Mother & Daughter: Dynamic Duo Ride for the Cause

COVER STORY | By Sharon Hilburn     Photo by Mary Favre –

Holly Kaminga, longtime resident and Loaner Car and Events Manager at Sterling McCall Lexus, has always been active.  She took dance for years and was in the Katy Bengal Brigade for four years in high school.  But, when her company announced that they would be the 2018 Official Vehicle Sponsor and were joining Noble Drilling to put together a team to ride in the BP MS 150, she decided to up her game.  After much online research and careful consideration, Holly was determined to participate with her adult colleagues and ride for this very important cause: Multiple Sclerosis.

Drafting a Teammate

In November 2017, Erica Wilson, Holly’s 15 year-old daughter and freshman at Dulles High School, received a text from her mom.  The message was, “Do you want to do the MS 150?”  Erica said, “I didn’t know what the MS 150 was, so when I got home, I asked my mom what it was.”  Holly’s response was simply, “It’s a bike ride.”  Albeit a bit of an understatement, Erica trusted her mom and agreed.  Since Holly and Erica are very close and spend a great deal of time together, Holly felt it was the perfect opportunity to participate in something where they would be equals.  “It’s a great workout for a great cause, so being able to combine the two is a win-win,” said Holly.

Holly and Erica.

Once Holly notified her employer that she and her daughter would be participating on the team, she gave Erica a more definitive definition of the MS 150 – the bike ride from Houston to Austin over a period of two days benefitting Multiple Sclerosis – and the adventure began.

What inspires a 15 year-old girl to participate in such a challenging physical and mental undertaking?  It only takes a few minutes in the presence of this young woman to understand why.  Full of energy and enthusiasm and determined to achieve any physical challenge, Erica is the spirit of motivation and drive.  She is a top student in Advanced Placement classes, who has been extremely active in athletic challenges for many years of her young life.  She is Captain of the JV Cheerleading Squad at Dulles High School and also trains as a competitive cheerleader.

Erica performing at a cheer competition.

At the age of three, when Holly enrolled Erica in dance classes, Erica brought her mom a picture of a cheerleader and said, “I want to be this.”  Holly wanted her daughter involved in a variety of activities during her formative years, so Erica has participated in dance, soccer and track including shot put, discus and hurdles.  Cheer, however, has always been her absolute

love. She embraced the sport at a young age and has continued to compete.  She trains eight to 10 hours every week and competes on the weekends with great success.

Preparing for the Challenge

As Holly researched what was involved in training and participating in the MS 150, she knew that Erica would be the perfect partner.  Holly’s schedule outside of work has to mirror Erica’s because of the intense cheer training and competition schedule.  According to Holly, she knew at the onset that Erica would be starting the training more physically prepared and would be able to finish the race, and Holly, at age 35, would have to push to keep up with her.  This, she determined, would help them keep each other accountable for the necessary training to effectively prepare for the race in April.  “I know I will stick with the regular training and attain the physical condition to successfully complete in the race with Erica, because I wouldn’t want to not follow through on something that I promised I would do with her as my riding partner,” shared Holly.

To begin their journey as a team, the duo purchased road bikes.  Other than riding a regular bicycle recreationally, neither Holly nor Erica had ever ridden a road bike or ridden any distance, so they had much to learn.  They went to Sun & Ski Sports, who is an MS 150 sponsor that performs bike repairs during the race. The team tried multiple bikes and finally found their matches. “I sat on my bike, and I immediately knew it was the bike for me,” said Erica. “The sales rep taught me how to work the gears, and I did a test drive.  It felt great.”

Holly and Erica training for the big race.

Next, the mother and daughter team changed their eating habits.  They began a diet filled with low carb intake and lots of protein. “I gave up my favorite, Diet Coke, and replaced it with two gallons of water per day,” said Holly.  “Erica always drinks water although her diet is a little different.  She is so active since cheerleading continues throughout this training.”

But even Erica has made some changes. “I eat chicken nuggets, which replaced pizza rolls.  I also have the same lunch every day Monday through Friday – a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a granola bar and a Fruit Rollup.”

Holly and Erica chose to follow the 16-week recommended training that the BP MS 150 website provides, so they train four to six days each week.  They started with riding ten miles a day and continue to increase until they get to ride 40 miles each day at a comfortable 13 to 16 miles per hour pace since in the actual race, there are break stops every 13 to 16 miles.  “Once we accomplish 40 miles, a 60-mile stretch in a day is only a bit farther,” said Erica.

Holly loves to run and work out with weights. During training, she has replaced all of her cardio with riding.  The two train independently using a stationary bike mount in their living room regularly and do the partner rides on Sundays.  They also participate in Sterling McCall organized group rides.

Ready, Set, Go!

When asked if there is ever a reluctance by either to ride, they both said that regardless of the crazy weather that Sugar Land has experienced this year, they never dread the ride.  They look forward to the training together.  As they ride, they both become one with their bikes.   “I have a feeling of freedom,” said Erica.   “Even when the weather isn’t perfect, it is just relaxing to ride.  You just go.  No worries.”

Holly shares a similar feeling about the sport. “I feel a calmness and peace when I ride.  You don’t have to think about what comes next.  It’s a release.  I have done all kinds of workouts and classes, and I enjoy this the most.  You just decide do you want to ride high or low and streamlined, and then you go.  Erica loves to be aerodynamic and ride low and flat.  I alternate between the two.”

Another benefit of riding together through Sugar Land, and even into Houston and back, is to watch and talk about all the dogs they see along the way.  Sometimes communication can be challenging, so they purchased the Terrano-X In-Helmet Communication System, which is allowed during the race, so they can easily communicate.  It also helps because riders under 18 must be within site of their adult riding partner throughout the race.

With just a few months to go before the big day, the dynamic duo is already planning how they will celebrate.  Holly wants to have their picture taken in front of the State Capital holding their bikes over their heads to celebrate.  Erica is already talking about finding future outdoor rides for them to do together.

Best of luck ladies!  Fort Bend is rooting for you!