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Texas Exes Asian Alumni Network » Alumni Spotlight » Eric Chen Bikes to Alaska for the Texas 4000

Eric Chen Bikes to Alaska for the Texas 4000

Eric Chen, a Dean’s Scholar Biology major,  former president of the Chinese Student Association, and a 2009 Texas Ex spent his summer after graduation biking to Alaska as a part of Texas 4000.

The Sense Corp Texas 4000 for Cancer is the world’s longest annual charity bike ride–from Austin to Anchorage. Forty four riders make the trip every summer after each raises $4,500 over the school year to donate to cancer research. The mission of Texas 4000 is to spread hope, knowledge, and charity to individuals met along the way as well as from home. The seemingly endless ride represents the battle for cancer. Through two routes–the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada desert and up the Pacific Coast–the ride takes 70 days and 4,500 miles to bike.

Eric served as the Program Coordinator for the Texas 4000 team in 2009, where he planned and implemented cancer awareness presentations in the different cities the team biked through. Eric raised over $6000 to be donated, $1500 over the required amount for each rider.

Eric Chen – Profile Video from Texas 4000 on Vimeo.

100 psi • day 17 from Joel Farris on Vimeo.

Eric Chen

TEAAN: What motivated you to ride in the Texas 4000?
Eric Chen: I expect fighting cancer to be a long and strenuous challenge (and to seem hopeless at times). I expect many people think about giving up, and I’m sure many people do. To be honest, that fact really saddens me… not because I’ve never given up on anything before (I have), but because looking back I’ve always wondered what may have happened if I had pushed a little further.

More often than we may think, we all need to be encouraged to press on, because the hope of conquering this disease is worth the fight, and cancer patients need to know that they can conquer it-—we believe in them! If it weren’t for the encouragement I received from my parents, coaches, professors, or total strangers, I surely wouldn’t be studying biology at UT pursuing a law degree and aspiring to make a positive contribution to our world. A quote one of my mentors told me over the summer while I was studying abroad is one I try to follow closely, “Bless others with what you’ve been blessed with.” I’ve been loved, encouraged, and cared for all my life, now it’s my turn to return the favor.

I must confess that riding 4,500 miles the summer of my graduation isn’t my ideal vacation, but I really could not spend it any other way. If my riding of a bicycle 4,500 miles inspires one person to hope on and push through, then this ride is more than worth it.

TEAAN: What have you learned from the ride?
Eric: The ride gave me a true understanding of how vast and diverse the U.S. is. The greatest lesson I learned through this ride was to persevere and not lose hope. We faced 20 mph headwinds, steep inclines, the desert heat, sometimes all at the same time. It definitely took us more sweat and effort to get there, but we got there, and in the end that’s what matters.

TEAAN: What were your biggest challenges?
Eric: The greatest challenge was getting back on the bike every morning when my legs and bottom were sore from the previous day and just pressing onward.

TEAAN: What advice would you give to future riders?
Eric: There’s no better way to see the world than on a bicycle.

Day 19: Zion to Dammeron Valley (75 miles)

President's Pic from Eric's t-shirt fundraiser

Friends support Eric Chen through a Team Eric Chen Texas 4000 t-shirt  fundraiser.

*UPDATE*: Since biking the Texas 4000, Eric has spent a year in Beijing, China where he studied Mandarin and is currently a first year law student at UC Berkeley, interested in civil rights law and community development. His passions include working with the Asian American communities as well as leadership development and protecting the constitutional rights of minorities.

*UPDATE*: Since biking the Texas 4000, Eric has spent a year in Beijing, China where he studied Mandarin and is currently a first year law student at UC Berkeley, interested in civil rights law and community development. His passions include working with the Asian American communities as well as leadership development and protecting the constitutional rights of minorities.

Written by Jennifer Wang

Filed under: Alumni Spotlight · Tags: , ,

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