The Texas 4000 is riding through town on June 25. It sounds like a group of Western desperadoes, but instead it’s a group of 24 bike riders from Austin, Texas that are making their way through Nevada on their way to Anchorage, Alaska.
“The total trip is 4,500 miles in all and the trip will take 70 days to ride. If all goes well, they should reach their destination on August 12,” program coordinator Emmy Laursen said.
“The group is a nonprofit organization that raises money for cancer research. It was formed in 2004 in Austin by a University of Texas cancer survivor.”
Laursen spends her time coordinating projects for the riders.
“Each rider takes leadership classes for the trip,” she said.
According to the group, the Texas 4000 summer ride is the longest annual charity bike ride in the world. Starting together in Austin on Day Zero, the team splits on Day Two into Sierra, Rockies, and Ozarks routes and later reunites in Canada to ride the last nine days together into Anchorage. Each rider logs more than 4,000 riding miles throughout the course of the ride.
More than 600 students have made the trek from Austin to Alaska, collectively raising more than $7 million in the fight against cancer since the ride began in 2003. Most of the students ride for a friend or family member who has battled cancer — and perhaps lost.
The riders are tasked with raising money along their route and there is a reason the riders split into three routes.
“The three routes split the riders up so there is more community impact along the way,” Laursen said. “This year there are 66 riders divided among three routes. The riders going through Nevada are taking the Sierra route.”
The Sierra route will go through west Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada before heading north up the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts and into British Columbia and the Yukon before finally reaching Alaska. She said each rider goes through extensive training and they all attend the University of Texas.
“The riders, both men and women, go through a leadership program, which is 15 months,” Laursen said. “The ages of the riders range from 18-up. They also are required to raise $4,700 for their trip, which comes out to a $1 for each mile they ride. They also train and ride about 2,000 miles to prepare for the trip.”
“This is a truly inspiring group of young leaders committed to taking action and joining the fight against cancer,” said David Chayer, who was named executive director of Texas 4000 in 2015.
“Texas 4000 is a journey that takes grit, determination and support — that’s why we think of it as a metaphor for the fight against cancer.”
“To me, Texas 4000 is more about the process than the payoff,” said Matthew Schneider, a University of Texas at Austin senior and Sierra Route ride director. “What we do is not easy. Sometimes we fail, and sometimes that failure is out of our control. Our success is in perseverance, knowing as a team that we are not alone and that our thoughts and actions can be a pillar of support for others.”
After the ride is over the riders are placed on a committee which then decides which cancer charities the money they helped raise will be given to.
“This year the riders will raise $825,000,” Laursen said. “So far, as of yesterday, they have raised $514,000.”
The riders will stay one night with hosts in Pahrump and then it’s off to Beatty and then Tonopah.
“Host will provide the riders a place to sleep, eat and the host may also coordinate meet-and-greets,” Laursen said.
Those wishing to donate can use this link: http://texas4000.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1134181