Austin to Anchorage: 4,000-mile charity bike ride ends in Alaska

ANCHORAGE –

Driving to or from the Lower 48 is a daunting idea for many Alaskans. It takes preparation, endurance and attention. Biking that distance is a much greater challenge. Yet, for the last 13 summers, students from the University of Texas at Austin have been doing just that through the Texas 4,000 bike charity ride.

Since June 4, some 60 cyclists have taken three separate routes from the Texas capital to Anchorage. They have raised nearly $600,000 for cancer research.

“That’s what it’s all about: helping each other,” said Pitty Pat Shivers, the grandmother of cyclist Baylor Morrison.

Shivers has been following Morrison’s journey from the start. She was on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus when the cyclists arrived at the finish.

“I’m beyond words,” she said. “I’m so proud.”

Like many of the riders, Morrison was cycling in the name of someone they lost to cancer. He wore a hat with the words “For Kathy” written on the top in memory of his third grade teacher.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her,” he said. “It’s a great way to honor her memory.”

Parts of the journey were difficult for Morrison. He said the after the first day of riding 90 miles through west Texas, he wasn’t confident he could make it all the way. But it was more than worthwhile to see remarkable landscapes, like Alaska glaciers.

“It’s an incredible thing,” Morrison said.

The celebration at UAA was packed with emotion, which grew further when rider Laura Elizondo received a surprise marriage proposal from her boyfriend of more than four years, Garrett Oliveira.

“He’s here. And then to celebrate with my team was just so, so special,” Elizondo said. “I’m just really happy.”

The money raised will be donated to a number of organizations dedicated to cancer support and research. You can learn more about Texas 4,000 by visiting their website.

Written by Eric Ruble

See original article & footage here.