- Route: Sierra
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: Austin
- School Year: Sophomore
- Major: Business
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Matt Lovelace, and I'm going for a short little bike ride next summer. Houston is where I was raised, but now I live in the McCombs School of Business here at UT Austin. You may have heard that "sports is a metaphor for life" or something similar, but to me life is a metaphor for sports. Unfortunately for me (and mankind), my lack of height and hand-eye coordination precluded my NBA career from truly getting off the ground, so I did the next best thing and became a distance runner. Climbing towering hills and careering down running trails at dawn beats long walks on the beach at sunset for me. My favorite animal is my family black lab Brodie, but I identify most closely with the flying squirrel. In 2017, I will be riding to Alaska via the Sierra Route with my T4K family. This organization strives to spread hope, knowledge, and charity as its mission and in doing so changes everyone who passes through its orbit for the better.
Any support, be it in person or from afar, thoughts or good vibes is greatly appreciated! If you're interested in following my journey from Austin to Anchorage, you may do so by keeping up with the journal entries I make along the way.
With Alaska-sized love,
Why I Ride
When I was nine years old I watched my grandfather, who had battled prostate cancer on-and-off for several years, cross the finish line of his first MS 150 in Corpus Christi at the tender age of sixty-four. His head was bobbing and his front wheel was weaving as dehydration exacted its revenge, but he crossed the finish line. He did not cross the line alone, however. Stamped into my memory was the image of his teammates flanking him on either side as I knew I was seeing something worth preserving, though at the time I wasn't sure what. The following April, my father decided he could certainly ride that far if his father-in-law several decades his senior had managed such a feat. In these early days being around the MS rides, what drew me in magnetically was the thrill of seeing something I knew was right for me without making the connection to why the ride mattered. This changed when I was thirteen and signed up for my first excursion from Houston to Austin and I met Michael Fagan. Mr. Fagan is the man for whom my dad, grandfather, and I all suited up to ride each April and again in October, because four days of exerting every ounce of effort can't even begin to match the challenges of living each day withe multiple sclerosis. Being able to ride for Mr. Fagan and every person who is stricken by MS and has to fight their own body to move the way they desire - and doing so as three generations with my father and grandfather - will be times in my life I will always cherish. Even when I was at my most rebellious as a teenager is wont to be, the one time each year when my family was all focused solely on riding for those cannot was April, which became my favorite time of the year. Birthdays, Christmas, holidays are special. But this was different. This was a bond my father, grandfather and I had that was beyond any other family ties. When I arrived at UT and first heard about this organization, I felt stirrings I had not known since that sweltering day in Corpus Christi. Now I prepare to ride from Austin to Anchorage for my grandmother, who has battled and beaten skin cancer time and time again, and is the toughest, most tenacious person I have ever met. I also ride for my grandfather and my dad, without whom my story would have been so differently written. They are my inspirations for every revolution of the pedals, and every mile we ride to fight cancer.