Cyclists roll into Vicksburg as part of 4,000-mile journey

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The Texas 4000 cyclists create a prayer circle before they leave The Church of the Holy Trinity Saturday morning after spending the night here on their 70-day journey.

Cancer impacts most everyone across the country and a group of college students are spreading the word of awareness and prevention through a nationwide tour.

The Texas 4000 rolled into Vicksburg Friday night for a quick shower at the local YMCA and dinner at The Church of the Holy Trinity before setting off again Saturday morning for their next destination along their 4,000-mile journey.

This is the 13th year a group of students from the University of Texas at Austin have embarked on this 70-day journey from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska.

“We left Austin on June 3 and we’re expected to arrive in Anchorage, Alaska on Aug. 12,” cyclist Patrick Golden said, adding each rider only takes the journey once.

This year 67 cyclists total are participating in the ride that is split into three separate routes: Sierras, through the Southwest turning north through the west coast; Rockies, north through the Rocky Mountains; and Ozarks, starting east through the South and then north through the Midwest. The groups unite in Canada for the final 10 days to Anchorage.

About 22 riders on the Ozark route arrived in Vicksburg this weekend on the 14th day of their excursion.

“They’re really smart interesting young people,” Holy Trinity member Bill Longfellow said.

The Ozark group made its first stop in Vicksburg last year with help from Longfellow, whose daughter in New Orleans helped facilitate the connection.

“The man in charge this year spoke to people from last year, and they told him this was the best stop of the whole trip,” Longfellow said.

Local cyclists like Joe and Mindy Giambrone also helped assist the group with food and rode with them Saturday morning for a few miles into the Delta.

“It’s really an inspiring group of young people,” Mindy Giambrone said of the cyclists who had a prayer circle before they left town.

She was impressed by the group saying they were motivated, inspirational and full of energy.

“We walked away from it with such a good feeling,” she said. “We were really excited they were coming back this year.”

The students’ goal is to raise money for cancer research and to also spread awareness, cancer  prevention and early detection education. Along the way the groups stop and present cancer research grants at treatment centers from the money they have raised, which this year has reached $500,000 of their $825,000 goal.

After dinner, the cyclists gave a presentation on why they ride, which included the organization’s three pillars of hope, knowledge and charity.

“Every single person who has undertaken this challenge has reasons why they join the organization,” Golden said. “For instance, I ride because my mother is a breast cancer survivor.”

The ride began in 2003 and has raised over $7 million for cancer research with more than 600 students making the trek.

“It’s a wonderful group of young people and they are really committed to what they’re doing,” the Rev. Beth Palmer of Holy Trinity said.

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Written by Alana Norris

See original article here.