Longest annual charity bike ride stops in Lubbock

 

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The longest annual charity bike ride in the world rode into the South Plains on Wednesday.

This group is made up of more than 60 University of Texas students who were competitively selected for an 18-month program known as Texas 4000 for Cancer.

They aim to ride from Austin to Anchorage, Alaska.

The students broke off into groups of three, and today one of those over 20 members rode from Snyder to Lubbock, a 90-mile ride.

“I mean, it’s getting hot,” said team member Geetika Rao.

The group would break temporarily every 20 miles. To them, the physical effort is worth it to support the fight against cancer.

“It’s just taking it rest stop to rest stop,” Rao said, “you know, meeting the great people along the way. We’ve been training on our bikes for about seven months or so.”

This is a cause that is personal to each one of them.

“Every single person on this team has been touched by cancer in some way or another,” Rao said.

But a few of these around 20 team members have actually battled this deadly disease themselves.

“On May 1, 2013, I had a biopsy performed to where they found tumor cells that were consistent with Ewing’s Sarcoma,” said team member Michael Tatalovich.

They’ll never forget those surgeries, the chemo, or the pain.

“Whenever I got my results back they said oh yeah, it was cancer,” said Nathaniel Barley, another team member.

A totally different hurt…than the 17-mile ride from Slaton…to Lubbock.

“You think that you may die in a few months so it’s just really an earth-shattering experience.”

Those memories keep them pedaling.

“I just make sure that I keep following through,” Barley said.

Even during days that their tires blowout, to encourage the people they meet along the way.

“Hopefully they’re learning things from me,” Tatalovich said.

This has gathered them hosts, like McPherson Cellars Winery. The organization has also raised millions of dollars within a span of 13 years.

“You really aren’t alone and this is a community, nationwide fight,” team member Madhushree Zope said, “that we need to go through together.”

You can follow their progress at texas4000.org.

See video interview & original article here.

Copyright 2016 KCBD. All rights reserved. Written by Ashlyn Tubbs.
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