2017 Volunteered at Armadillo Classic

Stretching out from the road lies huge farms with fields bordered by cattle fences. Large trees line the roadside and catch the fading light in their leaves as the sun dips towards the horizon. It’s about 80 degrees outside two days before Halloween. A weirdly warm day for this time it seems.

My teammates and I are cruising down narrow roads in the Texas hill country taking in the gorgeous scenery. We talk about our upcoming year, the first day of riding we completed only hours before, and post-graduate plans. We lapse into silence, taking in the scenery around us. We stop briefly to pick up a road sign for the Armadillo Classic ride that we are volunteering for, and then head along our designated route once again. The sun continues to drift lower in the sky.

The best part about volunteering for these rides and races every semester, besides the really soft t-shirts we receive, is that we are all struck by the reminder that soon this will be us. Very soon, it will be our team out here in the hill country riding for 8 hours a day, grinding away on the bike in the beautiful country. We have now received our bikes, officially started training and riding, and each day takes us one step closer to our departure for Alaska. For a long time our ride has felt so very far away while we’ve volunteered, fundraised, and started planning our routes. Today it feels like a tangible adventure just around the corner.

Looking out the car window, warm light radiating across the fields, I get caught up in imagining the other incredible places we will see only months from now. The Texas hill country will take us all through our first few days, but then each route will embark on their own journeys, witnessing the most beautiful parts of the country in turn. I cannot wait to climb the Rocky Mountains, swim in Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, and experience countless other amazing places. I can only imagine how excited my teammates on the Ozarks and Sierras routes are to ride across the country, and I can’t wait to hear all of their stories.

For now, we will continue to volunteer and do our part in the community, and slowly build up to our own long rides. Before long, it will be our turn to cruise along these narrow roads while proudly wearing our Texas 4000 jerseys.

Written by: Sarah Gutberlet