Texas 4000 alumni roll through S.A. to raise awareness

TXPic

Each year, a University of Texas at Austin student group bicycles 4,000 miles to Alaska to raise money to fight cancer and support patients battling the illness.

On Sunday, alumni from the Texas 4000 nonprofit rolled through San Antonio and Hollywood Park to spotlight the group’s mission. Among them were UT graduates Cindy
Yang, 22, and Josh Walther, 23, both in their first year of medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Those who successfully completed the trek from Austin to Anchorage gathered with other cycling enthusiasts at Bike World’s North Loop 1604 West store for two rides: one spanning 12 miles for beginners, the other stretching 30 miles for more advanced cyclists.

“We’re here to get San Antonio more involved with Texas 4000,” said Yang, who was triumphant in her journey to Alaska two years ago. “It is a growing organization, and we are very grass roots, still.”


More than 70 UT-Austin students take part in the Texas 4000 rides each summer. They
bicycle one of three routes to reach Anchorage, passing through the Sierra mountains, the Rockies or the Ozarks.

Each participant must train for 1,500 miles before setting out on the venture. The event requires every rider to raise a minimum of $4,500 for cancer research and support services.

Most exceed that fundraising threshold. This year, Texas 4000’s riders collectively raised more than $700,000 for the cause, said Courtney Becker, the nonprofit’s special events and alumni coordinator. Since its inception in 2003, the group has attracted more than 600 riders and raised more than $5 million.

Texas 4000 is an inclusive group that welcomes beginning bicyclists, said Rachael Cook, manager of Bike World’s Loop 1604 location, which hosted Sunday’s rides. Cook participated in the 4,000-mile journey from Austin to Anchorage in 2007.

“The ride is just one part of the experience,” Cook said. “There’s obviously the fundraising component, as well as the leadership training that the students gain … It is a pretty big time commitment.”

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Written by Peggy O’Hare