2018 Volunteered at Lampasas Hillacious
So early on in my Texas 4000 involvement, it’s often hard to comprehend the immensity of our journey. The 2018 team has not begun training miles yet – we won’t have our bikes for another six months. Until then, we learn a lot, listen a lot, speculate a lot, but the realities of a 4,500 mile bike ride are far from being understood. It’s the type of experience that lies beyond comparison with anything I’ve done before.
Today I met a man who’s seen it all when it comes to Texas 4000.
We were out in Lampasas County early in the morning for a volunteering opportunity. Riders of the Lampasas Hillacious Bike Tour pedaled down the rolling country roads to ride 9-, 34-, 49-, and 69-mile routes. I was stationed at Rest Stop #3, along with three other 2018 Team members and some volunteers from Modern Woodmen. Our corner was a crucial point where 49-milers continued straight, while the 69-milers turned right to take a twenty-mile loop back around before passing us again. The wind was blowing hard: some bikers told us they were going 35 mph with hardly any effort when it was on their tail, their grins conveying their exhilaration. They commented (again, with more exhilaration than disdain) how difficult it was riding uphill against a strong headwind. They had an excitement I hope to remember and exude a year from now when I’m training on my own bike.
Many of the bikers who rested for more than a couple minutes asked us about our organization. All of them, despite being seasoned bikers with more years’ experience than years I’ve ridden a bike, were impressed with our mission. The encouragement they gave us was genuine, since they have more of an idea of what a cross-continental bike ride entails than we do.
Throughout the day, the Tour Director would stop at our station in his truck while making his rounds to make sure everything was running smoothly. His name was Joe Corcoran, and we soon found out he had ridden the American portion of the Texas 4000 bike ride three times—once on every route! He told us he had ridden ahead of the team to let them know of any poor road conditions or unexpected detours that might make biking difficult. My 2018 teammates and I could hardly believe we were talking to someone who had ridden our “once in a lifetime” ride three times already. Joe emphasized how incredible this journey was going to be for us and for those we encountered along the way, as well as how important our mission is to spread cancer prevention techniques across the continent. He, a two-time cancer survivor, would know. We will be saving lives and changing our own. Many of the other bikers had experiences with cancer and with mission-driven bike rides that they shared with us. Something about Texas 4000 creates an environment of trust and vulnerability. These weren’t stories people normally go around telling volunteers at rest stops with 18 more miles to go. Cancer has an extremely powerful hold on every single person it afflicts, including their friends and families.
This semester, I’ve been so excited to become more involved with my team through volunteering. No matter how early we wake up, or how exhausting the day is, I always go home feeling overwhelmingly content. I completed my 25 hours of volunteering for the semester just today, and I find myself wishing there was more I could do before summer begins. Despite the length of the Texas 4000 leadership development program, growing together with your teammates and furthering our mission to spread hope, knowledge, and charity instills a stirring sense of desire to immerse yourself fully in the fight against cancer.
Written by 2018 Rider Madeline Schill