180 mile ride for Multiple Sclerosis

Students ride in MS 150


Photo by Lyndsey Hill

HOSA sold t-shirts at luch to help benefit the MS150.


The sweat runs down junior Lawrence Mangaoang’s face and drenches the white shirt with red and blue stripes that separates him and his team from the rest. He gazes at the beautiful scenery that lines the designated bike path and he thinks back on the opening gate. The large banner welcoming the bikers and the crowds of volunteers and of people paired off in teams. The large, the small, young and old, mount their bikes and decorate the starting gate with the hope that their 150 mile two day bike ride will raise awareness for Multiple Sclerosis.

Mangaoang is a junior who is riding the MS150 for the second time. On April 12 Lawrence and his father, along with Team Titan, the group they’re riding with, will be at the starting gate of the MS150 6:45 Saturday morning. From there, (their journey 180 mile journey) along with the other 15,000 riders from all over the country will ride in the biggest bike race in the nation.

“I rode the MS150 last year because of my dad,” Mangaoang said. “We really love riding our bikes together and he has done it before and convinced me to ride with him last year.”

The race lasts for two days and is a fundraising event organized by the National MS Society: Lone Star and stretches from Houston to Austin. Day One of the ride begins Saturday morning at three convenient starting points: Tully Stadium in Houston, TX, Rhodes Stadium in Katy, TX and Waller Stadium in Waller, TX where they release 100 riders at a time.

One of the spokespeople for MS came and talked to HOSA about Multiple Sclerosis, so I wanted to do something to help out.

— senior Hatim Tai

Mangaoang is not the only Klein High School student riding in the MS150. Among the 15,000 riders participating in the MS150, senior Hatim Tai is riding the race for the first time.

“After Audrey Blank, one of the spokespeople for MS came and talked to HOSA about Multiple Sclerosis, so I wanted to do something to help out,” said senior Hatim Tai. “And my brother rode it last year. I’ve raised almost $200 for MS and I am riding with team Audrey’s Heroes.”

MS or Multiple Sclerosis, is a disease where an unusual response of a person’s immune system begins attacking myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers and the nerve fibers themselves. This damage caused to the central nervous system and optic nerves meaning that impulses and signals traveling to and from the brain and the spinal cord are interrupted and tampered with causing a wide variety of symptoms. This disease is thought to be triggered by genetics or by a combination of one or more environmental factors. While there is no cure for MS, there are “disease-modifying drugs” that can reduce the frequency and severity of MS attacks. Use can result in less damage to the brain and spinal cord over time, slowing the progression of disability.

“It feels good riding for those who are dealing with this disease,” Mangaoang said. “I am riding with a company called Techniq and the team name is Team Titan. We all meet at one of the staring gates, there’s about 20 people riding with this company including me and my dad. I have to ride the whole way with my dad because I am underage and can’t ride without an adult. ”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the MS 150 race. There is a route called the Bechtel Challenge Route where the bikers continue down FM 153 and enter the Buescher State Park and continue travelling through Bastrop State Park where they will exit onto Loop 150 in Bastrop, Tx. Riders may “By-Pass” the Texas state parks by continuing on FM #153 and eventually merging onto Hwy. 71. The national MS Society says this route is quicker than riding the normal path; however, riders do travel through the state parks and across interstate highways. The route leads to Bastrop Intermediate School for lunch.

“It feels nice when you see the big white tent where the volunteers are,” Mangaoang said. “When you get there, the volunteers help fix your bike, give you water and snacks and have places for riders to lie down. There are a couple stops along the way and that is how I time myself.

Break points are posted every 8-15 miles where there are tents, water, snacks, resting cots and other things that allow the riders to take breaks. Riders follow scenic roads into Bellville for lunch. Day One ends at The Official Overnight: The Fayette County Fairgrounds in La Grange, TX. According to the National MS Society.

“My favorite thing about riding the MS150 is the scenery,” Mangaoang said. “I love looking out at the nature and seeing parts of Texas on my bike with my dad and the other riders.”

The path the bikers take on the second day leads them to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum and next to the Texas State Capitol. There at the state capital the finish line is decorated with family, friends, representatives from the National MS Society and festivities for everyone there.

“I feel relieved and happy and tired all at the same time,” Mangaoang said. “My mom, my brother, and a few of my friends ride up to Austin on the second day and when I cross the finish line it feels good to see them there cheering me on.”