This summer, more than 60 students from The University of Texas at Austin will ride from Austin, Texas, to Anchorage, Alaska, as part of the 15th Anniversary of Texas 4000 for Cancer, billed as the longest annual charity bike ride in the world. The team will ride more than 4,000 miles over the course of 70 days beginning June 1 with the mission of fighting cancer by sharing hope, knowledge and charity at every stop along the route.

On June 1, Texas 4000 supporters celebrated the ride’s ceremonial send off at Day Zero at the Robert B. Rowling Hall Auditorium on the University of Texas campus. Civic leaders, including philanthropist and long-time Texas 4000 supporter Luci Baines Johnson, delivered a motivational message to the group of volunteers, riders, family and friends. Two grant checks were awarded to the Dell Medical School and the University of Texas’ Cockrell School of Engineering.

The Texas 4000 team will be rolling through St. Louis on June 25, 2018, just 24 days after departing from Austin on their way to Anchorage.

Texas 4000 is more than an endurance ride for cancer. It combines leadership development, physical training, cancer awareness outreach, volunteer opportunities and philanthropic commitment. All students undergo an application process to be part of the 18-month program and once selected, each student is required to raise $4,500, ride 2,000 training miles with his/her team, volunteer more than 50 hours in the community, and play an active role in planning every aspect of the ride to Alaska by attending weekly meetings and taking leadership positions within the team. Over the years, more than 750 students have made the trek from Austin to Anchorage, collectively raising more than $8.4 million in the fight against cancer since the ride began in 2004.

The riders will take one of three different routes to Alaska:

  • Sierra Route: These riders head northwest from Austin and cycle through the Southwest to California, then north along the West Coast and into Canada. Major cities along the route include: Santa Fe, NM; San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; Vancouver, B.C.
  • Rockies Route: These riders cycle north from Austin and cut over to the Rocky Mountains. They’ll ride through the western U.S. before crossing the Canadian border into Alberta. Major cities along the route include: Dallas, TX; Oklahoma City, OK; Denver, CO; Calgary, AB.
  • Ozarks Route: These riders travel east from Austin, then cut northeast through the American Midwest before crossing the Canadian border and cycling across four Canadian provinces. Major cities along the route include: Houston, TX; St. Louis, MO; Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN; Madison, WI; Winnipeg, MB; Edmonton, AB.

In Canada, the three groups will reunite and ride the final 10 days together to Anchorage. On each of the three routes, the riders will make stops along the way to present grants to cancer research and support service organizations such as MD Anderson Cancer Center, Young Adult Cancer Canada, Brent’s Place and Texas Children’s Hospital.

“These young men and women are inspirational leaders in the fight against cancer,” said Scott Crews, executive director of Texas 4000. “Because cancer has touched them or someone they know, they are committed to raising funds for cancer research and support services, helping to make a difference in the lives of others.”