Texas 4000: Saving lives through cycling
link U.S. Air Force photo: Senior Airman Ericka Engblom
Cyclists in the Texas 4000 pedal the last few feet of their ride June 5 in Clovis. The Texas 4000 is the world’s longest charity bike ride to raise money for cancer research. It covers the distance between Texas and Alaska along three separate scenic routes.
27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
It is generally accepted that to this day, cancer has claimed the lives of more people than all the wars in the last century combined. It doesn’t discriminate; the young, the old, the healthy and the weak all fall victim to its curse. Cancer has no preference. Though there are many treatment options scientists have yet to find a cure to eradicate cancer once and for all. Cancer research is ongoing and always in need of funds. What better way to fight the world’s oldest disease than with the world’s largest charity bike ride?
Texas 4000 is a program that was founded in 2004 by Chris and Mandy Condit, who were students at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. The program consists of University of Texas students who are selected among their peers to dedicate a year of their lives to learn about, train and ultimately ride the more than 4,000 miles between Austin and Anchorage, Alaska.
The riders are split into three groups: the Sierra route, the Rockies route and the Ozarks route. Each journey is marked by stops in several major cities and a few minor ones. Clovis just happens to be one of the chosen pit-stops on the Sierra route.
Members of Cannon Air Force Base have been hosting riders of the Texas 4000 since its founding 11 years ago. Amy Ward and her husband Maj. Jason Ward, 73rd Special Operations Squadron pilot, are two of this cause’s proud supporters. This year, their house is being utilized as the central meeting point for the rider’s arrival and the barbeque cookout that is being held in their honor.
“I am very excited about this event,” said Ward. “This is a very inspiring group of people who gave more than a year of their lives to help spread the motto of the Texas 4000 — hope, knowledge and charity.”
Each host family will take on two riders during their overnight stay in Clovis. The riders will have just completed the first 100 mile stint of their journey and will need to rest, eat and do laundry. The group will meet back up at the Ward household for a farewell breakfast in the morning and then depart to the next milestone on their journey: Albuquerque.
“Throwing them a barbeque is the least we can do,” says Ward.
For additional information about the Texas 4000, the stops each group will be making or how to get involved, please visit the Texas 4000 website at http://www.texas4000.org/