- Route: Ozarks
- Ride Year: 2022
- Hometown: Houston, TX
- School Year: Sophomore
- Major: Business Honors, Sustainability Studies, and History
Hey, y’all! My name is Zosia Sandweiss and I am from Houston, TX. I am a Business Honors, Sustainability Studies, and History triple major in the Liberal Arts Honors and Canfield Business Honors Programs. I am passionate about the environment, my education, and equality. With my degree, I hope to address issues of corporate social responsibility and environmental racism.
On campus, I am involved in Longhorn Run, UT Farm Stand, Texas Lassos, and the Phi Chi Theta Business Fraternity.
My interests include backpacking, biking, baking, bagels, and board games (or maybe just things that start with the letter ‘b’). I am an avid fan of World News Tonight with David Muir, Fix & Fogg peanut butter, Settlers of Catan, and Scrabble. I love to stay active by going on walks, runs, or playing soccer.
Fun Fact: I was born in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London where most of the royal family was born!
Why I Ride
Biking across the United States when I was 14 was one of the best experiences of my life. The memories and pride from the accomplishment cannot be put into words and the magnitude of the experience can only be felt by participating. So when I came to UT, I knew I had to be involved in Texas 4000. I am thrilled to use this trip and platform to contribute to the fight against cancer and honor the people I know affected.
I ride for my female role models: my grandmothers, great aunt, and RBG.
I ride for my grandmothers. Omi (my mom’s mom) fought breast cancer and other ailments throughout her life. She was a German immigrant to Texas after World War II who left her family behind to create a more prosperous life for her children. I remember watching Fourth of July fireworks over the Houston bayou from her apartment window, crochet lessons, and weekly Sunday brunches. Following her passing in September 2012, my family inherited her dachshund, Riley, which completed the Sandweiss household’s famous trio of wiener dogs. Riley became my favorite dog because she was the last part of Omi I had left. I hope to honor Omi’s journey and memory as I trek across the United States.
My other grandma Phoebe (my dad’s mom) was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. During Hurricane Rita in 2005, my siblings and I were sent off to St. Louis to be spoiled by our grandparents. I have two memories from that week: Phoebe making me M&M pancakes because I complained that chocolate chips were too boring and bawling to my parents when we landed in Houston that all I wanted was to spend more time with my grandma. She has always been an absolute rockstar and an incredible grandmother. It has been heartbreaking to see her slowly lose her mind to dementia over the past few years and now potentially her body to cancer. Due to the pandemic, Phoebe’s treatment was delayed. Her battle with cancer will be one she faces for the rest of her life. Every time there is a home-cooked meal or decadent dessert on Texas 4000, I will think of Phoebe.
I ride for my great aunt Mimi who was a third grandmother to me. Though she did not have cancer, she passed away in October 2020 from health complications due to a lifelong battle with Type 1 Diabetes. Mimi was known for statement clip-on earrings, a glass of Merlot with any meal, and her bright red Chevy decorated with eyelashes above the headlights. She was compassionate, kind, and loving. Her five-foot frame was packed with power and grit. I hope to channel Mimi’s ferocity in her fight for life to my ride.
I ride for Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a real-life superhero who passed away from pancreatic cancer. RBG dedicated her life’s work to gender equality. Nothing screams women’s empowerment like cycling 4,000 miles across the United States. My contribution to the fight against cancer is my thank you to her for her life-long work for women.
Newly, I ride for my grandfather Poppy, who passed away in October of 2021. Phoebe and Poppy had been together since the seventh grade and raised their family in St. Louis where they had lived all their lives. Whenever I would visit, I felt like a celebrity because I was Marvin and Phyllis’ youngest grandchild and it seemed like everyone knew it. Two of Poppy’s favorite things in the world were naps and dollar stores. I inherited his love of the former and benefited greatly from the latter. When I was at boarding school, every time Poppy would go to the dollar store, he would pick up a candy bar and set it aside. Once he had collected enough treats, he would splurge and buy Ferrero Rochers and a small stuffed animal to ship off to me. Despite being 2,000 miles away, these care packages were a constant reminder of his love. I was fortunate to be able to visit Poppy to say goodbye before he entered hospice care. I called him every day thereafter, as did all his closest friends from childhood. He was surrounded by family and lots of love when he passed. He taught me the importance of staying close with family and close with friends (and I am so lucky to have my closest friends from elementary school still in my life). I miss him every day.
If there is someone you would like me to ride for, please let me know.
To Alaska and back,