Texas 4000 Riders with a Cause

Amy Hinkle and Cheryl Jimenez, military spouses and Texas 4000 sponsors, welcome cyclists of this year’s LIVESTRONG team at a local reception in Clovis, N.M., June 7, 2012. Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., affiliates provided food and shelter for the team on their journey to Anchorage, Alaska.

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — More than twenty cyclists crossed the New Mexico border just east of Clovis, N.M., in late afternoon, June 7. This year’s Texas 4000 team was in high spirits after their race to the border from Farwell, Texas, into Clovis. One rider simply let out a sigh along with the words, “finally made it to the land of enchantment!”

The Texas 4000 was founded in 2003 and is the longest annual charity bike ride in the world. Traveling more than 4,000 miles by bike, those cyclists are dedicated to the fight against cancer through sharing hope, knowledge and charity.

“The team is composed of college students riding from Austin, Texas, to Anchorage, Alaska, raising money for cancer research,” said Michelle Wageman, military spouse. “It’s outstanding how much support we have from within the Cannon community to help sponsor these amazing riders and aid them on their noble journey.”

The Texas 4000 is sponsored by partners at Monroe Dunaway Anderson Cancer Center and LIVESTRONG and gains local support from military families at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.

This year’s LIVESTRONG team will cover 13 states and three Canadian territories during their journey from Texas to Alaska. Cyclists ride for those fighting cancer, in memory of those who have lost to cancer, in support of those caring for cancer victims and for the possibility of a future free from cancer.

“Students are hand-selected annually to become members of the LIVESTRONG team,” said Amy Hinkle, military spouse. “Students are in charge of coming together and planning out the logistics of the annual ride to include finding host families, food donations and the safest riding routes.”

Each student is required to raise a minimum of $4,500 and log a minimum of 1,500 training miles prior to departure. Once the current team departs from Texas, they divide into two routes: the Rocky route that heads through the Rocky Mountains and the Coastal route that travels through New Mexico up the western coast.

“The riders average 100 miles per day, and they all have a personal mission or reason for being a part of this,” said Wager. “These kids are doing tremendous work to raise money and awareness for such a worthy cause. I battled breast cancer myself a few years back and it’s moving to see how far some people will go when they can relate to that kind of struggle.”

Over the past seven years, Texas 4000 has raised more than $2.5 million for the fight against cancer.

“It was important for my family to get involved with supporting this amazing team because of our struggles with cancer,” said Cheryl Jimenez, military spouse. “Seeing how they actively engage themselves in this fight for cures is inspiring.”

“The most significant part of this whole experience is meeting the riders and hearing their stories,” she said. “They are completely selfless in their mission and we get to be a part of their journey long after they leave our area. We don’t end communication with our team until they reach Alaska.”

If the team remains on schedule, they will end their 70-day bike ride to Anchorage, Alaska, Aug. 10.

To get involved in supporting this year’s or future teams, please visit www.Texas400.org

By Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal