Please support my 2015 BP MS150 ride!

Please support my 2015 BP MS150 ride!
click on the pic to donate to Andy


Although this blog was originally created by Andy Brickell and continues to be updated by him, the design and layout of the page is credited to his daughter, Mary-Claire Brickell. She's pretty awesome.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Frozen in Fayetteville

Off to Fayetteville this morning for the Club 300 ride (courthouse shown to the right). Pretty chilly when I set out from Houston, but the forecast said it would warm up to the 40s or even 50s during the ride. Fayetteville is about 90 minutes drive, so I assumed I'd see a gradual increase in temperature as I drove. But no - if anything, it got colder, and my car was showing 34 degrees as I parked in the town square.

I had invited David, Susan's sister-in-law's brother (got it?) to be my guest for the ride and we quickly hooked up. David lives outside Austin and is doing the MS150 with the BHP team. He was well prepared for the cold with a variety of fleecy garments and a balaclava. As we saddled up he mentioned that he's already completed two 200km rides this year. He's clearly much better prepared than me, not just in the cycling apparel department.

It was definitely a morning for all the gear. I'd been given a pair of knitted arm warmers as swag when I registered and wasted no time in getting them on. I had also brought along my rubber booties, purchased by Susan before the aborted first day of the 2009 ride (followers of this blog will no doubt remember the footwear in question). I'd never actually used them but how hard can it be, right? They slide over your shoes and zip up at the back, and there are holes in the bottom for your cleat and heel. I picked one up and noted the large letter "L" printed inside - clearly for the left foot, so on it went. The other was obviously the right, but it had an "L" on it too! Bugger, had I been given two lefts? And would it matter anyway? Confusion reigned for a second or two until I realized that the "L" actually meant "Large". Hoping no-one had seen this episode, I pulled the second bootie over my shoe and rolled off to the start.

Quite a small group for the ride this year. One hero was actually wearing cycling shorts without tights, prompting someone to ask him where in North Dakota he came from. There were two routes, both loops - one was 17 miles, the other 28. Everyone rode the 17 mile first and you could choose your poison after that. We set off, with David's bike computer showing 33 degrees. The route took us down some pretty crappy roads, with gravel flying off everyone's tires, but we eventually got onto asphalt and enjoyed some pretty good scenery, at least for Central Texas. A few climbs to deal with but I was doing OK, as was David who was clearly feeling very comfortable. After about ten miles we got separated when my chain jammed up and I had to stop for repairs. Back in Fayetteville, David was tucking into a barbecue sandwich as I arrived. I settled for a bag of cookies and a water bottle top-up and suggested we push ahead on the longer route.
I was starting to flag a bit, due primarily to lack of training, but tried to keep the pace up. A few of the climbs had me in my granny gear and fighting for breath, but I got to the top. We passed another group who were taking a pit stop, but it wasn't long before they caught us. David rode ahead with them for a while, but they turned back for a straggler (who was still ahead of me!) and David came back too. We rode the rest of the way together, the temperature having climbed to a balmy 34 degrees, and headed straight into the shed to get warm and sample some outstanding barbecue from Orsak's Cafe (highly recommended!)

With a belly-full of brisket and all the fixin's, I thanked David for his patience and set out for home. 11 weeks to go to the big ride -

Friday, January 22, 2010

beggars can't be choosers

Just finished sending out begging e-mails to all my friends. No, I haven't blown the family savings on a new bike, I'm kicking off my fund-raising for the MS150, and everyone has been incredibly generous in the past. If you're reading this and considering a donation, please think about all the people with MS in Texas that get help from the society, and dig deep. Here's my virtual begging bowl -
And here is my online donation page. Thanks!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Naughty or Nice in the Noughties

Here's the Brickell's 2010 New Year's Day quiz about the last decade. See how much you can remember!


Nice: who was the winning pitcher when the Astros beat the Cardinals 5-1 to win the 2005 National League Championship series?

1. Roger Clemens
2. Roy Oswalt
3. Chad Qualls
4. Andy Pettitte

Naughty: who was the losing pitcher in the last game of the White Sox four game sweep that followed?

1. Brad Lidge
2. Wandy Rodriguez
3. Ezequiel Astacio
4. Brandon Backe

Nice: what was the score when the Texans beat the Cowboys in their first regular season game in Reliant Stadium in September 2002?

1. 14-3
2. 10-0
3. 17-14
4. 19-10

Naughty: how many regular season games did they win that year ?

1. 4
2. 5
3. 3
4. 2


Naughty: match these one-hit wonders from the Noughties with their song

1. Inside your heaven
2. Bad day
3. Lollipop
4. Butterfly

1. Daniel Powter
2. Bo Bice
3. Static Major
4. Crazy Town

Nice: match these Oscar-winning movies with the year they won:

1. Chicago
2. No Country for Old Men
3. A Beautiful Mind
4. American Beauty

1. 2000
2. 2002
3. 2003
4. 2008


Nice: who put "about 18 million cracks" in the glass ceiling?

1. Michelle Bachman
2. Hillary Clinton
3. Sarah Palin
4. Nancy Pelosi

Naughty: who, according to, told the "Lie of the Year" in 2009?

1. Michelle Bachman
2. Hillary Clinton
3. Sarah Palin
4. Nancy Pelosi

Nice: which of these "statements" are genuine Bushisms?

1. "There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on --shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again."
2. "You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test."
3. “If the King’s English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for the children of Texas"
4. "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."

Naughty: which of the following are accepted modifiers of the term chad?

1. Hanging
2. Swinging
3. Dimpled
4. Tri-

Science and Technology

Naughty: How did a baguette break the LHC, the world's largest machine?

1. A bird dropped a piece of it into the power supply
2. An engineer chose the wrong place to eat his lunch
3. Re-starting the machine disturbed the earth around a forgotten French resistance food store, which then needed to be examined by archeologists

Nice: Around the time of that bread-related incident, interest resurfaced in a paper by theoretical physicists Holger Bech Nielsen and Masao Ninomiya suggesting what?

1. Creating the hypothetical Higgs boson particle, the aim of the LHC, will both explain how all particles get mass and attract carbs
2. The sheer size of the LHC - which includes a 16.8 mile circuit - means even the very small statistical probability of fault becomes significant
3. All such machines will be sabotaged from the future

Naughty: what was hit at 5,600 mph during the LCROSS experiment?

1. the Sun
2. the Moon
3. North Korea
4. Antarctica


Nice: Three Somali pirates were shot dead in the rescue of US captain Richard Phillips, a use of force authorised by Barack Obama. This made him the first US president to kill pirates since who?

1. Washington
2. Van Buren
3. Madison
4. Theodore Roosevelt


Naughty: What became Greenland's official language in June when it took control of its own natural resources, judicial affairs and law enforcement from Denmark?

1. Danish
2. Greenlandic
3. Icelandic
4. Inuit

Nice: How else did Greenland mark home rule?

1. Announce a referendum on changing its name to something more realistic
2. Distributing two tonnes of whale meat among the people
3. Register a bid with the International Olympic Committee for Nuuk to host the 2020 Games

Bear Creek - Terry Hershey loop

Bear Creek - Terry Hershey loop

Daily commute to work

Daily commute to work
This isn't quite right but it's close. 9.5 miles, about 40 minutes.

Terry Hershey Park

Terry Hershey Park
10 miles of safe, paved cycling bliss - except for all the foot traffic

The Sealy ride

The Sealy ride
45 miles through very pretty Texas countryside. Looks benign but there's a very hilly section at mile 35.

The Katy ride

The Katy ride
It's on the Katy prairie - flat, flat, flat