Livestrong Texas 4000 rolls through Fort Collins

The longest annual charity bicycle ride in the world will hit Fort Collins on Thursday as part of 70-day ride from Austin, Texas, to Anchorage, Alaska.

The ride, called the 2013 Livestrong Texas 4000, will cover 4,500 miles in an effort to raise awareness about and fight cancer.

The 69 cyclists participating in the ride are undergraduates and graduate students from the University of Texas at Austin and will volunteer at community events as they ride across the country.

Events will contribute in the fight against cancer as student riders 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 with cancer fighters of all ages and with those who have been affected by the disease, according to a news release.

Lance Pyburn, program director for the ride, said the cyclists will arrive Thursday afternoon in Fort Collins from Boulder. While they will not be participating in any volunteer activities in Fort Collins, Pyburn said they will enjoy a dinner and ice cream social with host families.

“This ride comes with some obvious physical demands and perhaps less than obvious emotional demands,” Jen Garza, Texas 4000 executive director, said in a prepared statement. “It’s incredibly encouraging for the riders to be supported by the people of Fort Collins and have the opportunity to share their stories about how they pursue this ride in hopes of living in a cancer-free society.”

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 than 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.

Written by David Young