Last year, I took the plunge on a 150 mile bike ride when I first rode the MS150 and joined on with RigUp’s team. From the bonds we made while training to the tangible impact of our donations to the worst butt pain I have ever felt, I couldn’t have possibly asked for more. The MS150 was one of the best experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to partake in, and when team RigUp saddles up again this April, we’ll be riding for that same experience again. The MS150 community is one that welcomes participation and embraces the hard work and dedication of its members for a vital cause, and that’s why I can’t wait to ride again this year.
Every year, 13,000 cyclists, 3,500 volunteers, and countless spectators and donors to partake in the MS150 with the goal of funding research for multiple sclerosis and the ongoing hunt for a cure. This year will be no different as the foundation aims high for $14 million dollars of fundraising in the constant battle against this degenerative disease. More than 400,000 Americans have MS alone, which means that most of us have been touched by somebody with MS in our lives, making this ride personal for a lot of us. Team RigUp alone has several members who have been affected by the disease. Together, we will ride to support our friends, family and the families of our oilfield partners. I know I can speak for all of us when I say we are excited and ready for this year’s trip.
I ride the MS150 with the most unlikely supporters of this ride in mind. Truth be told, not everyone can ride, but everyone can find a way to care about our mission. That means there are plenty of people along the way to Austin that are ready to show their support. While I may be riding this year, these folks are definitely way more creative than me. On the way into Austin, you’ll find countless friendly faces from spectators along the route, and the police officers directing traffic are among the most enthusiastic of our supporters as well. While there are MS sponsored rest stops with countless volunteers, we even ran into some families with their own homemade rest stops last year. Even more than that, a few spectators last year even stopped along the side of the road in small-town Texas just to set up a huge speaker set, dancing to pop and soul hits as the riders go by. The same spectators even came back for more on day two later to keep the rhythm going.
One memory that sticks with me is that the ride for the MS150 passes through Fayetteville Texas. Pulling into this small town with less than 300 people, you might not think twice – unless you’re passing through during the MS150. Passing through Fayetteville, you’ll see a gathering in the town square celebrating the event, full of bubble machines, dancing residents, and upbeat music. You’ll see dozens of people sitting out on their lawns to thank the riders all day long. It feels like you must be seeing every resident in the town. Coming from Houston, this small town vibe feels like absolute magic to me, and reminds me of why we ride, why we donate, and why we participate.
After all, the MS150 is way more than a bike ride. Every year companies like RigUp, donors, riders, and administrators do their best to push MS research forward and find a cure, because that’s what this community engenders. Whether you ride for someone you know or just for the aim to be a part of something more, the embodiment of teamwork on this ride is unlike anything I’ve personally experienced. After this year’s training, fundraising and preparation, I can’t wait to pull into the Circuit of the Americas outside Austin to complete our journey. I can’t wait to see the volunteers and riders who make this possible year round. More than that, I can’t wait to see Fayetteville, where we’re reminded of all the team members and supporters we might never see if not for this truly remarkable ride.
Visit RigUp’s BP MS150 Team Page to learn more about the mission to bike MS.
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