By Drew Knight
Nearly 80 University of Texas at Austin students will slather on more than four gallons of sunscreen, scarf down about 15,000 energy bars and PB&J sandwiches and wash it all down with about 700 gallons of sports drinks.
No, it’s not the biggest spring break party you’ve ever seen — it’s the Texas 4000, the longest annual charity bike ride in the world that has raised more than $3.5 million in the fight against cancer.
Founded in 2004 by two former UT students, Chris and Mandy Condit, Texas 4000 is back yet again with its annual trek from Austin to Alaska to help raise funds for cancer research. And, for the second year in a row, New Home Source’s parent company Builder Homesite Inc. (BHI) will be hosting the team’s kick-off event. In June, BHI will also host the team at Vallecitos Mountain Ranch, located in northern New Mexico.
BHI’s involvement with Texas 4000 started last year, when the company also hosted the team’s kickoff event as part of the company’s philanthropic philosophy.
“We at BHI have always believed in giving back, both financially as well as with time,” says Melissa Morman, BHI’s senior vice president of client experience. “Texas 4000 has been a great non-profit for us to adopt, as it speaks to our core values of philanthropy and personal development and, well, of course, we love biking!”
Mormon continues: “For our employees, Texas 4000 affords many opportunities for involvement — from helping host the riders to participating in the kickoff ride,” Mormon says. “So, while we are helping the riders, we are also developing our own associates as well.”
On the eve of the ride on Wed., May 29, 2015, BHI will host all 78 student riders in our facility gym. On this day, known as “Day Zero” to those familiar with Texas 4000, riders will arrive at our facilities after spending the day riding around Austin in an unofficial send-off by Austin city leaders. BHI will welcome these riders with a party, live music and more before they begin their 70-day odyssey.
“Not only are we helping a great cause (fighting cancer), we are helping to develop approximately 90 new young adults each year who will go out into the world with a philanthropic philosophy,” Mormon says.
The Texas 4000 is more than just a 70-day journey for these students — it’s an 18-month commitment that includes a pledge to raise a minimum of $4,500 per rider, a 1,500-mile prep ride and hours and hours of fitness, leadership and speaking training. These riders become well-versed, dedicated and disciplined warriors.
Texas 4000 is a community of cancer fighters comprised of student riders, volunteers and community supporters who strive to spread hope to those fighting cancer through three main pillars: hope, knowledge and charity:
- Hope in letting those touched by cancer know that there are people who are willing to ride cross-country for them and are determined to eliminate the disease,
- Knowledge in bringing life-saving information about cancer prevention to communities large and small and
- Charity by making a commitment to support cancer research and lead the charge in overcoming cancer.
To spread these talking points, riders will divide among three different routes (the Sierra, Rockies and Ozarks) after leaving Austin. Along the way, they will sleep in churches, schools and parks and they’ll visit hospitals to meet with children fighting cancer and speak to countless other groups.
BHI will stay in contact with some of the Texas 4000 riders (in fact, we’ve got a BHI team who will bike the first 25 miles with the riders), so keep checking back in to see how these riders are doing on their trip to raise funds for cancer research and hope for those affected by cancer.
Drew Knight is Digital Content Associate for New Home Source.