2013 LIVESTRONG Texas 4000 rolls into Eureka

Students ride 4,000 miles to raise funds to fight cancer

The 69 members of 2013 LIVESTRONG Texas, the longest annual charity bicycle ride in the world, were scheduled to be roll through Eureka today, Tuesday, just 32 days after leaving Austin and well on their way to the final destination, Anchorage, Alaska. While in Eureka, the cyclists will celebrate and share hope, knowledge and charity with friends and family before continuing on their 70-day journey.

The undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Texas at Austin are riding through rain, sleet, wind, snow, heat and will pedal more than 4,500 miles in support of the fight against cancer. Along their journey, riders will volunteer at community events that contribute to the fight against cancer and visit with cancer survivors, patients, caregivers and family members to make educational presentations about cancer prevention and early detection.

They also use this time to offer hope, encouragement and share their personal stories to cancer fighters of all ages and to those who have been affected by the disease. Every encounter is an inspirational story the riders carry with them on their journey and quest to fight cancer.

“This ride comes with some obvious physical demands and perhaps less than obvious emotional demands,” said Jen Garza, Texas 4000 executive director.

“It’s incredibly encouraging for the riders to be supported by the people of Eureka, and have the opportunity to share their stories about how they pursue this ride in hopes of living in a cancer-free society.”

In its 10th year, 69 student riders began their journey in Austin on June 1 with a 70-mile community bike ride called ATLAS. From there, the riders headed north, separating into three routes — Rockies, Sierra and Ozarks — as they continued on a ride twice as long as the Tour de France. Previously, riders separated into two routes- Rockies and Sierra, but the new Ozarks route was added to celebrate the organization’s 10th anniversary. The Ozarks route will cover almost twice the population of the Sierra and Rockies routes combined, staying true to Texas 4000’s mission to spread hope to as many people as possible. Major cities on the route include College Station, Houston, Little Rock, St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, Winnipeg and Edmonton.

”The ride itself serves as a metaphor for the difficult battle cancer patients wage each day: A long and difficult road, with hard days and easier ones, good days and not-so-good days. This is a difficult trip for me on many levels,” said Bucky Ribbeck, director of the Sierra route. “But I have known so many people with cancer who bravely, fiercely and with determination, fought this dreadful disease. I ride for those people.”

Texas 4000 began 10 years ago when Chris Condit, a University of Texas student and cancer survivor, sought a way to share a message of hope, knowledge and charity to those with cancer. Since then, Texas 4000 has sent more 350 riders on their bicycles, traveling more than 1.9 million miles to honor those affected by cancer. Collectively, these riders have raised more than $4 million for the fight against cancer, funding cancer research projects at MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Biomedical Engineering Department and survivorship programs such as the LIVESTRONG Navigational Services Center.

”If any message should be endorsed, it is that the fight against cancer cannot be won alone,” organizers said. “A disease this broad that spans so many lives and all ages, ethnicities, races, and genders requires the persistent strength, support, and knowledge of the entire community to overcome.”

As an aside, the team will use more than four gallons of sunscreen, eat more than 5,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and change an average of five flat tires each day. During the past 9 years, more than 395 team members have ridden more than 2 million miles.

To learn more about the LIVESTRONG Texas 4000 team, to make a donation or read the riders’ blogs, visit texas4000.org.

About Texas 4000 For Cancer:

Texas 4000 is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and fighting cancer. The student riders train, raise funds and develop as leaders and servants in the community. To date, they have contributed more than $4 million to the fight against cancer. Texas 4000 organizes and performs numerous charity events including the Texas 4000 Tribute gala and the ATLAS Ride send-off throughout the year. To learn how you can join the cancer-fighting journey, visit texas4000.org.

Tri-City Weekly