WAITE PARK -- Through the heat and the rain nearly two dozen bicyclists made their way from Austin, Texas to St. Cloud on their way to Alaska last (Monday) night.

Twenty-two bicyclists are riding in the mid-west section of the Texas 4,000 cancer ride.

Bikers arrived at Rejuv Medical in Waite Park last (Monday) night just before the storms rolled through the city.

The Texas 4,000 began a little over a month ago, riders made their way through the mid-west on their quest to reach Anchorage, Alaska next month.

The ride includes two other sections besides the mid-west, one rides up the west coast and the other through the rocky mountains. A total of 66 bicyclists dedicate their summer to the journey.

Rider, Holly Swaldi of Austin, Texas says she decided to do the Texas 4,000 in memory of her grandfather.

"A few years ago my grandfather was diagnosed with mesothelioma, so I joined in honor of him, unfortunately he passed away before being able to see me embark on this journey. But my grandma is still with me and this means a lot to her," says Swaldi.

In each town the riders hope to bring comfort to those affected by cancer. Rider, Cullen Bounds of Austin, Texas says the riders help bring people together.

"Everyone has been touched by cancer in their life, it's a constant presence and it's a very negative presence and so we try to unite the community," says Bounds.

Each rider clocks in at least 2,000 training miles before starting the Texas 4,000. Rider, Imran Zafar of Austin, Texas says learning how to bike on different terrain is crucial.

"When I come up to a hill it's a matter of shifting, I have to perfect my shift so that I can just glide up. It takes time to get used to, in the beginning I would be working up those hills but now it's gotten a lot easier, even on the hardest hills," says Zafar.

Riders took off shortly after 7:30 a.m. today (Tuesday) to continue their quest to Alaska.

So far this year the Texas 4,000 has raised $530,000 their goal is to raise $800,000 by the end of the summer.

Chrissy Gaetke, WJON
Chrissy Gaetke, WJON


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