I remember so well the time when we had over 400 days until we left on our ride. Now we have less than a month. This journey has been anything but what I expected. The friendships, experiences, challenges, and triumphs have been overwhelming, but each one so valuable. Here are a few events that have lead to where we are today, May 15, only 16 until we depart on this epic journey across the continent.
I currently have raised $4,201.38 to date, leaving me with just less than $300 left to fundraiser! If you would like to help our fight agains cancer, you can donate online here! Donations of any size are humbly welcomed :)
Let's start with the day we "got" our bikes. As with most things in Texas 4000, the leadership likes to keep things under wraps as much as possible so they told us we were meeting at our sponsor bike shop to present them an award...yeah right. We all knew that we were getting our bikes!
Sergio, Khoi, Gabriela, and myself checking out the new bikes.
It seemed like it was a tradition for riders to name their bike, but I wasn't feeling a name coming. A few weeks after receiving my bike, I was on a ride by myself in the plains east of Austin. I pulled off the road to take a break and enjoy the scenery for a while, and while I sat there, the name came to me: Aurora. Aurora is the latin word for dawn, as well as the Roman goddess of dawn. Light. A new day. Awakening. I knew it as the one when it came to me. Coincidentally, when I got back on my bike, the next song to play was "Lights" by Ellie Goulding. How appropriate! Here is the first photo of Aurora.
Once everyone had their bike we had a two day training camp where everyone on the team learned how to ride a bike. You might think that since we are biking to Alaska and all, everyone on the team would have known about road cycling before they joined the organization. False! Most people had never ridden a road bike before, so learning the safety and mechanical logistics of riding was the first priority of our team. Our team at training camp.
Our team's bikes lined up at training camp. I couldn't help but think that this is what the summer would look like.
Our team had the opportunity to volunteer at Doc Avery's Haunted House, a non-profit haunted house in Cedar Park. We got to dress up and scare the children, all for the sake of raising money for cancer research! How cool!
Another tradition of Texas 4000 is to ride from Austin to Salt Lick BBQ. So we did! BBQ, beer and great company are some of the best refreshments after a 50 mile ride.
Charlie's birthday ride, a 77 mile ride to Johnson City and back.
In December, Collyn, Jordan, and I biked from Austin to Baton Rouge, LA on a 5 day, unsupported ride. This trip was incredibly fun, and again I found myself thinking about how similar this trip would feel to the actual ride. These women are amazing companions for any adventure! Brushing our teeth at one of our host's house. I got to take 29 of my teammates to Colorado on a ski trip in January. No biking on this trip, but we had a blast skiing and snowboarding!
During Spring Break we had a three day ride, the most consecutive miles that our team had ridden. It was a challenge for all of us in many ways, but we made it through. Here we got a gas station to put a sign up for us!
Megan, Alejandro, Tina and I hanging in our hammocks during the Spring Break Ride. Recently, 17 of my teammates shaved their heads in support of cancer fighters. These beautiful and brave people now sport their short hair with the utmost style and swagger! My team headshot from September 2013. Looking back on this photo makes me remember how far I've come in the last nine months. It's been an amazing journey, and I can't wait to experience the rest.
Stay tuned for the next installment which will come around May 26 after Camp T4K, our last bit of training and riding before the actual ride.