Monday, April 18, 2011
The Best Sausage in the World Is the Sausage After a Long Ride
On April 16 and 17th, I joined about 13,000 other people on bikes, and about 5,000 volunteers on a 170 mile ride from Houston to Austin to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research. It's a two day ride, with a stop over at La Grange. It is on this ride that I discovered perfect sausage. Here's what I learned: sausage is best hot off the grill, with friends and with mustard, with the sun dipping down over the Texas hills, and with 85 miles of rolling land behind you. It's best when handed to you by fantastic volunteers, after a line of people have cheered your last half mile. It's best when you're dog tired, and looking forward to a cot and a sleeping bag as soon as it gets dark.
By 2:30, 85 miles from where we started, we rolled into La Grange - the middle of pack that started arriving before noon, and kept on coming until after 6:00. What had been, I presume, a typical fairgrounds was converted into a decent size little town. Bike stores, showers, massage studios, music venues, and row after row of tents housing riders and volunteers. Behind each tent, varying in ambition and execution, was a kitchen. Ours was a simple pair of gas grills cooking beef and jalepeno Costco sausage. Down the way a bit was the Continental Airlines tent. Their setup was a little more extreme - a 30 foot scale replica 777 with a 6-burner Vulcan range on the side. Others were more humble, like the little table-top Weber set up down the hill from us in front of one of the dozens of RV's. I'm working on a plan to get The Jalopy to set up outside our tent next year. Will keep you posted on that one.
Next morning, we lined up early - getting our place in line at about 4:30, taking turns watching bikes and running back to the tent for more coffee. At 6:45, as the sun was coming up, we rolled out for Bastrop, and ultimately, back home to Austin. Where more sausage was waiting for us.
I also learned about bravery and commitment. I met riders in their 70s and riders in elementary school. I met riders who had loved ones with MS, or who suffered from it themselves. And throughout, I saw a group of people committed to doing this to help find a cure. It was an inspiring thing (if you'd like to contribute to the cause, we're still taking donations).
And I learned about the patience of my family, who put up with my training rides every weekend, who drove me down to Houston the day before the ride, and who cheered for me when I rolled back into Austin.
Posted more pictures over on Grubbus' home on Facebook.