EDITOR’S NOTE: Catherine Butschi, a 2012 Robert E. Lee High School graduate and graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, is training for the cross-country Texas 4000 charity bicycle ride. This is the first in a series of stories she plans to write about her experience.
I am doing something that gives me goose bumps.
It involves a bike, a route from Austin, Texas, to Anchorage, Alaska, and a good cause. When I first told my family I had been accepted into Texas 4000, they thought I was pretty crazy. Physically the biggest challenge I had experienced was playing high school tennis matches at Robert E. Lee when temperatures were over 100 degrees.
Now, I am challenged with completing more than 2,000 training miles in Austin and then biking more than 4,500 miles across the U.S. and Canada to Alaska.
Texas 4000 is a nonprofit leadership development program that aims to prepare students to spread hope, knowledge, and charity through the largest student-led charity bike ride in the world.
I am one of 83 University of Texas at Austin students in the 2017 program who will be fundraising, raising awareness, and training for a bike ride to beat cancer.
Before each workout, meeting, or training my teammates and I begin our time by sharing ride dedications. We share the stories of strangers we met on the bus, family members, past teachers, and fellow students who have been touched by cancer.
During this time, I remember my Mama Joe, who passed away from brain cancer when I was 3. I say a prayer for my other grandmother who has been living with cancer for 20 years. I look around at the faces of my 83 teammates and know we are all moved in our cause because we spread hope, knowledge, and charity to combat this awful disease.
Sometimes a ride dedication is not a cancer story, but a happy moment such as your brother getting into medical school. Ride dedications are my favorite part of our time together because we celebrate the victories and inspire hope within each other. These dedications stick with us through our meetings, workouts, and especially will be remembered when riding across the country, over mountains and through rain to Alaska.
I am inspired by this journey because of the stories. I am excited to come together as a team to meet individuals across the United States, hear their stories, and share my team’s stories. This is what gives me goose bumps.
To find out more about Texas 4000, or to donate to help fight cancer, please visit http://www.texas4000.org/rider/2017/ozarks/catherine-butschi/.