The longest annual charity bicycle ride in the world, the Texas 4000, will be in St. Louis on June 18 and 19, just 19 days after departing from Austin on to its final destination of Anchorage, Alaska. While in St. Louis, the 2014 Texas 4000 Team will celebrate with friends and family before continuing on the 70-day journey.
As part of the Texas 4000, 79 undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Texas at Austin are braving the rain, sleet, wind, snow and heat to pedal more than 4,500 miles in support of the fight against cancer. Along their journey, riders will volunteer at community events that contribute in the fight against cancer and visit with cancer survivors, patients and caregivers and make presentations about cancer prevention and early detection. They are also using this time to offer hope, encouragement and share their personal stories to cancer fighters of all ages and to those who have been affected by the disease.
“This ride comes with some obvious physical demands and perhaps less than obvious emotional demands,” said Texas 4000 Executive Director Jen Garza. “It’s incredibly encouraging for the riders to be supported by the people of St. Louis and have the opportunity to share their stories about how they pursue this ride in hopes of living in a cancer-free society.”
The student riders began their journey in Austin on May 3 with a 70-mile community bike ride called ATLAS. From there, the riders headed north, separating into three routes — Rockies, Sierra and Ozarks — as they continue on a ride twice as long as the Tour de France.
“The ride itself serves as a metaphor for the difficult battle cancer patients wage each day: A long and difficult road, with hard days and easier ones, good days and not-so-good days. This is a difficult trip for me on many levels,” said Ross McGarity, Ozarks 2014 rider. “But I have known so many people with cancer who bravely, fiercely and with determination fought this dreadful disease. I ride for those people.”
Texas 4000 began 11 years ago when Chris Condit, a University of Texas student and cancer survivor, sought a way to share a message of hope, knowledge and charity to those with cancer. Since then, Texas 4000 has sent more that 400 riders more than 2 million miles to honor those affected by cancer. Collectively, these riders have raised more than $4 million for the fight against cancer, funding cancer research projects at MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Biomedical Engineering Department and survivorship programs such as the LIVESTRONG Navigational Services Center.
To learn more about Texas 4000, to make a donation or read the riders’ blogs, visit www.texas4000.org.