• Route: Rockies
  • Ride Year: 2023
  • Hometown: Flower Mound, TX

About: Hi everyone! I'm Ananya, and I'm a Computational Biology major from Flower Mound, Texas (though I was born in Syracuse, NY- the snowiest city in the US!). I love STEM, but I've also never been someone who could choose a favorite subject, so I'm also taking sociology and philosophy courses for my interdisciplinary field of study, "The Female Body in Science and Society."

Outside of academics, my two biggest hobbies are baking and books. My favorite baking feats include a Gulab Jamun cake (an Indian dessert), an ice cream birthday cake, and an apple-pear pie. As far as books go, I try to make at least some time to read for leisure every week, and my taste ranges from thrillers to memoirs to nonfiction. Let me know if you ever want suggestions or have recommendations.

Why I Ride

Why am I doing this? Why am I traversing two countries and many more states with nothing more than my bike and my Texas 4000 companions? While I love biking the quick 2-miles to the nearest Dunkin Donuts, I never planned (and still don’t plan) to become a competitive biker. So what will keep me going for 4500 miles? And how do I know I will be able to do it? These are probably all the questions on your mind (I know they’re on mine), but I don’t have a single answer to these questions. Instead, I’ll offer three.

I ride for love. In my life, I’ve been lucky enough to avoid watching a loved one suffer with cancer. Still, my family and friends are my primary reason for taking on this crazy journey. Every cancer story that I’ve heard has been a painful reminder that no one is safe. I ride for everyone who has loved someone with cancer, and I ride for the continued health of those that I love.

I ride for knowledge. I’m a scholar at heart, and that might not make me the most obvious candidate for a cross-country bike ride. My ultimate career goal is to obtain an MD-PhD in clinical oncology so that I can offer my patients personalized treatment while pursuing broader research. In any case, I am learning (and will be learning even more) about cancer, and one of the most shocking facts to me has been that between 30-50% of all cancer cases are preventable. There’s some reasons we all know- smoking, suntans- but there’s also a lack of screening and knowledge that a lot of people have about cancer risks, especially in the communities we will visit. My goal (counterintuitive as it might seem) is to spread enough knowledge so that at least one person who might have been at risk will never have to see an oncologist.

I ride for hope. I ride because I am one of the ones who can. I know people whose struggles make the simple tasks of day-to-day life impossibly difficult. So yeah, as impossibly difficult and long as this bike ride may seem, I’m doing it for the people who deal with the impossible on daily and still find a way to keep moving forward. Every mile I log for this cause honors their hope (and my hope) for a better future.