So how did I get to this point, of riding my bike 150 miles (I think it's more like 180 miles) from Houston to Austin? God plants seeds, and they take a while to sprout. In my case, I was returning from a DARPA conference in Virginia last summer (our research at Rice is funded in part by DARPA). I happened to sit next to a very enthusiactic young lady who was returning to Houston with her new bicycle. She had bought one "just like Lance" rode at one time or another, and she was very happy to talk about it. One of the last things she told me as we were getting off the plane was "you ought to ride in the MS 150 next year" and I replied with something like "no way am I ever going to do that."
Famous last words,
PS: Since I had tried to convince this young lady she would be a good student at Rice, she e-mailed me the next day for more information; the subject line of her e-mail was "Crazy Cyclist Chick" so I would remember that it was coming from a person who was so enthusiactic about riding bicycles that she flew up to Baltimore to see the bike she was buying in person. I almost deleted it. God Works in Mysterious Ways.