About Me


  • Route: Rockies
  • Ride Year: 2023
  • Hometown: Fredericksburg, Texas

About: Hi !!
My name is Elena- I’m a senior, pursuing a triple major (don’t ask me how it happened, i’m not even sure.) I’m from Fredericksburg, Texas, a small town in the Hill Country and my longest love/hate relationship.

I am notoriously bad at riding bikes but love a long run around Town Lake or the streets of Fredericksburg. My small town upbringing is the reason I have a habit of speeding, struggle locking/unlocking doors with keys, and feel a little too passionate about peach season.

My roommates recently voted me “Most Likely to be Able to do a Pull-up” and “Most Country,” neither of which are truly fitting. This year, I have been striving to know & be- whether that be good, kind, or love.

A few simple things I have found great joy in lately: citrus fruits, Taylor Swift's Midnights, chocolate chips, and a concerning amount of caffeine.

Why I Ride

My Oma is one of the strongest people I’ve had the honor of knowing; our whole family was centered around her. She served in the military, raised 8 kids, and continued to work as a nurse for decades- of course she did not do all this alone. My Opa, Francis, was alongside her until he passed from lung cancer before Dot and I could meet him. My aunts & uncles tell stories of Opa with pride: his Naval career, the times he caught them in trouble, and how he would fall asleep to TV static. He seemed strong, determined, and stoic; I never understood how someone so important to my family could be taken by cancer. I was in 7th grade when my Uncle Tony, Oma’s little brother who had previously been diagnosed with cancer, passed away. I distinctly remember walking Oma to the funeral; she was around 90 and had severe Alzheimer's. It felt cruel and merciless telling and retelling her why we were at the church, knowing cancer played a role in the passing of both loved ones. Despite the monumental losses, Oma held herself together. She was an influential presence in the lives of her 20+ grandkids. She treated us with coke floats and ice cream sandwiches, always lost her teeth, found peace in praying the rosary, and compulsively salted her food without tasting it- a habit in which I will always share with her.

I ride for Opa, whom my family holds so deeply in their hearts. I ride for Uncle Tony, who called Dot and I, “sweetheart,” kissed the top of our heads, and crossed my mind constantly at the pools. I ride for Oma, who lost so much to cancer but still loved so fiercely. I ride for my family who still grieves these losses but more importantly celebrates their lives. I ride for the empty chairs at game night and for every time we sing “Mama Tried.” I ride for the Frances club and the porch swing. I ride for my Aunt Teresa, who battled breast cancer throughout the pandemic, while continuing to teach middle schoolers. She is beyond amazing & I hope to show an ounce of her spirit.

Around the time my t4k application was due, my Pre-K best friend turned 21. We celebrated at brunch, and her mom passed around old pictures of us as kids. One showed her in a sparkly pink dress, revealing a brown birthmark on her arm. We were probably 5 or 6 years old, sitting on a rug at morning prayer when she said she was getting the birthmark removed. At that young age, I did not realize the gravity of the situation; the procedure was a preventative measure, spurred by her older brother's cancer. The love her family has shown throughout my life, regardless of the diagnosis, is the kind of love that inspires hope, knowledge, and charity.

Many of my close friends have had incredibly personal experiences with cancer- either parents or siblings. They’ve known fear and doubt, but have made so much more known: humility, resilience, grace, joy.

I ride for Jessica & her family who love me like their own kid (but fed me all the snacks my mom wouldn’t) and always greet me with open arms.
I ride for Mia & her family who consistently made time to genuinely support us.
I ride for Ethan & his family who meet us with compassion time and time again.
I ride for Claire, my first college friend, & her family who recently celebrated their mom’s last chemo treatment!!!!!!!!!
I ride for my lifeguards, who hold a soft spot in my heart, even if i hate to admit. It only took 5 years to get everyone to wear sunscreen :)
I ride for my community, those who cannot ride, those we meet along the way, and those we carry in our hearts.

To Alaska and Back,