29,088 ft, 194.57 miles, $7,500, over 50,000 meals for No Kid Hungry
Team TWENTY20 Pro Cycling shared Team rider Emma Grant’s philanthropic Everesting Challenge, “Team TWENTY20 professional cyclist Emma Grant climbed 29,030 vertical feet in an effort to raise funds for No Kid Hungry, an organization committed to ending childhood hunger. Grant continually climbed and descend Mt. Lemmon on her bike, each round trip boasting 6,600 feet and 56 miles raising close to $ 7500.00 which will provide over 50,000 meals for kids in need in the Tucson area. Some families rely on school meals as their child’s main meal of the day, with school closures this is an extremely difficult time. Thank you to Pam Alexander for connecting us to Adele Nelson at Chef Cycle. We are extremely proud of Emma and her efforts to support her community during this time.”
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For this weird 2020 season of pro cycling, I present essentially suffering for a greater cause when you have no to fixtures to train for! When life gives the world lemons just keep riding your bike up and down the mountain to raise money for No Kid Hungry.
Rewind to 8 weeks ago. I was lugging a boot around nursing a fractured foot. Little did I know at the time that setback served as a gradual intro into the unprecedented circumstances that were about to unfold. Priorities shifted, a space of acceptance was wrestled with.
As the global crisis escalated, I was still following my ‘get me good for Redlands’ structured training plan rehabbing and rebuilding from the injury. It didn’t feel right that I could just put my phone on airplane mode and escape on the bike. I was really struggling with that and sought a means to offer through pushing pedals.
Fast forward to April 14th, the 2.45 am alarm doesn’t need to go off, I am awake after a whopping 2 hours sleep. 3 am porridge force-feeding, 4 am Mt Lemmon mile 0. So began the journey; 4 reps of Mt Lemmon to the Observatory; ascending the equivalent elevation of Mt. Everest 8,848 m (that’s 29,028 ft yanks). People had gone out of their way to reach out and tell me that I was doing this Everesting attempt wrong making it unnecessarily hard and I should do this climb or that segment. My hardwired stubbornness grew, if you’re going to ride for charity it has to be a worthy challenge and a little bonkers I say.
My friend had recruited some buddies to ride (at a social distance) and keep me company for the first ascent in the dark. It was an eerie, magical, bliss. In any other context of life meeting some complete strangers in the dark to go up a mountain would be so wrong! Then when the sun rose after 90 minutes, I introduced myself properly to these friendly strangers. Considering the duration of chamois time, not a lot went wrong during that time frame. Other than puncturing and losing my buddy who had the keys to his car with all the stash it was fairly smooth sailing.
Those incidents plus my own pep talk got me into the spirit of “chill out and roll with it, it is a journey, not a race. It really doesn’t matter how quick you get round and besides it is not about you it is about feeding hungry kids!” Highlights of the day were the variety of people that showed up to ride (at a distance breathing into a buff) or just stopped to cheer by the side of the road. I love the Tucson cycling community!
Every 30 minutes was force-feeding o’clock. I wanted to stay on top of my nutrition, fueling regularly from the start. I stuck to ~ 30 g CHO every 30 minutes. It was like a picnic from my back pocket all day long. I’ve trained my gut to tolerate taking on board a lot of food on the bike. So for the first 3 laps, I stuck with real food. I coin it anything goes ride food. I like to open up the pantry, chuck things in a blender and see what I can come up with. Most people know not to bother asking for the recipes! The last ascent was whatever it’s going to take fueling, which meant trusty CLIF caffeinated Bloks. I wanted to save them for when I needed that quick boost. For most of the day though, I just craved salt and savory snacks.
On an 8000+kj day, this is what went down the hatch… banana, cookies, salty potatoes, a family-sized bag of plantain chips, beef stick, oat balls, waffle, cacao banana loaf, Medjool dates, dried figs, peanut butter cups, nut butter CLIF bars, caffeinated CLIF Bloks and last but not least spork + zip lock of salty olive oily rice (because I didn’t get round to making portable rice cakes)!
Needless to say, I did not go hungry! The last ascent was a bit of a grovel but knowing I was toughing it out for kids in desperate need helped me embrace it. I am overwhelmed by everyone who has championed this fundraiser so far. It was a day I truly won’t forget. Thank you to everyone who made this happen!
Thank you for reading!
~ Emma Grant