranch, benefits Spirit Reins Ranch. No further information available.
Sunday, April 7 2013: Gran Fondo: Texas TMCO, Houston Oaks Country Club (northwest between off US 290). Routes up to 87 and 100 miles running north toward Navasota; benefits Texas Medical Center Orchestra. Registration information not yet available.
Saturday, April 13, 2013: Katy Ram Challenge, Katy, Texas (about 20 miles west of Houston on the katy Freeway, I-10). Routes of 12, 35, 62 and 75 miles. Benefits Mayde Creek High SChool Band..
Sunday, April 14, 2013: Ride to the Rescue, Manvel, Texas (about 25 miles south of Houston on TX 288). Routes of 30, 40, 51 or 63 miles. Benefits local animal rescue organizations. Rescued dogs will be staffing rest stops. Really!
Information for January and February rides can be found here.
To qualify as a BPMS150 recommended training, an event must provide 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 additional rules and regulations such as start and cut-off times. Registration fees are set by the individual event organizers; many offer discounts for registering early.