The End Is Near: Texas 4000 Riders Close In On Anchorage, Alaska
Heads turned as uniformed cyclists peddled their way up Highway 51 through Amite, Louisiana back in June. Who were these strangers? Where were they headed? Was this a flash mob thing? Weren’t flash mobs over?
It was, in fact, the Ozarks team of the Texas 4000 riders. They were making their way—the long way round— to Anchorage, Alaska. Their journey was one of hope, and a mantel new sets of college students took up every year. Over eighteen months, dedicated individuals with strong ties band together to fight a commonality afflicting our species, cancer. Many members of the Texas 4000 have endured the pain of watching a loved one fight for their life against cancer. Some have battled cancer themselves. For these reasons, among others, they ride. They raise funds for cancer research, bring awareness to communities along their routes, and share their stories with others seeking connection when dealing with the immeasurable grief cancer often brings.
Come Friday, August 7, the benevolent souls of the Ozarks team will be legging the final stretch into Anchorage. With every stop along the way, they’ve taken photographs and posted updates on the Texas 4000 website. Some are of their talks with locals to raise awareness for their cause. Others are to show their supporters the progress they are making, both physically and spiritually. Snapshots of communion with nature, sharing a laugh with new friends, and self-deprecating humor about their exhaustion. The journey these students are on is not a leisurely bike ride, but rather a timed voyage across North America. They push through inclement weather to reach their destinations, and they bring positivity with them as they go. Each photograph bears a smile, a silent laugh, a reflection of a soul who sees each hardship of the road as an exemplification of the gift of life. Air is in their lungs, their bodies are working, and every mile brings humanity one mile closer to beating cancer completely.
Though the three groups disbanded in Texas and set out separately along their respective routes—a way of reaching more people and raising greater awareness and funds for the cause— they met again on the stretch between Marsh Lake and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and spent the final ten days of their treks into the wilds of Alaska together. The seventy-one riders have collectively raised $685,360 and covered 12,496 miles. These particular riders will never make the journey again, but there will be many teams to follow who will help continue the fight. Each rider of the Texas 4000 carries and shares a bond with those who rode before, those who will ride after, and every person the team has met along the way. It is a bond that spans the edges of time, for cancer leaves no corner of humanity untouched. Hopefully those bonds will shift to more positive things due to an eradication of cancer, but until then these teams will help forge the world’s path and remind those they meet along the way that they are not alone.
Written by Amber Silvers
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