First of all, this ride was organized by a group of people who had never organized a ride before. It started out by throwing us onto the feeder road for interstate 59. At the 5 mile mark, still on the feeder, a black pickup truck broadsided a cyclist. A second cyclist ran into the driver's side door of the truck, a third collided with the second. Only the first was hurt badly. He rolled up the hood of the truck and shattered its windshield. My dad was ahead of me on the road, and as he passed through the intersection he saw no police, and cyclists were getting off their bikes to try and help the riders who were down. Where were the police?
Second, the signs on the route were terrible. The ride was called 'Bike through the Forest'. I would assume signage would either have the name of the route, or at least say 'BIKE RIDE' or something. Instead, they said 'Kingwood Fillies', which was apparently the local high school's dance team, for whom this was a fundraiser. At no point were any of us told this. You might also assume the signs might be large. They were not. Needless to say, lots of people missed turns.
Third, the route again. At the end of the route, it used the other side of the feeder for 59...which happened to be under construction. So one lane was being shared by cyclists, often times in small groups or solo, and cars/trucks exiting the interstate. On one side you had pavement with trenches cut into it, on the other cars ready to run you down. One cyclist, given the choice between a trench and getting hit by a car, chose the trench. The frame of his/her bike broke from the impact.
As for my ride, I flatted at around the 15 mile mark, lost my group, ended up alone on the road. Guess what? Missed a turn. My wife, whom I sent on ahead, had stopped at the 20 mile rest stop and waited. Eventually she got ahold of my on my cell phone, I sent her on up the 55 mile route because I was miles behind her. By the time I found the route, figured out their mysterious signage, and got to the 20 mile rest stop, I was at 37 miles. Turns out the 20 mile rest stop is also the 40 mile rest stop. So, I spoke to the volunteers working the stop, they called over to the 30 mile stop. My wife had passed that stop not to long ago, but hadn't made it back to the one I was at. Perfect. I decided to wait for her, she'd be a few miles ahead of me in total distance, but we'd get to do the last 15 together. I waited...and waited. During this point, my dad called me. He had finished, and was warning me about the horrible construction in the last 5 mile stretch. He got in his car and drove the route backwards, intercepting the rest of our MS150 team before they hit the construction. Finally the group identified by the 30 mile rest stop as the final group on the road made it to the stop I was at. Ok, now I was worried. We normally ride together, and I had all the CO2. I kept waiting. Eventually, 2 more riders show up at the rest stop. They had missed a turn between 30 and 40 miles, done an extra 15 or so, and finally found the route. I told them to get a ride back and not ride through the construction. (I also told the volunteers at the rest stop, who were several of the ride organizers, that their signs were terrible and the feeder roads were unacceptable.) It was at that point that they decided the route was 'too dangerous' and they sent out their vans to pick up the last few riders on the road. So, finally, I get another phone call. My wife and another rider had missed a turn. He had a phone but nobody to call, she had someone to call and no phone. Worked out for both of them. Between them and the volunteers at the stop, we figured out where they were and a van was sent. Eventually all were united and got a ride to the parking lot.
The worst part was that the organizers I was talking to didn't understand how bad a job had been done. They were all happy about what a great experience it had been for them, and how they couldn't wait for next year. None of them seemed to understand how serious their errors were. They seemed to feel no sense of responsibility for everything that had gone wrong. I guess my biggest question is why this was a recommended ride for the MS150. I certainly plan on writing to them.