Alexandria Lawrence and her cohorts barely broke a sweat despite the heat as they pedaled into the Gainesville High School parking lot Wednesday evening.
Lawrence is a member of the 2016 Texas 4000 charity bike ride team which is making its way from the University of Texas to Anchorage, Alaska.
The team — made up of UT graduates and undergraduates — raises money for cancer research and spreads the word about cancer prevention in cities and communities along their 4000-mile route.
They’ve been on the road since June 1 and most, like Lawrence, seemed fit and carefree.
“We put in 2,000 training miles,” Lawrence said. “[Training] is not easy but it’s a lot better than just picking up a bike and going.”
The riders also use “lots and lots of sunscreen,” she said.
Lawrence completed a degree in human biology and is planning to be a physician. She said she joined Texas 4000 because cancer has touched her life.
“Everyone joins for their own reason,” she said. “I did it to honor my grandmother who passed in 2012 and also for an aunt who has stage 4 breast cancer. I’m riding in support of her as well.”
There are 67 riders on the three Texas 4000 teams. Each team takes a different route to Anchorage.
The team, which had an overnight stay at Gainesville High School, is on the Rockies Route. The 4,000-mile journey will take them across the western U.S. and into Canada before they join the other two teams in Alaska.
Major cities along the route include Dallas, Oklahoma City, Denver, Helena, MT; Calgary, AB.
So far, they’ve raised $485,000 for cancer research, treatment and prevention, Lawrence said.