Written by Bob Ittner
The Texas MS 150 is a 2-day bicycle ride from Houston to College Station (formerly Austin) to raise money to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. This year I signed up for my 17th ride to take place May 2nd and 3rd but it has been postponed because of corona virus.
WHY DID I START RIDING?
I started riding because one of my friends has MS. I had been invited to ride in the MS 150 many years before I rode but our children were always playing sports in the spring and I was always coaching. I hadn’t ridden a bicycle since my Midland days. On the first training ride, one of the riders told me I had my helmet on backwards. My bike had a kickstand and baskets for the pedals. These are obvious signs among cyclists you don’t know what you’re doing. On the ride even though it was touted as an easy ride they were having to wait on me to catch up with the rest of the group. We had dinner that night with friends, and I said what am I going to do? I can’t even keep up on the easy training ride? One of friends said, my brother about your size was killed in a running accident, but he had this bike he got in Italy and maybe it would fit you. They loaned me a really good bike with clip-in peddles which I used for 7 years before my wife got me a new bike for Christmas.
Having a bike where you clip in is good because it increases your efficiency on the upstroke. The problem occurs when you stop and fail to unclip, tumping over like Arnie Johnson in Laugh-in.
So I had a better bike I needed to get in better shape. I joined a law firm team where the captain was a friend. One of the team members sent out an e-mail that she was going to Chappell Hill near Brenham to ride the next day (Saturday), and is anyone interested? I was the only one who responded and drove over to her house at 5:30 in the morning to drive an hour and half to ride 40 miles in the hills. We did that 5 or 6 times that first season. She was of course a much better rider and would ride ahead and then come back so she probably rode 5 or 10 more miles than I did. She was always encouraging: “You had a strong ride today!” It was almost spring and then spring with the world awakening-wild flowers, blooming trees, colts cavorting, being out in the country. I did other rides with a good friend and finally felt like I was ready. And when the ride came, I did fine.
This year our training was cut short because the ride was postponed. For the first time this year’s ride was going to finish in College Station so I was going to hit up all my Aggie friends (one-just kidding I have many Aggie friends}. On the ride there are rest stops about every 15 miles and you can eat as much as you like, because you’re going to burn it off. Got to stay hydrated. My friends with MS are very appreciative because progress is being made to make their lives better. I know if I had MS I would not have the same positive attitudes they display. The Texas ride has been the biggest fundraiser in the nation for the National MS Society. I have made a lot of good friends, kept in better shape, had some super camaraderie, and raised over $325,000 to find a cure.
Many of my Midland friends have contributed – Don Patteson, Kathie Virginia Ross, Pete Creasey, Larry Prescott, James Shaddix (father died of MS), Peggy Brown Ingram, Bill Gipson, Russell Smith, Suzanne Ellis Gonzales, Eve Kelley Hobbs, Susie Moore Anderson, Warren Lynn, Becky Blackman Loper (husband died of MS), Ferrell Davis, Judith Stone Hatten, and Stella Woehst. Forgive me if I have left someone out.
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