Texas 4000 Team Rolls Into Eureka Springs
Ryan Terrebonne braved the heat and temperamental weather in Eureka Springs last Thursday as he rode through the Ozarks to honor his two late grandfathers’ fight against cancer.
On the longest annual charity bicycle ride in the world, the Texas 4000 team rolled through Eureka Springs just 20 days after departing from Austin, Texas, on its way to Anchorage, Alaska.
“The most challenging part is the really long rides day to day that are so mentally exhausting. My teammates keep me motivated, as well as all of the people that I know are supporting me back home,” Terrebonne said. “This base of support inspires me the most, as well as those who have to put up a fight against cancer every day without choosing to have this come into their lives. I ride for those that cannot.”
Terrebonne had never been to Eureka Springs but said his grandparents “talked about it a ton.”
“This makes me really excited to come through as it is yet another way for me to honor my late grandfather through this organization. From what I’ve seen, it’s absolutely beautiful. I know it’s one of our hardest days based on elevation, but I can’t wait for the challenge,” Terrebonne said.
While in Eureka Springs, the 2015 Texas 4000 Team celebrated and shared hope, knowledge and charity with friends and family before continuing on its 70-day journey.
The 2015 riders, the 12th team since Texas 4000’s inception in 2004, began their journey in Austin on May 30, with a 70-mile community bike ride called the ATLAS Ride from Cedar Park to Lampasas, Texas. From there, the riders separated into three routes — Rockies, Sierra, and Ozarks — as they continue on a ride twice as long as the Tour de France.
After 18 months of leadership development training, volunteering, fundraising and cycling, riders are put to the test throughout their summer ride to Alaska. Along their journey, they visit with cancer survivors, patients, caregivers, and communities to make educational presentations about cancer prevention and early detection. They also use this time to offer hope, encouragement and share their personal stories to cancer patients of all ages and to those who have been affected by the disease. Every encounter is an inspirational story the riders carry with them on their journey and quest to fight cancer.
“This ride serves as a metaphor for the difficult battle cancer patients wage each day: a long and difficult road, with hard days and easier ones, good days, and not-so-good days,” said Levi Joseph, a ride director on the Ozarks route.
“This is a difficult trip for me on many levels, but I have known so many people with cancer who bravely, fiercely and with determination fought this awful disease. I ride for those people. Thinking of them is what literally gets me up the next hill or mountain,” he said.
Texas 4000 began 11 years ago when Chris Condit, a student at the University of Texas and a cancer survivor, sought a way to share a message of hope, knowledge and charity to those with cancer. Since then, Texas 4000 has sent more than 540 riders on their bicycles, traveling more than two million miles to honor those affected by cancer.
Collectively, these riders have raised more than $4.5 million in the fight against cancer, funding cancer research projects at MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas Biomedical Engineering Department and survivorship programs such as the LIVESTRONG Navigational Services Center. Students have the opportunity to serve on a grant-making committee upon their return from the summer ride, helping to determine where a portion of their hard-earned fundraising dollars will be contributed.
To learn more about the people who make up the 2015 Texas 4000 team, to make a donation or to read the riders’ blogs, visit www.texas4000.org.
Written by Alana Cook
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