Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

2006 MS 150: HART Riders Sweep Through the Texas Countryside

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Alarm goes off (assumed)

I wake up suddenly, as if someone yelled into my ear, "get up, fool!" I look over at the clock and have to do a double-take. I can't believe I slept through my alarm! This only happens when I'm REALLY tired, and I guess I was. In a rush, Mo and I get up and get dressed--it must have taken us only 20mins to get showered, dressed, packed, and into the car. We had agreed to be at the starting point (Clay and Hwy6) at around 6am, so there was no way I was gonna make that now! I took off on I-10 and weaved through like I was on "The World's Deadliest Chases". So a 40min drive was cut in half and I was there at about 630. The Warship and The Sly Fuchs were there, but thankfully Team Stress wasn't. So I had time to relax and get everything ready before they arrived. Life was good again.

Team Stress arrives and has their bikes offloaded and we all gear up ready to go. After a few team photos, we were set to go!

We're off! Rolling down Clay road westward, we joined in on the huge pack that had already left onroute to Austin. Sly, Warship, and I took it easy, slowly making our way through the packs. We came across Team Stress again and said our hellos...I knew this would not last for long and we would be off on some crazy clip. Wouldn't you know, as soon as we said "hello" to Danny and Randy, there goes a paceline, buzzing us at about 30mph. I look at them, then I look at Warship...he already knew what was going to come out of my mouth..."what do you think?" He replies, "why not?"...so we go on a sprint to catch up to them and that's when we realized they were going at an unsustainable speed...only the front guy in the line was in race-shaped, I noticed. So with a very short discussion, we agreed to peel off and go at our own speed, which was about 22mph.

We turn right on Fry road and then left onto FM529. This is a friggin long, flat, straight road that doesn't seem to ever end. Wow, talk about boring. Finally, a right. We go for a few miles and then, out of nowhere, a blue streak! Was it Lance?! Danielson?! It wasn't them, but it was someone in a full Discovery Channel time trial kit, aero helmet and everything! I look back at the Warship with a puzzled look, trying to digest what I just had seen for a second or two, and he simply blurts out, "that's the guy." Then it all made sense--Weihan had seen this guy at one or two other Chevron training rides. Needless to say, he is fast! The funniest part was that the Warship told him that he should race and he replied by saying he wasn't fast enough. Great. Thanks, man. Anyway, we let him go...as if we had a choice. Another left and a several miles on, the Sly Fuchs says he needs to stop and call Vera, so we stop at break point 3. We were close to lunch, so we didn't stay too long here, plus we wanted to make lunch a shorter stop than it was last year--it had to be over an hour long.


We arrive in Bellville for Lunch. We quickly get into line, which isn't long yet. We meet up with Sue and Dave P there and pull up some bleachers and eat our pb&j, turkey sandwich, potatoes, pasta, yogurt, and/or ice cream. Okay, 35mins pass and we try to finish up to get out ASAP. We're back on our horses and riding towards La Grange. Nothing really exciting happened on this leg, except for when we rode through Fayetteville and there was a sign saying, "you look great, and we mean you!"...according to Nick, they were talking about him. The hills started about then too. The Sly Fuchs, true to his name, starts to attack! Sneaky, sneaky. He FINALLY pulls and I figure this is a good section for some hill training, so I try to get out of the saddle as much as possible on the hills to practice my form. I think the Warship pulled for too long because he started feeling a little tingling towards the end of the first day. We also passed by Elwood, Roger, and Laurrie again and Roger started trash talking...until we pulled away. LOL.

On the final stretch into La Grange, we saw Mo and Vera on the side, cheering us on--yeehaw! We were here. What a good feeling. With a right turn, we were riding under the welcome banner, into the fairgrounds. The announcer was yelling out team names, but for SOME reason, didn't call out ours. Nice....well, we would get concessions later on...we proceeded to the Chevron tent to check in and get out of the sun, which was starting to beating down about then. Had first dinner. Got a call from Vera, telling us where to meet them, but I had no desire to walk to wherever they were--we had bike shoes on and all I really wanted was a beer, a shower, a massage, and a nice chair to sit in. Nevertheless, we walked over to the highway to meet them and then we continued over to the other side where they had parked. Apparently Vera had had enough of the MS 150 officials who were quite rude and bossy...I'm so thankful she stuck with it for us.

Finally in our flip flops, we headed back to the tent with our gear, overdue for our showers...yes, you could tell by the smell. We went over to the shower trucks, but the lines were too long, so we decided to take our chances with the buses to the local high school. Last year, we had a long line at the school, but that was because we got to La Grange a bit later. This time, there were no lines and I got a shower almost immediately. I saw Roger in there and we later chatted outside as we waited for Laurrie. It was a nice day, but the temps were starting to soar...thankfully, not above 90. Laurrie was back and we loaded up on the next bus back to the fairgrounds. Quickly after, we headed back to the Chevron tent and I got my 2nd dinner on. More HART people started to show and we eventually had about 20 or so people chatting up a storm about the day's ride. After sitting and chatting for a while, we decided to walk around and I wanted to visit the Stress tent to check on how things were going...and to get that massage!

Massage was a bit painful, but it definitely made me feel better. After chatting for a bit longer, some about Elizabeth and here Ironman Arizona experience (sweeeet!), we headed back to the Chevron tent and chilled there for the rest of the day.

Mo and I decide to nap, but it turns into straight up turning in for the night as I never did wake up after that, which was good...considering I would wake up several times to the sawing of wood by some unknown assailant on the other side of the tent. I forgot to get the earplugs from Weihan! Crap! Also, PS, sleeping on an air mattress with one other person is not the most comfortable experience...talk about waterbed effect!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Alarm goes off. I hit the snooze. It goes off five minutes later and I finally get up and get dressed. Ate some breakfast and we headed out the tent to line up. We weren't in a hurry so we decided to wait for Will and Cynthia in front of the tent. The line had already reached our tent so we just set up chairs in line and shot the breeze while we waited to head out. I'm so glad that we sat down because we waited in that line for about an hour and a half! It was so fun--we just joked around the whole time...one of my more enjoyable moments during the weekend.

The first waves of riders head out and we slowly creep to the front. We were probably in the 3rd wave. As we stopped at one of the staging points, the event announcer asked us about HART...then one other person, after we told her what HART stood for, asked, "where are you from?" Wow...talk about in one ear and out the other...one of us then annunciated "HOUSTON" for the poor woman. LOL. Well, it did turn out to be a good thing since the announcer then proceeded to give us props on the loud speakers. Woohoo! OK, so we were now the Houston Adventure Racing GROUP..."putting the adventure in adventure racing", but at least he mentioned us. We were shortly off and rolling. We decided to try to stay together: Warship, Sly, Nicknamer, Cynthia, Iron Will, and Dave P...but then we also said that we would regroup at lunch if we so happened to split up. Well, as soon as the hills started to appear, we started to break apart. Warship, Sly, and I decided to keep going and meet them at lunch, but then the Warship lost one of his bottles at a railroad crossing at the first break point. I actually had no idea what happened--I looked back and neither of them were there. So I stopped and the others whizzed by me, saying that Warship and Sly were back behind them. That's when I found out about the water bottle. Once they passed I had to merge back into the flow and rush back up to them. No prob.

We kept churning and then we decided to stop at the break point right inside the park. We knew the rest of the crew would pass us because they planned only to stop at lunch and maybe one other time at a convenience store that day. We relieved ourselves and started the fun! This was my favorite part of the ride--nonstop hills! I definitely felt stronger climbing this year, so I wanted to see how much improvement over last year I had made. I kept the intensity moderately high, passing riders in swaths. Then we caught up to Eric and Caroline...then Iron Will, Nicknamer, and Surgeon. I started pushing myself, making it sort of a training session. Sly fell off the back, but Weihan was still there--he has definitely improved his endurance! He stayed with me for most of the park, until the hill that climbed to a plateu and then rose again. There I put in an acceleration to see if I could recover after that. Thankfully, after reaching the top, I could feel my body coming back to normal quickly, so I shifted up again and kept mashing. I think that's where Weihan fell back, but he was not far behind. On the final climb out of the park, I got caught behind a line of slower riders and tried to ride to their left and got forced to the gravel. I tried to accelerate fast past them, but that's when I lost my rear wheel. Damn wheel! Thankfully I was able to track stand long enough to unclip. I reseated the wheel and had to walk up the rest of the way. Oh well, almost a perfect ride through the park. Still, I felt good--no one passed me while I was riding through those hills.

Right outside of the park, as we merged back onto 71, a guy looked to have a "failure to clip out" accident and fell over. He was stuck in his clips while lying there, so, knowing how that feels, I rode over to him and tried to help him get out. It was a huge group waiting to merge, so I'm sure he was embarrassed...at least I would have been. I helped him up and tried to make a path for him. We got onto 71 and that's when Warship rejoined me with, "I'm back." We cruised into Bastrop and into the lunch stop. We racked our bikes, admired this one lady's tri-bike and talked to Sue and Frank...but still no one had showed. I was starting to worry. Then I saw that Eric and Caroline got to lunch before the others, so I thought something was wrong. Thankfully, shortly after that, the rest of the crew showed as Warship and I dined on our Subway sandwiches. Apparently Sly had a flat and Nicknamer stayed back to help him out...so they say...

We tried to minimize our time at lunch, but it still took us about 45min or so. We rounded up the posse and headed out. We now agreed to meet somewhere right before the finish so we could all roll into the finish as a team. Like the beginning of the day, we stayed together for a short while then Warship, Sly and I started to do our own thing. The funny thing I noticed each day is that as Warship and I (and sometimes Sly) did our pulls in a line, I would notice a batch of people behind us, making a paceline. I just laughed because they never once offered to pull. I didn't mind--the only thing that pisses me off is when someone sucks wheel like that and then sprints to beat us to the finish line without thanking us. Hell no...okay, so I do that during races, but not during these friendlies. Oh, the other funny thing on this leg was the lady who was waiting in her car while we passed who yelled out, "God really wants us to get to church on time, please!". Oh my. Anyway, we kept churning and then stopped at the very last break point before the finish. I knew the rest of the crew would pass us. So we got some snacks and headed back out, and shortly afterwards, we saw them on the side stopped. So we regrouped again. This time we tried to stay together for the whole way back.


We did split up a bit, doing some sprints up the hills, playing and messing around, knowing the ride was almost done. We regrouped one last time at the turn into UT. We primped, fixed our hair, and checked our makeup and rolled into the finish line on Capitol and 18th. It was awesome to come in like a team like that! I had to ride close to the fence and give high fives! It was a nice feeling to have accomplished that, with minimal pain. Even though I didn't do hardly any of the training rides this year, I think my new hill training regimen actually improved my conditioning.

We made our appearance at the Chevron and Stress tents and then headed back to Houston shortly thereafter. Of course, we made the mandatory DQ stop in Sealy. And that was it. We were done and I was feeling fine! Another great MS 150! Great job to all those who participated!


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