Shiner Bash 2003


This is from last years Shiner Bash. This is a great but long ride and has three starting cities. Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and all roads lead to the Spoetzl Brewry in Shiner Texas. Home of my favorite beer, Shiner Bock.

2003 MS150 Thank you Letter


Dear Sponsors, neighbors, family and friends:

I want to start by saying thank you to everyone who supported me. Whether your support was financial, physical, spiritual or emotional, I want say thanks and let you know that I was able to raise $1055.00 that will be used to help make life better for people with Multiple Sclerosis. Next year my goal will be $2500, but I'll talk to everyone about that in January.

Those of you on my email list who received the training updates know that I rode in the MS150 as a part of Team Honeywell. My brother Jeff works for Honeywell and got me on his team for which I am extremely grateful. Having him, his wife Sandy and the rest of the Honeywell team supporting and encouraging me on this ride made it a much richer experience. Many of the team members including Jeff have ridden in a MS150 before and helped people new to the ride like me by giving advice about where things are, how they work and literally pointing us in the right direction (to the showers and port-o-pottys).

The first morning was cool and foggy and we started riding around 7:10 AM. Team Honeywell decided to start from near the home of our team captain, Phil. He lives along the route and we could get an earlier start by not having to wait in line with eleven or twelve thousand others who started from the two stadiums a few miles away. We had the wind at our backs which made for some really good riding. The roads were nice and flat. I rode with my brother for most of the day and we got to see some interesting people. There were people of all ages, races and genders. There were people on racing bikes, mountain bikes, tandem bikes, recumbent bikes, wheelchair bikes, roller blades and a unicycle. We even saw a cyclist that only had one leg (as he passed us). Jeff and I stayed together until we started on the hills. I had been hearing horror stories about "The Hills" since I decided to ride in the MS150 and was more than a little worried since all of my training has been on mostly flat ground with some gently sloping hills just north of the Woodlands. Jeff and I got separated after a few hills. I found that I could manage the hills but I needed to maintain a certain pace and found out that Jeff had injured his knee a few weeks before the ride and was not up to his usual strength. It took me 6 hours 17 minutes and 58 seconds to ride 92.36 miles before crossing the mid-point finish line in LaGrange. Team Honeywell had arranged for a large tent to be set up, my bags delivered and volunteers to cook barbeque. After getting cleaned up, eating my fill and drinking a few frosty adult beverages I was pretty much down for the night. I crawled in my sleeping bag around 9:00 PM and went to sleep quickly but after a few hours I was tossing and turning, still excited and nervous about day two. I must have dreamed I was still hungry because I woke up with grass in my mouth. Next year I'll look into a cot.

Day two started off with a pancake breakfast for several thousand. The volunteers were great and somehow managed to get us fed and ready to ride. The weather for day two was about the same as day one and after packing our bags and a quick bike check we were off, or so we thought. Some of us tried to sneak out the back way a little early so we wouldn't have to wait in a long line but apparently word got out and we ended up having to wait behind about a thousand people. There is a split route on day two. One route went through Buescher State Park and the other stayed on slightly flatter back roads. I had heard the State Park was beautiful and decided that I would try it even though the hills are supposed to be much tougher. The stories were not exaggerated, those are some killer hills. Going up the hills was tough but going down the other side was scary. The winding roads through the park are narrow with no shoulder and have trees right on the edge of the road. Going down one hill I was riding with one of the MS150 medics when he crashed after hitting some gravel at about 30 miles per hour. I was not able to stop and help since I was also going 30 mph with twenty or thirty people riding right behind me. I think he was ok and I could see him smiling after he went down so I think his pride was hurt more than his body. I am proud that I didn't have to walk my bike up any of the hills but I did have to make several unscheduled stops to rest. After the park I noticed quite a few riders that appeared to be having trouble with exhaustion, pulled muscles and the like. About a mile before the finish line I passed a guy who had hurt his leg. He was pedaling with the good leg and had swung his bad leg out of the way. He looked exhausted, his face was red and he would pedal a few times and then hang his head then look up and start pedaling again. I didn't see this guy finish but I know by the look on his face that he must have. When I got to the finish line I got goose bumps from all the people cheering and realized how lucky I am to have the health and strength to make it.

For those that are interested, over two days I completed 172.16 miles in 12 hours 15 minutes and 48 seconds of riding, which is an average speed of 13.95 MPH. My top speed during the ride was down a very steep hill at 39.1 MPH.

Sorry it has taken me so long to send out this update. I thought I would wait until I received the pictures taken of me on the ride by the professional ride photographers but it looks like it may be a while longer for those to show up if at all. I have included a picture of me that was taken on the second day of the ride. My color printer cheesed out on me so the picture is black and white.

If you would like to see the pictures I took on the ride you can see them online HERE and HERE. Feel free to email me at greg.gillis@sillig.com if you have any questions.

Best Regards,

Greg Gillis

2003 Photos of BP Training Ride


I finally got the pictures developed for the training ride last weekend.

I have added them to my AspPhotoFinder program which is available on the internet.

You can click on the links below to see a few of the better pictures.

If you have a dial-up connection to the internet viewing these pictures may be very slow as they are 100k - 200k in size each. Feel free to look at other pictures on the site and use the search feature.

This is the staging area about 45 minutes before the start of the ride. There are already hundreds of people lined up. The start line is several hundred yards away.
Click Here

I took this picture after getting in the line about 25 minutes before the start. These are all of the people ahead of me. If you look at the left side of this picture you can see a line of cars that were still coming in even after the start. I don't know the official count but it was certainly several thousand riders.
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These are all of the people behind me.
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This shows why I like these rides so much. The routes are back roads for the most part.
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And Here

After 20 miles I can finally see the rest area.
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Here is a better shot of the rest area. It was a bit of a mad house.
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Back on the road again.
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The second rest stop at mile 40.
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And Here

I'm not sure what river this is but I took this picture while riding across the bridge.
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Here is another nice country road.
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This is the last rest stop about 56 miles out. The crowd has thinned out a little.
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Here is the finish line. No cheering crowds but it still felt really good finishing and having enough energy to take Linda for green beer up at Mathias's pub a few hours later.
Click Here

Thanks again for all of the support.

Greg Gillis

2003 BP America Training Ride


To all of my MS150 Sponsors,

On Sunday March, 16 I rode in my second organized bike ride. This ride was sponsored by BP who is also the sponsor for the MS150 for the next few years. The ride was well organized with motorcycle support, SAG vans to help with repairs and take people and bikes to the next rest stop, medical personal and rest stops that had plenty of snacks, water and Gatorade.

While this ride was officially designated as the "BP America Training Ride" it could have easily been renamed to the Katy Skunk Ride. Not because it was a stinker, but because there were so many skunks on the side of the road. I counted 7 Skunks from the start at Rhodes Stadium in Katy to the first rest stop about 20 miles later. In all I counted over 25 of the little stinkers.

Anyway, the ride was to start at 8:00 AM and I had already done some carb loading and finished my energy drink (cinnamon roll covered with white frosting and a half of a pot of coffee) when it started sprinkling. It only sprinkled a little bit on and off throughout the day and I was a little worried that I might get to cold without a jacket. I took a chance and decided on not wearing the jacket figuring that I would be warm enough from pedaling. I was right and warmed up very fast. Once again I think that I had a good tail wind to start or it could have been the energy drink but I was cruising for the first 4 or 5 miles very fast. I finally pulled back a little trying to pace myself. I made it to the first rest stop feeling really good, much better than the previous weekend. It's funny, with a few thousand people on this ride that I ran into my brother Jeff at the rest stop. We talked for a bit and then I was back on the road. The next rest stop was at 40 miles and I was still feeling pretty good. The last rest stop was in Brookshire about 56 miles out. This is when I started to feel it a little. My seat was getting hard and my back was starting to bother me. I came prepared with advil to take care of the back spasms and it really helped. I finished the 66.85 mile ride in 4 Hours 46 Minutes and 25 Seconds which is a 14 mph average.

One of the best things about this ride was how accurate the distances were. They said it was 66 miles and it was.

I took pictures on this ride and just dropped the film off to be developed. I will send a separate email with the web address where the pictures can be viewed when they have been scanned.

Thanks to you all for being a sponsor,

Greg Gillis

2003 - Space Race


To all of my MS150 sponsors,

Yesterday I rode in my first organized bike ride at Space Center Houston called the Space Race www.spacerace.org which benefits the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The ride had several routes available and I chose the 65 mile route despite the fact that I have only ridden about 80 miles total since I started my training last month. I was nervous but had a good feeling about being able to finish. While waiting for the start I ran into my brother Jeff who is also training for the MS150. Jeff and I started together and made good time (about 18 mph on average) until the first rest stop where I lost him. It turns out that the reason that I made such good time and felt so good about myself is that there was a nice tail wind, I just didn't realize it right away.

I felt good for the first 30 miles or so and then started getting some back spasms, but I stopped at all of the official rest stops and a few unofficial ones too. At this point it seemed like no matter which way we turned there is now a gusty head wind.

By mile 50 my seat felt like a brick.

At mile 60 I thought my legs were going to fall off.

At about mile 62 I switched my bikes computer from speed to the odometer so I could keep track of how far I had to go and to keep telling myself that I could make it just another 3 miles...2 miles...1 mile.

When I got to what my computer told me was mile 65 I kept looking for the finish line.

When I got to mile 70 I was sunburned, thirsty and out of water and could see the giant overpass I was about to ride over. I somehow managed to pedal up and was enjoying coasting down the other side of the overpass where I could now see Nasa Road 1 and some of the Space Center rockets. That is where I got the flat tire.

I changed the flat in about 15 minutes and hit the finish line about 10 minutes later.

I am sore today but feel good about finishing the ride. I would definentley do this ride again.

I regret I was unable to take any pictures on this ride. I will make sure my camera is ready for the next one.

Thanks for all of the support.

Greg Gillis
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Daily Quote

"If there’s a bright centre to the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from."

Luke Skywalker

Submitted by: gtgillis / 2013-11-20
Category: Star Wars

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