A Ride for the Cure

On Saturday and Sunday, April 20th and 21st, Martha Turner Properties sales associates, staff, families, and friends rode in the BP MS 150 bicycle race from Houston to Austin. The BP MS 150 is a two-day fundraising cycling ride organized by the National MS Society: Lone Star, and is the largest event of its kind in North America. Ashton Martini, MTP sales associate and team captain, and Terri Lemons, the MTP director of community outreach, organized and coordinated training, equipment and accommodations for the team and volunteer support staff. Most of the riders were new to endurance cycling.

Day one saw MTP riders start the race from three different locations in the Houston area: Tully Stadium in Houston; Rhodes Stadium in Katy; and Waller Stadium in Waller. Riders cycled through Bellville, where they stopped for lunch, and then traveled on to the Fayette County Fairgrounds in La Grange where they stopped and spent the night. MTP sales associate Ron Espinoza drove a U-Haul truck loaded with the cyclists’ gear and supplies from Houston to La Grange to Austin and back to Houston.

In La Grange, professional home stager Donna Dukes prepared the MTP tent with all the comforts of a living room, including a fireplace and a chandelier. Tables were set up inside the tent for a catered barbeque dinner, and professional masseuses were on hand to offer massages.

“Our tent was not only the best tent,” said Lemons, “it was in the absolutely best location right where the riders entered the camp. We were able to cheer in our riders and all the other teams as well. In fact, at least one race official heard about our tent and came to see it. And as far as we know, ours was the only real estate company tent.”

Day two was all about hills as the riders made their way to Austin and the finish line on the grounds of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum next to the Texas State Capital. “It was just awesome!” said Sherry Folsom, a graphic designer at MTP. “The absolute best thing for me was just being able to finish. I was taken aback by the crowds of people along the roadsides in little towns who were cheering us on, slapping our hands – it gave me a real boost and I’d think, ‘I can do this!’” It was incredibly moving to see people in wheelchairs holding up signs that said ‘thank you.’ That really motivated me.”

Another tent awaited the MTP team in Austin as well as a catered dinner, and then it was pack up and drive back to Houston. “I am not a guy who loves huge crowds,” said Martini, “but I loved this entire event. All the people we met along the route were just amazing. I even heard a few shouts of “20-thousand to 20-million!” It was a blast. We’re going to do it again next year and we’re going to start training this July. We want to double the size of the team, and double the donations for the MS Society as well. This was a fantastic way to make a difference for people with MS and get our company name out there – we were definitely noticed.”

When asked how he planned to surpass the tent and chandelier from this year’s ride, Martini laughed and declined to be specific. “Just wait,” he said, “I have a few ideas but I’m not ready to talk about them yet. But don’t worry, we’ll be noticed.”

Riding for the Martha Turner Properties team were: Meghan Allen, Linda Brewer, Thomas Claffy, Judy Cohen, Sherry Folsom, Javier Gautier, Courtney Henderson, Hank Henderson, Lauren Kirton, Nabeel Majid, Ashton Martini, Michael McFarland, Mike McFarland, Sean O’Neill, Tom Pearson, Mary Ann Piamonte, Gary Ramsey, Kevin Stokes, and Angelina Villareal.

MS150 Ashton Martini