It’s a wrap – 10 years of Bike MS!

Well friends, I did it. This past weekend, I rode in my 10th consecutive Bike MS event! This year’s ride was the Valero Ride to the River which goes from San Antonio to New Braunfels in 161 miles over two days. And thanks to many dedicated donors over the years, I’ve raised $20,745 for the National MS Society, $2,335 of that just this year. I am grateful to have so many friends, family, and coworkers who have pitched in over the years, some of you giving generously each and every year. I know that this fundraising is helping to make a difference for people who have Multiple Sclerosis. This year in particular I met a number of people who have had MS for multiple years yet are still able to train for, and ride, 100 miles in a single day. I’m hopeful that research will continue to find better treatments and even a cure.

Now for a bit of reminiscing… Here are the Bike MS events I’ve ridden in:

  • The BP MS 150 from Houston to Austin 3 years: 2008 – 2010
  • Bike MS: Escape to the Lake in Western Pennsylvania, 2011
  • Bike MS: Pedal to the Point in Northern Ohio, 2012
  • Bike MS: Ride the Rim through Palo Duro Canyon, TX, 2013
  • Bike MS: Sam’s Club Round Up Ride in DFW, TX, 2014
  • Bike MS: Rock ‘n Hot Ride from Little Rock to Hot Springs, Arkansas, 2015
  • Bike MS: The Road Divided from Norman to Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2016
  • And of course Bike MS: Valero Ride to the River 2017

It wouldn’t be a true thank you post without me narrating a bazillion pictures from the ride. I hope you enjoy!

For the day one ride, I wore my first ever top fundraiser jersey, from the 2012 Pedal to the Point. It’s one of my favorite designs. While the morning started out relatively cool, the humidity was quite high. I didn’t sleep well overnight and I think these two factors made me start to feel worse than normal on this ride. I started having trouble eating enough food about halfway through, which is a big problem on a 100 mile ride. I toughed it out, but am extremely thankful for some cloud cover that rolled in at the 70 mile mark, and a number of people that I drafted off of when I was started to feel weak. All in all, it was a great ride. The route had tons of support – police officers directing traffic at almost every intersection, enthusiastic volunteers at the rest stops, and friendly drivers and riders. I finished the 100 mile route with a 16.9 mph average.

We started from a mall in northern San Antonio, a little while after sunrise.

BikeMS2017-1BikeMS2017-2

Many team HEB riders had Texas flag jerseys.DCIM100GOPROBikeMS2017-3BikeMS2017-4

It wouldn’t be a ride through the Texas countryside without a bunch of churches. Many of the rest stops were hosted at churches.DCIM100GOPRO

Signs of fall – a pumpkin patch!DCIM100GOPRO

About 6 miles in, we were stopped by a very long, slow train. Lots of cyclists bunched up at the crossing.DCIM100GOPRO

Those four legged creatures are donkeys.DCIM100GOPRO

Lots of yellow wildflowers are out this time of year. DCIM100GOPRO

St. John Lutheran Church, one of the rest stops.DCIM100GOPRO

Hoese Cemetery. One of the many small cemeteries I saw – although the sign maker misspelled cemetery and I feel their pain – I almost always try to spell it with an “a” too.DCIM100GOPRO

This rest stop was hosted at a school. Each rest stop was sponsored by a different volunteer group and this one had some fun signs leading up to the turn.DCIM100GOPRO

A family was parked along the route with giant legos – with the message “LEGO Daddy LEGO”DCIM100GOPRO

The lunch rest stop was also at a school. I was there pretty early so I just had a snack, filled my bottles and headed on my way. BikeMS2017-5

There I go!BikeMS2017-6

Oh hey, another church / rest stop.DCIM100GOPRO

Lone Oak – another cemetery. This one didn’t try to write out the word.DCIM100GOPRO

Long country roads. Day one was relatively flat. 3,760 ft elevation gain which isn’t that much for 100 miles.DCIM100GOPRO

A little pond.DCIM100GOPRO

It’s hard to see, but there are a bunch of deer in the shadows of the trees.DCIM100GOPRO

Rolling in to the 71 mile rest stop.BikeMS2017-7

We rode along River Road, which is a gorgeous, mostly flat, smooth road along the Guadalupe River with tons of camping and tubing. I remember this particular icehouse from the first time I ever ran a half marathon which was in New Braunfels. It’s at the very beginning of River Road.DCIM100GOPRO

Descending down on to River Road. About this time the cloud cover started to roll in and I was so grateful.DCIM100GOPRO

One of many river crossings.DCIM100GOPRO

A different river crossing.DCIM100GOPRO

Colorful tents along the river bank. At yet another river crossing.DCIM100GOPRO

Nice shady tree lined roads.DCIM100GOPRO

One of the many places you can rent tubes. DCIM100GOPRO

River on one side, rocks on the other.DCIM100GOPRO

After the 30 mile out and back from New Braunfels along River Road, I made it to the finish! Worn out but happy.BikeMS2017-8

On day 2, I rode up to the route from the Schlitterbahn resort where we stayed overnight and jumped in. That way I could sleep a little longer and didn’t have to push my way through the crowds into the starting chute. The morning was warmer, but not quite as humid. We didn’t get any cloud cover, but I felt so much better the morning of day two than I did day one. I picked my Bike MS Rock ‘n Hot Ride top fundraiser jersey to wear, since it’s one of my favorite designs AND it was from my highest fundraising year ever! Scroll to the end to see a photo. On day two, I averaged 16.3 mph on the hillier route with less drafting.

Just me and my shadow headed out on the much hiller day two route.DCIM100GOPRO

Hello goats!DCIM100GOPRO

A bit hard to see, but in many places there were fancy houses up on top of the hills. DCIM100GOPRO

A red barn events center. DCIM100GOPRO

I know this looks like my bike but it’s not! It’s another blue / gray Independent Fabrication titanium bike. The colors aren’t the same, but the overall idea from the fade to the raw titanium seat / chain stays is identical. I found the owner riding later and chatted with him – his bike is 10 years old and it still looks great! He complemented me on my bright orange hubs – I think his bike would look good with them too.DCIM100GOPRO

You can kinda see the river and house with big deck down along the river through the trees.DCIM100GOPRO

Large RV park / compound on River Road. The day two route also included River Road at the end of the ride.DCIM100GOPRO

The Guadalupe River.DCIM100GOPRO

Sun through the trees.DCIM100GOPRO

A river crossing.DCIM100GOPRO

The river, again.DCIM100GOPRO

And the finish chute! “Don’t Stop – Get ‘Er Done”DCIM100GOPRO

Here I am!BikeMS2017-9

That dude straight ahead is the best husband ever.DCIM100GOPRO

Hello finish line!DCIM100GOPRO

The year had the fanciest Bike MS medal – it’s the type they give out at half / full marathons.BikeMS2017-10

That’s right – 10 years!BikeMS2017-11

It’s so satisfying to have met my goal of riding 10 years and raising over $20,000 for the National MS Society. Ever since I was young I knew the devastating effects of Multiple Sclerosis as I watched my godmother succumb to the worse MS can do. I really hope that a cure is near. While I plan to take a break for a year or more, I don’t think this is my last Bike MS ride. There are Bike MS events across the country and I have my sights on a spectacular ride in New Mexico, and maybe even California and Alaska (I’m looking at you, sister-in-law and sister). If you know me, you know I love to ride my bike.

One last note – big thanks to my husband Carl, who has accompanied me on 9 of the 10 Bike MS trips. Besides the obvious help on the Bike MS weekend (driving to the event, carrying my things, making sure I get the food I need, cheering me on, taking photos, and just generally being awesome) he also puts up with my many, many hours bike training during the summer, when I wake up before sunrise every Saturday to get in training miles before it gets too hot. And then when I get home from long hot rides, he works in the yard or around the house while I rest and even takes me out for ice cream or bananarchy (delicious chocolate covered frozen bananas) later in the day. You’re the best, honey!

 

Advertisements

Bike MS Training – All the recent rides

Well friends, with all the recent upsetting events like hurricanes and earthquakes I’ve been putting this off – but no longer. For the 10th year in a row I’m riding in a Bike MS event. My goal has always been to ride for 10 years and then take a break. In the past 9 years, I’ve raised $18,410 for the National MS Society, a cause close to my heart. I’d love to break $20,000 in my 10th year fundraising. I know far too many people affected by Multiple Sclerosis and I’m confident that researchers can find a cure in my lifetime.

This year I’m riding in Bike MS: Valero Ride to the River, a ride close to home. It goes from San Antonio to New Braunfels, covering 160 miles in two days, October 7th & 8th.

I’ve been training all summer even though I haven’t been updating my blog. Most of the rides cover the same routes I usually ride so I haven’t taken as many photos (but there are some below for you to enjoy). This past weekend I rode 81 miles on Saturday and 38 miles on Sunday. Follow me on Strava to see all my cycling exploits.

I’ve kicked off fundraising with a personal donation. Will you join me?
http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/laurafeeney2017

 

And now for the photos!

Uh, I think there was a pony in this shot but it’s really hard to tell now.

DCIM100GOPRO

These are sheep.DCIM100GOPRO

Old ugly railroad bridge seen through my foggy gopro lens.DCIM100GOPRO

Old country road lined with trees (again with the foggy gopro lens).DCIM100GOPRO

Country church.DCIM100GOPRO

The Cele store.DCIM100GOPRO

Texas sure is big sky country.

DCIM100GOPRO

Cows in a flowery field.DCIM100GOPRO

Nicely paved ranch road.DCIM100GOPRO

Donkeys!DCIM100GOPRO

This was soon after Harvey rained on us all weekend so the little creek was quite full.DCIM100GOPRO

I love the open road early in the morning.DCIM100GOPRO

This house has such a cute yard with the little shed and windmill and pond.DCIM100GOPRO

Flowering trees along the road into Elgin.DCIM100GOPRO

An old house down a dirt path in the countryside.DCIM100GOPRO

Elgin town square – I’ve been taking a break in the shade here almost every Saturday.DCIM100GOPRO

I’ve been varying up my routes as much as I can and have found some new cemeteries.DCIM100GOPRO

 

Bike MS Training Sept 10 & 11: Riding out to the breweries

ONLY ONE MORE TRAINING WEEKEND LEFT! This is my 9th year riding in a Bike MS event and in just over a week and a half I’ll be riding 160 miles over two days at Bike MS: The Road Divided in Oklahoma. I fundraise because I believe that MS can be cured in my lifetime and I’ve known too many people affected by this disease. Will you join me in the fight against MS? I’m almost 50% to my fundraising goal and I would be honored by your support!

This past weekend I got to do another destination ride, where I left from my house and ended up at a place that serves alcohol. This time, I rode 80 miles to Jester King brewery and Last Stand brewing on Saturday where my husband met me with lunch. Jester King had a beer release we wanted to try, and Last Stand was hosting an Oktoberfest party. On Sunday, I rode 42 miles closer to home.

Saturday’s ride started off pretty cool for Texas in early September. As I rode north the clouds became pretty ominous. And then it started to get really windy. Next, it started raining big stinging rain drops, that might have been small pieces of hail. I had to pull over and seek cover next to a large stone sign for a few minutes until it slowed down enough to ride again.

DCIM100GOPRO

Very ominous looking sky

DCIM100GOPRO

Can you see the rainbow? It’s pretty light.

DCIM100GOPRO

Lots of greenery everywhere

DCIM100GOPRO

Small town church

DCIM100GOPRO

Cows walking through a field

DCIM100GOPRO

Big playground in north Austin

DCIM100GOPRO

View from Southwest Parkway

DCIM100GOPRO

BBQ ahead, in the little trailer you can hardly see by the red building

DCIM100GOPRO

Cool driveway entrance

20160910_134459

After arriving Jester King, I got to enjoy the newest release of La Vie en Rose. It was quite good.

On Sunday I rode some very familiar roads and therefore didn’t end up with many photos.

DCIM100GOPRO

You can kinda see the light purple wildflowers along the roadside

DCIM100GOPRO

Lots of hay bales

DCIM100GOPRO

Yellow AND purple wildflowers

 

Bike MS Training, Labor Day Weekend: I almost rode to Canada

We attended a wedding along the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota over Labor Day weekend. And I do mean north – we flew to Minneapolis and then drove straight north through Duluth to Lutsen along the shore of the lake. We had mostly lovely weather on our trip and my father-in-law ferried my old bike up from Iowa so that I could ride it in Minnesota. I know, he’s pretty awesome.

The wedding started fairly early on Saturday, so I had to get out early to get ready in time. There’s really only one paved road to put in significant mileage along the North Shore. I chose to go north because the traffic was lighter and road shoulder was nice. I rode just over 60 miles  (Canada wasn’t that much further north!) and got some lovely photos.

On Sunday, my husband and I rode south along the Gitchi Gami trail down to Temperance River State Park, did a bit of hiking, had lunch, and rode back up to Lutsen for a total of 23 miles.

This is my 9th year riding in a Bike MS event and I’ve raised over $15K during the last 8 years for the National MS Society, thanks to many generous friends and family. I fundraise because I believe that MS can be cured in my lifetime and I’ve known too many people affected by this disease. Will you join me in the fight against MS? The big ride is just two weeks away in Oklahoma!

DCIM100GOPRO

These two buildings, plus just a few more, make up the entirety of Lutsen

DCIM100GOPRO

Early morning sun

DCIM100GOPRO

Early morning shade

DCIM100GOPRO

Another lodge

DCIM100GOPRO

A glimpse of Lake Superior

DCIM100GOPRO

Trailhead for Cascade River state park – we hiked from this area on Monday

DCIM100GOPRO

Going down over a ridge

DCIM100GOPRO

Pretty cliffs

DCIM100GOPRO

Jagged rocks

DCIM100GOPRO

Small cemetery as you enter Grand Marais

DCIM100GOPRO

Entering Grand Marais – you can just barely see the lake

DCIM100GOPRO

Beginning of the shopping area

DCIM100GOPRO

Grand Marais harbor

DCIM100GOPRO

Grand Marais harbor – we ate at the restaurant on the right on Monday (it was delicious)

DCIM100GOPRO

Riding along the harbor

DCIM100GOPRO

On the north side of Grand Marais

DCIM100GOPRO

Crazy sculptures and rock piles in front of this house

DCIM100GOPRO

Little fire department

DCIM100GOPRO

Itty bitty town hall

DCIM100GOPRO

View of the lake

DCIM100GOPRO

Close up of the rock piles

DCIM100GOPRO

Little stream

DCIM100GOPRO

Some small purple and yellow wildflowers

Enjoying the wedding later that day:

img_20160903_151643

Bike MS Training Aug 27 – 28: Riding to Treaty Oak Distilling

Riding the same routes from my house for long distance training starts to get monotonous after a while, so sometimes I convince my husband and our friends to meet me in an exiting locale so I can ride my bike there. This weekend, I planned a route to Treaty Oak Distilling in Dripping Springs. Treaty Oak turned some awesome ranch land into a distillery, an experimental brewery, and a generally awesome place to hang out. They have cocktails on tap!

This weekend, I rode 76 miles to Treaty Oak on Saturday, and then another 43 on Sunday, my longest riding weekend yet! Good thing, with only one month to go until Bike MS: The Road Divided. This is my 9th year riding in a Bike MS event and I’ve raised over $15K during the last 8 years for the National MS Society, thanks to many generous friends and family. I fundraise because I believe that MS can be cured in my lifetime and I’ve known too many people affected by this disease. Will you join me in the fight against MS?

The last two weeks in Austin have been cooler than usual. It’s still hot, but way less so than normal. I mean, we’re talking highs in the 80s sometimes! It’s August, people! I totally appreciate these lower temps though, because I don’t have to get out quite so early on my bike to beat the heat. Saturday was pretty sunny and I got some lovely photos.

DCIM100GOPRO

A bunch of vultures in a tree

DCIM100GOPRO

An old cemetery along Springdale Rd

DCIM100GOPRO

There are actually two cemeteries in a row along Springdale

DCIM100GOPRO

Creepy soldier statue in the bed of a truck, with a “Veterans for Trump” banner…

DCIM100GOPRO

Crossing the Colorado along 183

DCIM100GOPRO

Crossing on the bridge

DCIM100GOPRO

View from the bridge

DCIM100GOPRO

Santa in a tree, missing his head

DCIM100GOPRO

Trails and pedestrian bridge in Richard Moya park, near the airport

DCIM100GOPRO

Country road

DCIM100GOPRO

Another country road

DCIM100GOPRO

Bright pink trees

DCIM100GOPRO

Roadside flowers

DCIM100GOPRO

Longhorn statue

DCIM100GOPRO

Old farm building, along a major road in Buda

DCIM100GOPRO

Entering Old Town Buda Historical District

DCIM100GOPRO

A church in Buda (I think)

DCIM100GOPRO

Old fancy house

DCIM100GOPRO

Food truck lot, outside of Buda

DCIM100GOPRO

Coming up on the Salt Lick

DCIM100GOPRO

Fall Creek Vineyards, across the street from the Salt Lick

DCIM100GOPRO

The Salt Lick

DCIM100GOPRO

Crossing a stream

DCIM100GOPRO

Riding along a ridge

DCIM100GOPRO

Riding along a ridge

DCIM100GOPRO

Had to cross a flooded road, right before getting to Fitzhugh Rd

DCIM100GOPRO

Carl was waiting for me at Treat Oak!

IMG_20160827_142457

We had lunch, and a few delicious drinks at Treaty Oak, while hanging out with our friends

IMG_20160827_170757

And then, we stopped in at Argus Cider to taste test their latest ciders. It was on the way home, I swear!

Sunday’s ride started out cloudy, which kept the temperatures cooler.

DCIM100GOPRO

Cows in a very green field

DCIM100GOPRO

Everything is so green!

DCIM100GOPRO

White wildflowers in a field

DCIM100GOPRO

Building a new bridge

DCIM100GOPRO

The church on Cameron Rd from a distance

DCIM100GOPRO

More cows

DCIM100GOPRO

“Prinz Farms” has a semi truck logo

DCIM100GOPRO

Horses!

DCIM100GOPRO

The Cele Store

DCIM100GOPRO

Close up of the church – you can see it in this photo, but there is a large cemetery in the back

 

 

A whole lot of Bike MS training is still going on…

I’ve not had time to post my latest training weekend updates, but that’s actually a good thing because many of my rides have been on the same roads, and I end up with the same photos. Seriously, who wants to look at the same photos week after week?

So, you’re spared because I put 3 weeks of photo into this one post! For this favor I must ask – will you be the first person (other than me) to donate to the MS Society in honor of my 160 mile, 2 day bike ride? Bike MS: The Road Divided is just over a month away! This is my 9th year riding in a Bike MS event and I’ve raised over $15K during the last 8 years for the National MS Society, thanks to many generous friends and family. I fundraise because I believe that MS can be cured in my lifetime and I’ve known too many people affected by this disease.

What training have I been doing you ask? Well, let me share some stats.

During the last weekend of July (3031) I rode a combined 105 miles. On Sunday I even did some hill training! The first weekend of August (67) I rode another combined 105 miles, and it was unbearably hot for the longer ride on Saturday. I then took a weekend off of riding while visiting family in Ohio and Pennsylvania. This past weekend August 2021 I increased my mileage and rode 110 miles. The weather this weekend was rainy which kept our temperatures WAY down – it was such a pleasant change!

Now, for my download of photos:

DCIM100GOPRO

Early morning, July 30

DCIM100GOPRO

This farm sometimes has horses hooked up to a pole that they walk circles around – you can see two if you look closely.

DCIM100GOPRO

Two more horses

DCIM100GOPRO

Theme of the day: horses!

DCIM100GOPRO

Countryside pond

DCIM100GOPRO

Country graveyard

DCIM100GOPRO

Falling apart shack

DCIM100GOPRO

What did I say about horses?

DCIM100GOPRO

Smiley faced water tower

DCIM100GOPRO

Big sky country

DCIM100GOPRO

“Lakeview Christian Center Church. All is Welcome”

DCIM100GOPRO

“Rev’s Resale Shop”

DCIM100GOPRO

Pretty day – can you tell how hot it was??

DCIM100GOPRO

Cows this time

DCIM100GOPRO

Presbyterian Church in Elgin

DCIM100GOPRO

This house always fascinates me

DCIM100GOPRO

A little park in Manor

DCIM100GOPRO

Sunday, July 31 I rode some hills on Loop 360 and saw the ever present peaches and tomatoes tent

DCIM100GOPRO

A sign for me

DCIM100GOPRO

Multi-colored cliffs

DCIM100GOPRO

View from the Pennybacker bridge

DCIM100GOPRO

Early morning Saturday August 6th – house with a patio above the carport

 

DCIM100GOPRO

Dog agility course

DCIM100GOPRO

Quiet country road

DCIM100GOPRO

Little pond and some cows

DCIM100GOPRO

Donkeys!

DCIM100GOPRO

Cow – in the same field as the donkeys

DCIM100GOPRO

Serpent

DCIM100GOPRO

oh hey, a horse

DCIM100GOPRO

Fancy ranch entry

DCIM100GOPRO

Old rail station in Elgin

DCIM100GOPRO

Sunday, August 7th – some new to me roads

DCIM100GOPRO

Little road, not so far from home

DCIM100GOPRO

Sad, closed Kiddie Acres on Howard Lane

DCIM100GOPRO

Early morning Saturday August 20 – is it going to rain? Also, cows.

DCIM100GOPRO

Cows enjoying the not so hot, damp weather

DCIM100GOPRO

Um, horses!

DCIM100GOPRO

Freshly paved 95

DCIM100GOPRO

Clouds appear more ominous than they really are

DCIM100GOPRO

Horses lay down!

DCIM100GOPRO

Small country road

DCIM100GOPRO

Pretty Elgin house

DCIM100GOPRO

Popular Elgin Post Office

DCIM100GOPRO

Another pretty yard at an Elgin house

DCIM100GOPRO

The sign says Elgin Cemetery, but it’s black and fades into the trees

DCIM100GOPRO

Sheep

DCIM100GOPRO

This big ranch is for sale!

DCIM100GOPRO

Lots of tags on the railroad cars along Littig Road

DCIM100GOPRO

Lots of hay

DCIM100GOPRO

Sunday, August 21 – a very flooded Brushy Creek

DCIM100GOPRO

Small country road

 

 

Bike MS Training: July 23 – 24

This weekend, it was hot. Again. So on Saturday I made sure to get out by 7:30 am on my long ride to make it home around noon. I rode north to Cele and then east towards Elgin for a total of 66 miles. You can see my route on Strava.

On Sunday I rode a shorter 41 mile route. One mile after leaving home, I got a flat in my rear tire. The same tire that was just replaced two months ago and then immediately got a flat the day after replacing it… makes me nervous for future rides.

This is my 9th year riding in Bike MS and this year I will ride Bike MS: The Road Divided. The ride takes place in Oklahoma on September 24 – 25, 2016 and goes from Norman to Guthrie to Stillwater. Can you support my participation in Bike MS by donating to the National MS Society?

On my way north on Cameron road towards Cele, I passed one of the many rural Texas churches:

DCIM100GOPRO

The Cele Store – still actually open at times:

DCIM100GOPRO

The expansive countryside:

DCIM100GOPRO

Good morning, cows:

DCIM100GOPRO

Big fields, big sky:

DCIM100GOPRO

Fields and fields…

DCIM100GOPRO

There’s a historical marker on the corner of this road – marking the tiny community of Carlson:

DCIM100GOPRO

Country roads:

DCIM100GOPRO

Barn and flowering tree:

DCIM100GOPRO

These hay bales are for sale, if you’re interested:

DCIM100GOPRO

Old bridge:

DCIM100GOPRO

I paused at this community park in Manor and filled my second water bottle with water from a lion shaped water fountain:

DCIM100GOPRO

One of the old stately houses in Manor:

DCIM100GOPRO

The last few miles of my ride include the Northern Walnut Creek Trail:

DCIM100GOPRO

Another old stately house from my Sunday ride:

DCIM100GOPRO