winter reflections

riding in the winter

riding in the winter

With the year winding down, winter break is finally in full swing! the days are short, the temperature has dropped, but our team stays strong with riding.

It’s kinda around this time I like to think about the lessons I’ve learned this semester. Most silly, a few serious, but all important for being a better teammate, person, and friend.

  • happiness comes in sips, not gulps. It’s the small moments that matter, so make those count.

  • don’t eat Hot Pockets before a bike ride. you won’t feel hot at all.

  • never assume anything.

  • consent is respect. what’s comfortable for you might not be for others.

  • when cycling in the cold, foil in your shoes kinda works. kinda. the presumed order goes skin/sock/foil/shoe.

  • indie music —> 12/10 (Gregory Alan Isakov :0)

  • You have a certain type of leadership style that fits your personality; but to be a better leader, sometimes you have to put on different “hats” to improve your decision making

  • only make promises and commitments that you can keep. It’s okay to say no at times.

  • take care of yourself before you take care of others - you can’t pour from an empty cup.

tiny bench. or big people?

tiny bench. or big people?

Annie's ride

There are some moments that you think are special. But there are some that are just simply unforgettable.

I had the chance to be a part of a special ride for my teammate Annie and her family. Even though it was the middle of finals, our team prioritized the time to drive three hours out of their way to be a part of it. It’s something that, alone, speaks volumes for the kind of teammates I’m with.

The route was beautiful. It was in a part of Houston that I’ve never been to before, with smooth, flat roads and trees that reminded me of the redwoods in California. It made me wonder what kind of other things we would see on our way to Alaska.

Our rides usually don’t have someone or something waiting for us at the end; when we train, the burden we take is upon ourselves and shared between us. We celebrate the ups and hold each other in the downs. The small wins here and there are what keep us going.

Annie’s ride

Annie’s ride

But as we turned the final corner to end this ride, I saw a sea of people stretched out. With signs held high and smiles on their faces, you could barely hear yourself speak. Every one of them - here, in support of Annie, her father, and Texas 4000.

That day was a lesson on what our biking means to others. Why we ride. Through all the hugs and tears from crossing the finish line, there was a sense of strength and spirit. It was infectious; it spread like wildfire. It was a statement that shouted: “despite the challenges, we can”.

What a moment.

round rock, rain, and resilience

December 8, 2018

Every weekend, the Texas 4000 team has a custom of doing Saturday rides. In our preparation to to reach Anchorage, Alaska, 2000 miles is our number to reach. And so every Saturday morning, while the rest of the city sleeps, 86 of us get up to put on our gear and head out into the cold. With the sun just scratching our backs, we reflect on those we ride for and share the stories of the ones we love.

It’s beautiful, in a way; to chase the sunrise with our jerseys flapping in the wind; the message “Fighting Cancer Every Mile” serving as our emblem of purpose to others. With the breeze constantly in our hair and smiles etched on our faces, the line between reality and imagination can feel blurry.

* * *

Every day we bike is a challenge. But sometimes there are days that are much more challenging than others. This was one of them.

The morning was cold, just about 40 degrees. It felt bearable in the parking lot where we began. But for some reason, as the day went on, it seemed like the temperature dropped even further. Our route was to Round Rock and back, a length totaling just over 40 miles; our longest distance yet.

It started raining a good amount, something our team was now accustomed to. But the mix of poor weather, rough terrain and long distance made the ride extremely difficult.

And when we usually see teammates on the side, a quick nod and a shout to make sure they’re ok will suffice. But when you see them run out underneath the highway bridge with a stricken look on their face, it only tell you one thing: something’s wrong.

It was fortunate to hear that no broke or sprained anything crossing the tracks underneath the bridge. But hearing others retell what happened was hard to digest. A few had bruises; some had to be taken to the hospital for concussions and stitches. Our group were already three hours into the ride, and the exhaustion felt was almost palpable.

But there was an air of resilience. Somehow, in the midst of all that was happening, we found the energy and to continue on with our ride. We found the strength to finish despite the cold, rain, and multiple flats sustained. And when we were done, we found the time to check up on each other to see how we were doing.

Seeing what happened today has given me so much faith in what our team can accomplish. In the worst conditions, all of us found the ability to find love in each other and in the little things.

Maybe that’s the key ingredient we need to get to Alaska.

raindrops, bikes, and donuts

raindrops, bikes, and donuts

training camp

November 10-11, 2018

Training Camp

so one of the things that I’m really not a fan of is the cold. If you asked me whether I’d prefer near freezing or scorching hot temperatures, I’d take the three-digit Texas weather anytime. Maybe that’s why I love summer in California so much.

* * *

It’s November, and Texas is really starting to come around the corner to show its colder side. We just got our bikes the month before; and after two weekend’s worth of skills clinics, training camp’s descended upon us. Right now it’s 1 am, and after a full day of biking drills and safety courses, several of my teammates are curled up beside me on the auditorium stage, snoozing softly.

a moment with the gals of Texas 4000

a moment with the gals of Texas 4000

I definitely question at some points what motivates me to wake up at such ungodly hours (and in near-freezing weather) to do something so crazy. The long hours that have been starting as early as 6am seem punishing at times, especially combined with work and a heavy course load. But if there’s one thing I learned, it’s the people that keep you going. My teammates have been nothing but loving and supportive; and in the entire year I’ve been a part of Texas 4000, the ordeals we go through are issues we can share with each other. With every little challenge that comes our way, we’re here for each other. I think it brings us a littler closer too.

Volunteering in the scorching sun; early morning sprint circuits in the rain; going door to door asking for donations to our cause. It seems so distant thinking about what we’ve gone through to be here now.

It’s quiet moments like now that I often think of the people that I ride for: my grandfather; my friends at church; my family; the strangers I’ve met panhandling. These people have endured so much in the face of huge challenges, and yet have the ability to show compassion and love. It makes the windy, ice-cold weather seem trivial.

We’ve got another long route to cover tomorrow on bike. It’s expected to be near-freezing again, with a good chance of rain. Another challenge we have to face; but I don’t think I’ve felt more prepared or motivated to take it on.

EDIT: for those wondering why the dates are kinda inconsistent, a huge backlog of entries has been sitting on my computer for a while, and I couldn’t publish until I got this website up. but they’re all definitely things I want to share as highlights of this fall semester :)