University of Texas students who participated in this year’s Texas 4000 fundraising ride made an over night pit stop in the Border City on Sunday night, and were treated like royalty by Lloydminster’s two Rotary Clubs. TAYLOR WEAVER LSS PHOTO
Despite high winds on Sunday evening, this year’s Texas 4000 participants safely arrived at Lloydminster Comprehensive High School right on schedule.
The group then had the opportunity to freshen up before enjoying dinner and great conversation at Grace United Church, courtesy of the Rotary Club of Lloydminster.
After a restful night on the floor of the Comp’s gym, riders reconvened at Cora’s at 6:30 a.m. on the dot, where the Border City Rotary Club sponsored breakfast to help fuel their bodies for Monday’s ride to Vegreville.
Texas 4000 is the longest annual charity bike ride in the world, and each year, selects students from the University of Texas in Austin to ride more than 4,000 miles from Austin to Anchorage, Alaska, to raise money and awareness for cancer research to help build a cancer-free future.
The group of 70 riders started as one on June 2, and on day two, split into their Sierra, Rockies, and Ozarks routes.
The three routes reunite in Whitehorse, Yukon on Aug. 2, to complete the final nine days of the ride.
Mikaela Casas, a recent graduate of the University of Texas with a journalism and government degree, and one of the Ozarks team captains, was ready to get back in the saddle and continue the trek early Monday, as the Border City experience was a “Texas winter,” and she wanted her team to warm up.
“We all have a different reason for riding with some connection to cancer, and I decided to join Texas 4000 because of the money that is donated to services and cancer research,” she said. “I had a cousin named Anthony who died from brain cancer at age five, so that compelled me to join.”
Casas explained students generally only participate in Texas 4000 once, as it’s an 18-month program including the 4,000 mile ride.
“It’s been quite a ride so far. You go through all of the weather you can think of. You go through all of the hardships together, you struggle together, you succeed together, you learn to live with 20 other people who have some kind of connection to cancer the same way you do, and you want to fight the fight, to make sure we one day live in a world where that’s not the case anymore.”
Despite the cooler temperatures shocking the majority of the American student’s systems, the overall consensus from the group was Canada is a very welcoming and accommodating country.
“Lloydminster has given us one of the warmest welcomes we’ve seen,” said Casas.
“It’s an amazing town and I can’t believe you guys are such an amazing cohesive community, even though you’re literally split down the middle (between provinces). It’s a wonderful place, and I think it’s something we’re going to remember for the rest of our lives.”
The Ozarks team rested in Vegreville on Monday night and arrived in Fort. St. John, B.C. today, before riding to Buckinghorse River Provincial Park B.C. tomorrow morning.
For more information on this year’s Texas 4000, or to donate to their ride, visit www.texas4000.org.
To stay in tune with the three different team’s progress, follow them on Twitter, @Texas4000.