Cyclist Kristopher Novak begins pedaling his way from Austin to Anchorage, Alaska this June.
“It feels simultaneously close and far away,” he said in mid-December. “There are fewer than 175 days until we leave, but there are a lot of challenges to overcome, namely that I still need to ride 1,700 more training miles.”
Novak, a Keller resident and UT Austin student, is part of the Texas 4000 team, whose mission is to “cultivate student leaders and engage communities in the fight against cancer.”
He’s been training for months, but winter brings its own set of obstacles.
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“Riding during the winter can be frightening,” he said. “It gets dark much quicker, and it’s all too easy to lose heat, especially when biking through stormy weather. Thus, I've taken many precautions. I never ride alone, only choose times when I know the sun will be up and wear multiple layers.”
Novak trains with fellow Texas 4000 riders whenever feasible.
“Fortunately, quite a few people on the team live close to Keller, such as Southlake, Trophy Club and Haslet, which makes it easy for me to ride with others when I’m home,” he said. “We have two routes, one that goes to Grapevine along Dove Road and the other that extends down to Colleyville via the Cotton Belt Trail.”
At one point, Novak experienced inner-knee pain and found that he was struggling going up hills, but these were minor setbacks.
“I decided to get a bike fit, which has really helped,” he said. That's where an expert measures the rider and checks out the bike to make sure the seat and handlebars are adjusted properly.
Fundraising is going smoothly as well—Novak has raised more than $3,000 of his $8,000 goal.
For more info on the Texas 4000 and their cancer-fighting initiative, check www.texas4000.org. If you’d like to help Novak reach his financial goal, go to www.kristophernovak.com.