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Ms 150

Old 05-01-19, 08:11 AM
  #676  
Scott P
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This year was my fifth MS150. I decided this ear to ride with my team rather than tackle it solo. We are not pro cyclists, so we aren't fast. My training was limited to a couple outdoor rides and a few weeks on the recently acquired Peloton. I did better than I thought I dropped my team on hills and slowed down afterwards to get them caught up. We were slow at 15.5 ave on day one with the headwinds, heat and hills. Rest stops were long as everyone got back together. The cold beer at the finish felt great. The folks at our offsite overnight location crushed it as usual. Fajitas for dinner, eggs, bacon and pancakes for breakfast were wonderful. I'll take a twin bunk bed in a lodge over a crowded tent any day.

Day two was shorter since we started 10 miles down the express route. The Bastrop Hill gets easier every year. The sneaky MF'r was that hill after lunch. My Garmin reported a 9.8% grade on that thing. Having a Marathon Foto guy near the top to snap a picture of our ugly climb faces was the icing on the cake. It did get the best picture of the ride though. Our pace that day was a better 16.5 mph. Again, I feel I could have done better alone, but I wanted to ride together. I liked the tighter, more compact grounds at COTA and having parking right there for support vehicles with luggage and more beer was better. The parking shuttles actually moved pretty quickly, but we were lucky enough to be in the open trailer one. Getting out of the parking lot took longer than I felt it should though. It was mostly a function of volume and getting out at a peak time. It was still much better than last year's fiasco.

No injuries, flats or breakdowns, and that is always good to report.
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Old 05-01-19, 09:02 AM
  #677  
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Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
First of all, thanks to all of you for riding and raising funds to beat MS! I was diagnosed with MS in 2006, so thank you for riding from all of us with MS.

We started at our house, which is about 94 miles from LaGrange. Joined the route at Clay and Barker Cypress. Day 1 sucked...3 flats...2 of them were slow leaks that took a while for me to realize that it shouldn't be that hard to ride. We rode very well, and averaged in the high 17s to Bellville, feeling good at lunch. After Nelsonville on Day 1, the heat and my MS combined to make it a real challenge for me, but I managed to finish in a very unexciting 9 hours. When the temp gets above about 78-80, it is like somebody flips a switch and fatigue just starts building in my legs. As long as I stop to cool down periodically, I can keep going, but I just can't do 15-20 mile stretches without a break anymore when it is over 80 and sunny. Lots of time fixing tires and lots of time spent trying to cool off in the shade really hurt our pace, but overall, we finished strong with my wife doing a lot of the pulling in the afternoon.

Day two was like a carbon copy of day 1, except I didn't have any issues with flat tires. We took the express route since we just haven't done enough training this year to want to do the steeper climbs without being a nuisance to those around us. We hit lunch just after 9am and then it was like a repeat of day 1. It got above 80 and my legs just started to shut down on me. We still made a good pace to the finish and crossed the line a couple of minutes before noon, but the stretch from lunch to the finish was pretty painful at times. My quads literally were trying to seize up on the big hill right before 71 after lunch. I dropped down to 4.5mph at one point and thought briefly that I was going to have to stop and walk. I am sure the photographer got some Tommy Voeckler-esque shots of me grimacing and trying to force my legs to keep going near the top.

All and all, it was pretty good weather and a good time, but for many reasons this year was more difficult physically for me than many of the previous MS150s I have done (this was #15 ). Every time I got frustrated or upset at my lack of ability to keep up the pace I wanted, or had to ask my wife to slow down (yes, I was humbled to that degree both days), I just took a moment to look around and reflect about how many people were out there riding, raising money, volunteering, cheering, etc. for all of us with MS, and I was able to just push the negativity away and keep going. So thanks again to all of you, and if you see me out there next year, feel free to ask me to take a pull, as it is the least I can do for what you all are doing for me.

Glad you did it again this year dude. Congrats on finishing!
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Old 05-03-19, 08:01 AM
  #678  
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Ready to roll


Lunch[/QUOTE]

How was the Chicken and Waffles? Everything you hoped it would be?

Last edited by Tanstaafl; 05-03-19 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 05-03-19, 08:45 AM
  #679  
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MS150 weekend

First of all, glad to hear everyone had a good, safe ride. The weather was just about perfect this year. If it had not been quite so hot in the afternoons, I would have called it perfect.

The finish line was much improved this year, though some comments above indicate there is still room for improvement. The nice weather and shorter distance on day two (66 miles vs 75 in downtown Austin), put the turtle across the finish line a little after 4:30 (most years in downtown the turtle finished around 6:00). Most of the folks on the ride live in Houston, so it is nice to get an earlier start towards home.

This year, I still heard several comments lamenting the move from the Austin finish line to Circuit of the Americas (COTA). Some folks are mad at the MS Society for moving out of downtown. It appears many folks don't really understand why the move was made, so I thought I would take a minute to try and explain. If you come across others grieving the loss of downtown Austin, maybe you can explain it to them.

The reason we no longer finish in downtown Austin is best explained by this:

The street going left-right at the bottom of the picture is MLK Blvd. The grassy mall running up the center is/was Congress Ave. The parking lots where so many of the team tents were set up will have buildings on them. Simply put, the area where we had the finish line is not there anymore, or will be gone soon. You can get more info here: Capitol Plan

The MS Society did not just decide to leave downtown. The City of Austin / State of Texas told them that 2017 was the last year the MS150 would be allowed to finish at the Capitol. Thus the move to COTA.

The downtown Austin finish line was pretty iconic. I can't think of a more visually appealing place for a finish, but one had to be found. It had to be big enough to accommodate the finish line and all the team tents, trucks, buses, and everything else necessary. It has to be between 65 and 80 road miles from La Grange, available on the MS150 weekend, the roads had to be suitable for bicycle traffic, there had to be suitable places for break points along the road, and the route had to be approved by law enforcement.

The MS Society looked at a lot of places, and COTA was deemed the best option. If anyone can think of a better place, I'd love to hear about it. No sarcasm in that. I don't think COTA is as good as downtown, but I know of no place better that we can use. If you know of such a place, I would really like to hear about it.

Last edited by Tanstaafl; 05-03-19 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 05-03-19, 09:56 AM
  #680  
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Good post Tanstaafl. I agree that the MS Society didn't have any say in whether the finish had to move. The one thing I don't miss about going into downtown was the cone lined hills with traffic backed up around them. Every single year I rode to Austin, I saw at least one very serious bike wreck due to speed differential between riders and the shifting of cones due to traffic. After you watch somebody go down at 30-35 mph after bullseyeing a cone, and then try to stand up clearly concussed, with a likely broken collarbone, and with most of the skin taken off of their right arm and leg from sliding down the asphalt, it changes how you feel about the trip into Austin. I liked the iconic view, but I got tired of seeing people get hurt due to the tight quarters on the roads leading in. Sure it is a big challenge to ride and I appreciate the heck out of people for doing it, but I hate watching people get hurt in the process. So to me, even though I miss the view, the wide open spaces and safer roads into COTA are a big plus for me. They still have some things they can do to improve traffic flow getting out, but overall the system worked much more smoothly this year and they proved they listened with many of the improvements.
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Old 05-03-19, 12:41 PM
  #681  
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Originally Posted by Tanstaafl View Post
The reason we no longer finish in downtown Austin is best explained by this:

The street going let-right at the bottom of the picture is MLL Blvd. The grassy mall running up the center is/was Congress Ave. The parking lots where so many of the team tents were set up will have buildings on them. Simply put, the area where we had the finish line is not there anymore, or will be gone soon. You can get more info here: Capitol Plan
MLK is north of the Capitol. The MS150 finished on the south side, didn't it? Or am I all turned around? I only got to do the downtown Austin finish a couple of times, so I may not have understood where we were riding.

COTA was laid out better this year. Getting from the finish line to the showers to the tents to the buses didn't involve as much walking. But it's still an ugly place to finish.
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Old 05-03-19, 02:56 PM
  #682  
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Originally Posted by Tanstaafl View Post
Ready to roll


Lunch
How was the Chicken and Waffles? Everything you hoped it would be? [/QUOTE]

They were great! I had planned to have it at a place called Whiskey Cake that was near the bike shop. Unfortunately, I think Google was ahead of reality and Whiskey Cake was not built yet. At least this one. Plan B was Slim Chickens, which is the picture above. It was a fast food place, but they were good. The Texas shaped waffle was a plus. I had them again at BB's Tex-Orleans. This was a typical Texas BBQ place. They were better because the chicken was better. I don't want them every day, but they were nice.

If you ever come to Philadelphia, please have the cheesesteak.

Ride Safe,

Joe
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Old 05-03-19, 03:59 PM
  #683  
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Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
Good post Tanstaafl. I agree that the MS Society didn't have any say in whether the finish had to move. The one thing I don't miss about going into downtown was the cone lined hills with traffic backed up around them. Every single year I rode to Austin, I saw at least one very serious bike wreck due to speed differential between riders and the shifting of cones due to traffic. After you watch somebody go down at 30-35 mph after bullseyeing a cone, and then try to stand up clearly concussed, with a likely broken collarbone, and with most of the skin taken off of their right arm and leg from sliding down the asphalt, it changes how you feel about the trip into Austin. I liked the iconic view, but I got tired of seeing people get hurt due to the tight quarters on the roads leading in. Sure it is a big challenge to ride and I appreciate the heck out of people for doing it, but I hate watching people get hurt in the process. So to me, even though I miss the view, the wide open spaces and safer roads into COTA are a big plus for me. They still have some things they can do to improve traffic flow getting out, but overall the system worked much more smoothly this year and they proved they listened with many of the improvements.
Thanks,

I was going to say something about the roads going into Austin, but I figured my post was long enough as it was. I never actually saw anyone go down on the coned streets, but I can see how they could cause a hazard. Also, 969 from Bastrop to Austin is not the sleepy little country road it used to be. It's getting to be quite busy Austin now that the 130 Tollway is running.

I don't know if they will ever be able to get traffic in and out of COTA efficiently. Right now the entire place is served by a couple of two lane roads on the North and South end of the property. I'm sure they will look at it again this year for further improvements, but in the end, I think some traffic will be unavoidable.
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Old 05-03-19, 04:04 PM
  #684  
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Originally Posted by memebag View Post
MLK is north of the Capitol. The MS150 finished on the south side, didn't it? Or am I all turned around? I only got to do the downtown Austin finish a couple of times, so I may not have understood where we were riding.

COTA was laid out better this year. Getting from the finish line to the showers to the tents to the buses didn't involve as much walking. But it's still an ugly place to finish.
You are a bit turned around. The MS150 finish line was on the North side of the Capitol.

You were at the very end of a two day, 150+ mile ride. Depending on the year, you were soaked with rain, or soaked with sweat from the heat, or had battled gale force headwinds all day. You were bound to be just a bit disoriented coming in to the finish.....
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Old 05-03-19, 04:11 PM
  #685  
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Originally Posted by Tanstaafl View Post
You are a bit turned around. The MS150 finish line was on the North side of the Capitol.

You were at the very end of a two day, 150+ mile ride. Depending on the year, you were soaked with rain, or soaked with sweat from the heat, or had battled gale force headwinds all day. You were bound to be just a bit disoriented coming in to the finish.....
It's a good thing I never tried to ride over to Hole in the Wall for a Reality after the finish. I would have ended up in the river.
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Old 05-05-19, 10:22 AM
  #686  
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I heard before last year's ride the MS was forced to move because of the construction. I hope once it's complete they will find a way to move the end of the ride back to DT. If there's going to be that huge grassy mall area, why not have tents and whatnot set up there and riders will finish along one of the adjacent streets towards the capital building? I dunno. There's something not quite as fulfilling riding to COTA. There was a certain majesty about coming to the city, and finishing in sight of the capital and among the buildings of downtown.
Either way, I'm still sad I missed this year and am looking forward to being back again next year for #5 .
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Old 05-06-19, 06:36 AM
  #687  
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Originally Posted by Tanstaafl View Post
If anyone can think of a better place, I'd love to hear about it. No sarcasm in that. I don't think COTA is as good as downtown, but I know of no place better that we can use. If you know of such a place, I would really like to hear about it.
Auditorium Shores, with a capacity of 20K-ish, seems to be a reasonable compromise. There are a ton of behind-the-scenes politics/negotiations that make it easier said than done but on the surface, one would think it's a win-win scenario.
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Old 05-06-19, 02:09 PM
  #688  
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
I heard before last year's ride the MS was forced to move because of the construction. I hope once it's complete they will find a way to move the end of the ride back to DT. If there's going to be that huge grassy mall area, why not have tents and whatnot set up there and riders will finish along one of the adjacent streets towards the capital building? I dunno. There's something not quite as fulfilling riding to COTA. There was a certain majesty about coming to the city, and finishing in sight of the capital and among the buildings of downtown.
Either way, I'm still sad I missed this year and am looking forward to being back again next year for #5 .
I really would not hold my breath on this one. There were/are political forces at work as well. For a while there were a LOT of events downtown. The capitol renovations / expansion were a good reason to move many of them out of downtown. A major force in keeping the ride downtown was governor Rick Perry. He was a big fan of the MS150 and a big reason we were able to finish downtown. When he left, the folks who do not want us down there had a bigger voice.

There is also the safety issue. As I mentioned above, the road the MS150 used to get to Austin is no loner a sleepy little country road.
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Old 05-06-19, 02:21 PM
  #689  
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Yep, if I were betting, I would place my money on the BP MS150 becoming an "out and back" ride before I bet on it ever finishing in downtown Austin again. It isn't just about where to setup team tents, it is about where to park a dozen 18 wheelers for bikes and supplies, several dozen box trucks for various teams, a couple of dozen buses for transportation back to Houston, shower trucks, etc. There just isn't room down there for all of that without the big open parking lots that are now being turning into buildings. Also, as Tanstaafl said, when you get that many riders going down what is not a sleepy country road anymore, the traffic can become a huge nightmare, particularly if you have to try to get medical assistance to injured riders. Those kinds of logistics problems CAN be overcome with the right support from various government agencies...but they CAN also be used as reasons not to do it if the heads of the governmental agencies don't want to support the downtown finish.
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Old 05-11-19, 06:22 AM
  #690  
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I've only been riding the MS150 since 2015, so I am relatively new. In 2015, we were a team with no tent in Austin and most of use were first year riders. We had no idea what to expect or do when we got there. I had no idea how to navigate the grounds. We ended up stopping at a burger joint on the way home. In 2017, it was the headwind year. Again, first year of a new team with no place to arrive. I rolled in at about 4:30, exhausted. We left pretty much right away to get home for the kids. Another year when I had no idea what to do. In those two finishes, I never even got the token bike shot with the capitol building in the background. I did take out an orange cone when someone slammed on her brakes in the narrow barely big enough lane for one bike on the approach to Austin.

I don't mind the COTA finish. I don't have years of history in the ride. I'm not a Texan native, so finishing in the state capitol doesn't hold some great esteem with me. Sure, parking last year was a nightmare. But, that was largely addressed this year. The exits only allowed one lane of traffic onto the road, so there is a natural bottleneck. Maybe next year they'll figure out traffic flow out of the parking spaces and lanes. I was given with the team captain tag last year, so my main concern is making sure our riders all have an enjoyable ride. As long as they have a place to go to in LaGrange and COTA that has seating, food and drink, I am happy. One thing I really enjoyed was the area to setup pop up tents for the small teams. Our support arrived at 7:00 in the morning to secure spots and was already the third team there. Team tents are a huge expense for small teams and giving us a spot was very helpful.
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Old 09-05-19, 09:21 PM
  #691  
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Sounds like this is a moot discussion. Just saw unofficial announcement claiming the ride in 2020 will have a start in Houston, a start in Austin, an overnight for both groups in LaGrange, and a finish at Kyle Field in College Station. Despite being an Aggie, my initial reaction is negative. I will wait for more details, but I am somewhat disappointed if this is true.
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Old 09-07-19, 07:54 AM
  #692  
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Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
Sounds like this is a moot discussion. Just saw unofficial announcement claiming the ride in 2020 will have a start in Houston, a start in Austin, an overnight for both groups in LaGrange, and a finish at Kyle Field in College Station. Despite being an Aggie, my initial reaction is negative. I will wait for more details, but I am somewhat disappointed if this is true.
In this case the unofficial announcement is correct. The official announcement will be made on September 19th, but there was an early announcement at the Tour of Champions ride last weekend.

The negative comments about COTA are a big part of why the MS150 decided to move. There were also scheduling problems with COTA. The MotoGP race, an event much larger than the MS150, falls in the middle of April. If the MotoGP date fell on the same weekend as the MS150, our ride was out. That is why the MS150 moved to the end of April, to try and avoid date conflicts with MotoGP. Still, the MS150 has to lock in a date around the end of May with a lot of site owners and vendors. MotoGP waits until August or so to announce its date. This caused a lot of problems with the ride the past two years, so this is another reason for the move.

The folks that run COTA are nice people, but in the end, the MS150 was just another group renting space for the weekend. Texas A&M really wants the MS150 to come to Kyle field. Meeting with them have been good, and they are enthusiastically pulling out the proverbial red carpet to welcome the ride and help make it a success.

I find it kind of interesting that after all the negative comments about COTA, there are folks who don't like it that the ride is moving. Damned if we do, damned if we don't. The Capitol finish line was great, even iconic. But it is gone. The streets and parking lots where the finish line stood are gone. New construction and renovation will leave nothing to come back to. Check it out yourself here: Capito Plan

So the MS150 either finds a new finish line or gets cancelled permanently. I prefer the former.

Day 1 out of Houston will not change at all.

There will be a start in Austin on Day 1. It will follow the old La Grange - Austin route from years past. The start line in Austin is being worked out, but nothing is definite enough yet to say anything.

The Day 1 route from Austin will go through Bastrop-Beuscher State Park in the reverse direction from past years and end up in La Grange.

On Day 2 everyone rides to Kyle Field. The ride crosses 290 in Burton, goes through Sommerville and Snook, and ends at Kyle Field. Riders will enter Kyle field, and do a lap around the fields perimeter. The parking lot on the South side of the field will be set up as the Team tent area.

Last edited by Tanstaafl; 09-12-19 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 09-07-19, 09:02 PM
  #693  
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Holy crap. That's some news.
Any word on what the total mileage will be?
I've never been to College Station yet since moving here. The Austin finish line at the capitol was perfect, really a shame it'll never come again, but I'm always open to riding new roads!
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Old 09-07-19, 09:18 PM
  #694  
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
Holy crap. That's some news.
Any word on what the total mileage will be?
I've never been to College Station yet since moving here. The Austin finish line at the capitol was perfect, really a shame it'll never come again, but I'm always open to riding new roads!
Day 2 mileage will be about 80 miles.

The A&M finish line area is going to be good. Plenty of parking for everyone close to the finish line. If there are any complaints about the new finish line, they won't be about the parking!
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Old 09-07-19, 09:24 PM
  #695  
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I wasn’t too broken up about the change till I realized we wouldn’t be riding through the park. Last year was my first year but the park was freaking awesome! I absolutely LOVED that section of the ride. More so than any other.
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Old 09-08-19, 03:43 PM
  #696  
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Yeah, same for me. I only got to ride the park once, in 2018, and it was beautiful, and the Smithville hill was a blast. Might be a tough first day for people coming from Austin lol
But I definitely agree the entire park section is definitely the best part of the 2 day ride. A shame, but understandable.
I won't miss COTA.
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Old 09-08-19, 03:48 PM
  #697  
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For those who start in Austin on Day 1, the park is on the route, you just get to ride it backwards to what you are used to.
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Old 09-09-19, 07:00 AM
  #698  
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I really wonder how the changes will affect the turnout. They probably lose a bunch of Houston riders that looked forward to a fun Sunday evening in Austin. But, they might a lot of Austin folks who didn't want to shuttle/drive to Houston for the start. They might even get some former Aggies who want to return for the Kyle Field finish. I've ridden the past five years, but never took the park route for various reasons (closed the first three years, didn't feel like shuttling back from our overnight the past two) and now I won't get that chance. The longer mileage on day two is going to be interesting for sure. But, I am looking forward to a much shorter drive home on Sunday.
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Old 09-09-19, 08:53 AM
  #699  
Mitkraft
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Originally Posted by Tanstaafl View Post
For those who start in Austin on Day 1, the park is on the route, you just get to ride it backwards to what you are used to.
Makes me want to start from Austin!

I don't think their numbers will be significantly effected by the change unless they get in influx of Austin and Aggie riders. I can't imagine many people deciding not to do the ride because of it. That would be pretty selfish considering the point of the whole thing.
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Old 09-19-19, 11:29 AM
  #700  
Tanstaafl
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Registration opened for the Texas MS150 today.
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