Texas 4000 Cyclists Almost to Alaska

With more than 4,600 miles under their bike tires, they’ve almost made it.

Fifty-three University of Texas students cycling from Texas to Alaska — that’s twice the distance of the Tour de France — are expected to roll into Anchorage today.

The Sense Corp Texas 4000 for Cancer, a fund-raiser to raise awareness about and money for cancer research, started in Austin June 4.

Along the way, the cyclists encountered forest fires, rain storms, sore muscles, wild raspberries and endless miles of pavement. They also gobbled down 6,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, slathered on 4 gallons of sunscreen, and fixed about 350 flat tires.

The photo at top, from Sarah Russ, who flew to Alaska to meet the bikers, shows the gang this morning, preparing for their last day’s ride.

The second photo shows three of the riders — from left to right, Jordan Deathe, Mahek Mehta and Dyar Bentz — taking a break on the 69th day of the 70-day ride. They’re outside of Sutton, Alaska, about 60 miles from Anchorage.

Organizers say the group encountered no major problems along the way.

Want to welcome them home?

A dinner and gala for is planned for Aug. 28 at the Hyatt Regency. The event will feature music by Austin’s Radiostar, plus dinner, dancing and a silent auction, with proceeds going to cancer research. The cyclists will be on hand to celebrate.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $175 per person or $1,000 to sponsor a rider.

Last year’s tribute dinner raised more than $65,000 to support the Texas 4000 mission. For tickets or more information, go here.

Cancer survivor Chris Condit started Texas 4000 for Cancer seven years ago to share a message of hope, knowledge and charity to those with cancer. Since then, more than 300 students have finished the ride — and raised more than $1.5 million in the process.

Participating cyclists each must raise at least $4,500 for cancer research.

This year, the Texas 4000 team camped outdoors for half of their journey. They spent remaining nights in school gymnasiums, host families’ homes, churches and even one night in a hotel, which was donated.

By Pam LeBlanc