Katyites Get Ready for the Ride of a Lifetime
Last April, 13,000 cyclists came together to ride 182 miles from Houston to Austin in the BP MS 150 to raise over $17 million for those living with MS, and they will do it all over again this year on April 17. Many riders are from the Katy area including our own Katy Area Economic Development President, Lance LaCour, who is in training for the arduous journey.
Committed Katy Cyclists
Currently, more than 400,000 Americans are living with MS, according to Gena Hyde of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. It is a debilitating disease that affects each person uniquely. â€œThere is no known cause, and so there is yet to be a known cure,â€ Hyde explains. Perhaps this is why Katy cyclists commit year after year to ride the 182 miles from Houston to Austin and to raise $400 or more for the National MS Society.
Local Residents Take a Ride for MS
Katy resident Dr. Scott Balin decided to take up the challenge seven years ago while riding with a friend whose sister has MS. He is riding for family friend, Samantha Gluckman, who lives in Israel. As a former cyclist herself, she loves to ride, but can no longer do so due to the affect of MS on her body. Her family brought over a bandana with her name embroidered on it for Balin to wear. He explains, â€œJust knowing that I can ride for her is an honor for me, and truly helps meÂ keep goingÂ by knowing herÂ winning spiritÂ will be with me the entire ride to that sweet end inÂ Austin.â€
Becky Ricketts, another Katy cyclist, is also familiar with the finish line in Austin. She has ridden in a Bike MS four times, including twice in Houston and twice in Louisiana. Every year, there are 100 Bike MS rides across the country to raise money. Each bike ride varies in the course and the actual mileage ridden. Ricketts was enticed by the challenge of the ride. â€œI had a cousin that died of MS in her 20â€™s, and so it is very special to my family,â€ she shares. Becky loves the hills and the camaraderie of the ride, but confesses that it can be trying at times. â€œThe hardest part of the ride is sleeping with 200 of your closest friends,â€ she says. â€œItâ€™s cold at night, the lights go out early, and the snores begin.â€ Riders usually camp on Saturday night at the fairgrounds in La Grange. They arise early the next morning to finish up the second day of their ride.
Motivated to Bike MS
The Katy community has many ways to support you. Bike Barnâ€™s Andy Gonzalez urges, â€œGet out and ride as a group as early as you can. The more you do it, the more you get used to it and the safer you end up being.â€ Bike Barn leads rides for riders of varying levels every Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. starting from the store.
There are many ways to be involved in the BP MS 150, whether that is riding the 182 miles yourself, or donating to and supporting another rider. Whatever the case may be, all over the country, Bike MS is raising millions of dollars to find a cure for MS. Balin says of his ride, â€œI only pray that every mile I ride brings us that much closer to finding a cure for multiple sclerosis.â€ Hopefully, that prayer will be echoed in April, when 13,000 riders hit the road from Houston to Austin to change the futures of those living with MS.
Â© Katy Magazine 2010
Adapted from Kelly Isenberger’s story in Katy Magazine’s Spring Issue 2010