Please support my 2015 BP MS150 ride!

Please support my 2015 BP MS150 ride!
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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.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


We had two newbie riders with the Truth Squad today, Brian and Rosalina. We found out fairly early on that they are refugees from a higher level of cycling - Brian set a hot pace and Rosalina sat on his wheel. I hung with them on the way out to Katy Mills but regretted it later.

We blew through a light just as it was changing halfway along, and together with the fierce pace, the group got blown to pieces. The three of us hit the Walgreens for the turn-around well ahead of the rest. When everyone was in the chat naturally turned to the Tour de France, and the likelihood that Cadel Evans would make up enough time on the TT to take the Maillot Jaune onto the Champs Elysee. I wondered if Schleck would violate protocol and attack on the last stage, particularly if he was only a few seconds behind. Kevin though that if he did so and won he'd get an asterisk after his name.

Back on the road and Brian and Rosalina streak ahead again. I hang with them for a while but have to drop back. We regroup in the Park but once again they are too strong, especially when we turn South and hit a block head wind. Fortunately they don't know the route and have to wait for the mere mortals.

A gentle run back along Memorial to the shop, and then Min Kae and I cruise home (like last week). I get back and turn on Versus, to see that Cadel has indeed blown out Andy on the TT. Well done mate.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Talk of the Devil

Fans of this blog (and you know who you are) will recall that I was fantasizing about the new bike from Cervelo, the S5, last week. Well, yesterday morning, Jamie rolled up for the Truth Squad riding - a new S5! The shop has a demo model and she got to take it out. If anything it's more gorgeous in person...

While I was waiting at a light on the way to the start, another rider pulled up beside me and said hi. She was planning to ride with Jamie too and we got chatting. Her ride to the start was a lot longer than mine - a good 10 miles.

The usual crowd gathered for the ride. No sign of Dennis The Waterford Wonder, but Keith showed up on a very nice Cervelo time-trial bike. He and I were stalwarts on Manny's ride last year but I don't think he's been on a Truth Squad run yet. Jamie (on the S5!) opted for the run out to Katy Mills Mall, a shortish route.

We headed out, with the usual suspects setting the pace. I was happy enough to hang back, feeling pretty comfortable. With a few miles to run to the turnaround Jamie opened up on the new bike, so I jumped on her back wheel. It has to be said that drafting behind a semi-pro female cyclist on Cervelo's most aerodynamic road bike is not a particularly rewarding experience - she wasn't blocking much wind.

A good break at the Walgreen's (Keith took the opportunity to ride the S5 around the parking lot!) and we headed for home. The wind was favorable for once and we cracked ahead. A bit further long I caught the speedsters at a light. I velcroed myself onto a rear wheel and was able to stay with them right to the end.

A warmish run through the park (no velcro on this stretch!) and then it was back down Memorial to the shop. My new friend was planning to ride home along Memorial but with the traffic building up she gladly accepted my offer to guide her through the subdivisions to Gessner. She's an impressive young woman - Houston born and bred and a graduate of Rice University, now working as an IT consultant. She has a nice bike too.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bike Porn

Watching the Tour de France gets me all aquiver - not just the thrills and spills and the bollocks that issues every time Cavendish opens his mouth, but the adverts too. The big bike manufacturers buy time to show off their latest creations in loving detail and Cervelo are right in there. This proud beauty is the S5, currently running at $3,800. Susan calls it "Bike Porn" because there is something quite salacious about the way the camera runs down the frame, lingering in soft focus on certain particularly fine curves.

This was on my mind today during the outing with the Truth Squad, in part because Kevin was test-riding a fabulous-looking S3, and loving every minute. Jamie opted for a Bear Creek - Cullen Park - George Bush Park loop, quite a short one really, but I was glad to get it over early.

The ride was pretty uneventful. My pump decided to slip from its mounting halfway up Eldridge, which put me at the back of the peloton, but we regrouped. Quite a hair-raising run through Cullen, with some of the riders setting a hot pace despite the narrow, winding path through the trees.

On to Fry and then to the western end of George Bush Park, all very familiar territory. Just as we started in the park we were passed by a kid on a time trial bike. This of course is not permissible and we formed a pace-line to run him down. Again this was really too fast for the road.

Back at the Dam and we regrouped, swapping tall tales of cycling derring-do and general misbehaviour, as you do (at least when there aren't any women around). We cruised down Memorial and back to the shop, hoping to watch the end of the Tour stage - but sadly they don't have TV in there any more. Apparently their service provider found out that they were supplying a business, not a residence, and upped their rates to untenable levels.

I got back home in time for the Podiums and the post-race analysis. Oh well, should be able to catch more of tomorrow's stage.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Nice and easy does it

A very gentle ride this morning with David, my neighbour and co-worker. He wants to do the MS150 and has bought a pretty nice bike, a full-carbon Felt. We meet at 6.30 outside his house and head off to Terry Hershey.

David wanted to ride for about 2 hours so I suggested we start out going west and see where we are after one hour. Very little traffic of any kind on the trail as we start, more runners as we progress though.

I set a gentle , 14-16 mph pace, partly because of traffic but also because I'm not sure how fast he can go. We clear the park after 30 minutes and decide to carry on to the Cop Shop. With less traffic around we can open it up and I settle in at about 18mph. I told him to draft, ride as close as he can, and he hangs in pretty well.

At the Cop Shop he's blowing a bit but gets his breath back and we chat about work for a few minutes, then turn back. He holds on to my wheel very well and even takes the lead for a bit. At the turn south I suggest we pick up the pace. I crank it up fairly quickly to a full sprint and drop him. We regroup at the Dam, where he tells me that he couldn't hold on above 20 mph.

An uneventful run back home through the Park, now getting very busy. We ride down our street with him telling me about his son - and he forgets to unclip and very nearly goes down. I'm back in the house by 8.30am, feeling pretty good - a much better start to the Weekend than the Truth Squad, but not much physical benefit.

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