Cancer is a plague on humanity that research thus far has been unable to overcome.
Road bikers representing the Texas 4000 organization are planning their fifth annual ride to Anchorage, Alaska, approximately 4,600 miles, to raise hope, awareness, money and most importantly, a combative spirit.
Jon Stringer, the only Bobcat in the ride, could be seen this week between Alkek Library and the LBJ Student Center training on his new Felt bicycle, preparing to make the arduous trek to Anchorage. He is the ride director for the coastal group of riders who, according to Stringer, will ride west, tie into Highway 1 and continue northward across the Canadian border and into Alaska. He will be accompanied by 48 Longhorns and one Aggie.
The riders will eventually split into two groups. One will travel with Stringer up the coast and the other will take a more direct approach through the Rocky Mountains. Both rides are part of the longest charity bicycle ride in the world.
According to Stringer, Carolina Caravati, the Rocky Mountain route travel chairperson, explained the riders have been training since January for this strenuous trip, juggling long rides and muscle-stretches with “penny drives, mailing lists, carwashes and panhandling, anything you can imagine.” The goal is to raise $4,500 per rider. Each member averages around $6,500, said Stringer, meaning 50 members combined accumulated roughly $300,000.
According to texas4000.org, they, “will visit hospitals, organizations and local churches to talk about (their) ride, what (they) are doing to fight cancer, and how (we) can help prevent and beat cancer.” The Web site also explains they will complete roughly 80 miles per day for 70 days, taking only a few short breaks to explain their cause and raise awareness. The riders must also pass the Century Test, a 100-mile span through which the rider must maintain a certain speed.
All of this determination and planning for a trip that most serious bicyclers would find daunting, if not unmanageable, proves the people’s compassion. Stringer explained they get to keep the high-end bicycle after completion of the trek. However, it seems that is not the only motivation for their efforts. Perhaps they have close relatives or friends that have been affected by cancer. Or maybe the daily reports on unrelenting death tolls caused by different diseases have sprung them in to action.
Reasons notwithstanding, the proof is in the pudding. This is something admirable that any community queried for donations can support as a noble act for a noble cause. It is inspiring to see these athletes take to the pavement to battle an illness anyone afflicted could usually never participate in. They are doing something very humanitarian, and will be collecting donations for their trip, all of which will go to cancer research.
When it comes down to it, there are still a large number of people who care about the community. Impeding socialism or not, when it counts, there are those present to fight for the oppressed. We can follow their journey on the Web site, where a full-length documentary and blogs will be monitoring their progress.