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Three Quebec riders raise $23,000 in Virtual Everesting challenge

Léandre Bouchard, Catherine Fleury and Elliott Doyle raise funds to help with COVID-19 relief

Canadian riders are finding creative ways to contribute to our countries battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Three Quebec riders have raised $23,000, and counting, to benefit two local health care organizations involved on the front lines.

2016 Rio Olympic Léandre Bouchard joined forces with Catharine Fleury and Elliott Doyle in their “Virtual Everesting” fundraising effort over the weekend. The trio each rode to 8,849m of elevation gain – known as Everesting, since it matches the elevation of the world’s tallest peak – in an online training platform.

Virtual Everesting
Doyle and Fleury mid-Virtual Everesting.

The Virtual Everesting ride raised funds for Fondation de l’Hôtel-Dieu d’Alma and Opération Enfant Soleil. If you would like to contribute to Virtual Evereting’s total, the link to donate will remain open for a couple of days.

The three riders put up some impressive ride stats, on top of the money raised. Bouchard spent 10 hours 58 minutes on the trainer, covering 208 km on his way to gaining 8,849 metres of elevation. Fleury and Doyle were on their bikes for 12.5 and 13 hours to complete the ride. To fuel the feat, Bouchard consumed just shy of 5,000 calories, including 6.6L of fluids. You can see a full breakdown of the nutrition plan behind a 11-hour Zwift at the bottom of this page.

I caught up with Bouchard over e-mail to find out the details of the massive ride, and impressive fundraising effort.

virtual everesting
Fleury and Doyle with their Virtual Everesting fundraising total.

Canadian Cycling Magazine: Who all was involved in with the ride, and how did the idea come about?

Léandre Bouchard: Three cyclists were involved: Elliott Doyle, Catherine Fleury and myself. Yann Gaudreault, a pharmacist was a big part of the project. Many other persons were involved behind the scene. We had many partners come aboard, contributing half of the donation total.
How did you decide on the Everesting challenge as your goal for the ride?
The Crush-COVID event inspired Elliott [Doyle]. He talked about it with Yann, his supervisor in his pharmacist traineeship. They had the idea to do a fundraiser event that would be 12 hours of virtual riding. A virtual Everesting fit around that time goal. On my side, I was thinking about the best climb around Alma (there is no big climb) to attempt an Everesting in real life. So when Elliott asked me to join, I quickly jumped in on the project. Also, My teammate Raphaël Auclair did an Everesting with his friend last month, which gave me the idea as well to replicate it.
The ride raised funds for two charities. Why did you pick those two?
The 2 charities are : Fondation de l’Hôtel-Dieu d’Alma  and Opération Enfant Soleil. The link for donation is still open.
Elliott [Doyle] and Yann [Gaudreault] picked those two charities because they both had an impact on their community for those suffering from COVID-19, and needed fundraising support. Fondation de l’hôtel-Dieu had a more local impact.  Opération works more provincially and was also a cause that Familiprix already supports.
I just jumped in on their plan and was grateful that my effort had an impact on good causes.
Virtual Everesting
Doyle and Fleury sending some love to the frontline workers while logging virtual kilometres.
What was the most challenging part of doing a big ride like that indoors on the trainer?
I think that is the mental game of being on a trainer all day! When you start in the morning, you know you will doing it until night!
With most racing cancelled, what is next on your schedule?
I do a few challenges, continue training, do some virtual racing on Swift or Strava. I’ll also use the time to work on other aspects of my performance: mental prep, nutrition, endurance. I also hope we can race locally soonish. It seems that XCT and enduro will maybe have a go earlier.
virtual everesting
Bouchard’s final tally: 208 km, 8,849m

What does it take to fuel a Virtual Everesting effort? Bouchard shared a full breakdown of his nutrition plan for the 11-hour ride, in French. Bouchard’s ride burned 7,700 kCal of energy, averaging 205 Watts for the 208 km ride, with just eight 12-minute breaks from the trainer during that time.