Texas students embracing cross-country bike trek

 When Cullen Bounds and Samantha Meyer first arrived at the University of Texas campus in Austin to start their studies, they were both taken by surprise by a booth promoting a charity bicycle tour to Alaska.

“It was my first day on campus and people were there to tell us all about the Texas 4000 ride and what it entailed,” Bounds said. “I was hooked on the idea right away.”

“They asked me ‘Do you want to bike to Alaska?’ and I thought they were absolutely crazy,” Meyer added. “Soon after that though, I talked to some friends who had done the ride and they told me about their experience. It didn’t sound quite as crazy as I had first thought and I wanted to be a part of it.”

A total of 22 Texas students arrived in North Battleford on Monday afternoon as part of the Ozarks Route for this year’s Texas 4000 ride, which will see them raise funds for cancer research, treatment and prevention.

“The experience really pushes your body and your mind,” Fred Tally-Foos said. “You get to meet new people everywhere that you go and it’s been great to talk to them about the mission that we are on for cancer research, as it’s something that has touched everyone here that’s on the ride.

“To be able to expand on that and go to places that many of us have never been before, such as North Battleford, has been a really cool experience.”

This year’s ride features three different routes and has a total of 67 undergraduate and graduate students taking part. Their 70-day trek began on June 3 from Austin and will conclude in Anchorage, Alaska.

“We kind of went the wrong way to Alaska to start things out,” Tally-Foos laughed. “We went East to New Orleans, then we went to Memphia, up to Chicago and Winnipeg and now we’re moving towards the West and heading North.

“Although the ride’s been around now for over a decade we’re reaching new people every year in the different communities that we go to. People also know about us from the previous groups that have travelled through and they’ve been very supportive of what we are doing.”

For many of the students, this marks their first time going on a cross-country bike adventure, let alone travelling through Canada.

“It’s not a requirement to be really experienced on a bike when you apply to be a part of the ride,” Meyer said. “Since October we’ve done over 2,000 training miles and we’ve been spending the last 18 months volunteering within the cycling and cancer communities in Austin along with fundraising.

“The preparation can get pretty hectic and at times it can be really time consuming. However, when you head out on the road that’s when the fun begins. I know it’s really been a fun experience fun for all of us to see more of Canada.”

The team left North Battleford on Tuesday morning as they biked out to Lloydminster on the 46th day of their journey.

They will meet up with the rest of the riders in Whitehorse, Yukon on Aug. 2 before arriving in Anchorage 10 days later.

“We might not know what day of the week it is all of the time but we know how many days we are into the ride,” Meyer said.

“The only thing that’s common on this trip is that every day is different. There’s a new surprise waiting for us and all of us have learned to embrace that along the way.”

As of Tuesday, a total of $556,557 has been raised from this year’s ride. Since 2003, more than $7 million has been raised for organizations such as the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Livestrong Foundation and the University of Texas-Austin’s Department of Biomedical Engineering.

For more information on the ride, visit www.texas4000.org.

See original article here.