UT students bike from Austin to Alaska to fight cancer


by Morgan Chesky / KVUE.com


Posted on June 3, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 4 at 11:04 AM

AUSTIN -- It's a journey unlike any other. Right now a few dozen University of Texas students are heading far from home -- all from the back of a bike.

You might spot them this weekend in Central Texas. The orange and white spandex is hard to miss. By next week, these riders will be long gone, riding to a place some have only seen pictures of. They're riding from Austin to Alaska.

"This is the longest annual charity bike ride in the world," Texas 4000 rider Nick De La Cruz said.

The 1,500 hundred training miles is nothing compared to the ride ahead. From Austin to Alaska it's more than 4,600 miles. This is the Texas 4000.

"When I was researching schools, I found it and I decide I want to go to Texas," De La Cruz said.

UT student De La Cruz is just one of 42. Saturday morning, all cyclists pedaled out of Austin ready for the journey ahead.

More important is their mission -- raising money to fight cancer. It's an illness De La Cruz knows from his mother, a lymphoma survivor.

"My mom never knew with the treatment she had to endure, that she'd ever be able to have any children," De La Cruz said. "It was really special for her to be able to have me, and I think this is a great way to give back to her and the community too."

Mike De La Cruz will ride alongside his son every step of the way, riding for his wife and brother.

"To be a participant and to do it at this level -- obviously I'm a proud father," Mike said. "This is near and dear to our entire family, so we're glad to be a part of it."

Joining the 42 cyclists will be an extensive support team. Two specially equipped vans will accompany several different groups.

If all goes according to plan, they'll pull into Anchorage August 10th.