About Me


  • Route: Sierra
  • Ride Year: 2018
  • Hometown: San Antonio, TX

About: Hey, hi, hello! My name is Tarika and I'm a junior pursuing a BSA in Biochemistry and a BA in Philosophy, pre-medicine. I'm probably the only person you'll meet who was born in North Dakota, and I'm admittedly pretty proud of that fact. I am an adrenaline junkie, prone to going on drives without destinations and spontaneously jumping into freezing lakes. My passions include singing (or at least trying to), sports (some would call me an overzealous Spurs fan), international travel and politics, coffee (I need it in an IV), and overusing parentheses.

Most importantly, however, I am daughter to two amazingly supportive parents, older sister to a young piano virtuoso, and mama to two gorgeous labradors.

Why I Ride

You may be wondering why anyone in their right mind would choose to spend a summer on such a daunting, grueling expedition. My grandmother, uncle, and various aunts had battled various cancers and, I am blessed to say, had triumphed. Cancer was an amorphous threat with which I had had very little direct experience – until I thrust myself in its wake.

I attribute my decision to ride to a single job, spent in a single office, over a single summer. As a medical scribe in a multi-office cancer care network, I expected hours of simple transcription, slaving over the computer, entering data into a clunky EMR system. However, the relationships I forged with the patients and their families have been truly unforgettable.

They told me the story of their wedding day, while their spouse stood by them 50 years later, a manifestation of the vow “in sickness and in health.” They recounted stories of Vietnam and Desert Storm, chin up and determined as they were thrust into yet another battle. They showed me pictures of their grandchild’s 6th birthday party, eyes watering when they figured out that they may not see their grandchild’s 7th.

After a summer spent working in an oncology clinic, I have made countless connections with cancer patients. They have changed my life, they have made me grow up. I have seen individuals and families in the face of suffering. Some of them flourish. And some of them inevitably fall. I aim to ride with Texas 4000 because I want to change the latter narrative.

Lastly, I ride in memory of my dear grandfather, who passed in the spring of 2015 of an aortic dissection. Until then, I did not truly understand loss, and I have since gained a much deeper perspective on disease and death. We deserve every year, every day, every hour that we can get with our beloved family members. Cancer, in particular, takes too many lives much too soon. We must and we will find a cure.

Cheenu Thatha, this one's for you