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A long day in the saddle: Toronto Hustle’s 24 hour Zwift fundraiser will help crush COVID

Anyone can participate in the online cycling marathon

On Apr. 24, Brad Bradford, City of Toronto Councillor and principal at Toronto Hustle, will set out to complete his longest ride ever. He’ll spend a full 24 hours on the bike—and he’ll do it from the safety of his own home.

Bradford, the Toronto Hustle team, and cyclists around the world will participate in the ‘CRUSH COVID’ 24 hour Zwift fundraiser, biking for 24 hours from Apr. 24 at 6 p.m. EST, to Apr. 25 at 6 P.M. EST.

The virtual fundraiser was organized by Toronto Hustle and Michael Garron Hospital to give
cyclists the opportunity to support health care workers fighting COVID-19.

With more people using Zwift than ever before, Toronto Hustle hopes the event will draw attention to an important cause. “Despite the need for us to be physically apart, cyclists are coming together in unique and new ways,” says Bradford. “Zwift’s platform lends itself to building the cycling community.”

Funds raised by participants will go directly towards supporting Michael Garron Hospital’s frontline healthcare workers by ensuring the hospital can purchase equipment and respond to emerging priorities as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

The fundraiser will be broken into 12 2-hour Zwift events. Participants can choose to do the entire day themselves, or take turns virtually switching off with team members. Bradford will be live streaming the event on Facebook and encourages even those who aren’t participating to jump onto one of the 2-hour blocks and support the CRUSH COVID riders.

For Bradford, fundraising for his local hospital is the most important part of the ride. “What I’ve got in the legs is what I’ve got in the legs,” he says “really it’s about raising awareness for this cause. Mentally, I know I’ll get through it by focusing on the moment and letting the time pass by.”

Tips for participating in the CRUSH COVID fundraiser

Anyone can register to participate and fundraise for the event. Toronto Hustle member Holly Clarke recommends being the first to make a donation on your fundraising page. “When your name shows up on the donor wall, you’re letting your supporters know it’s a cause you’re truly passionate about.”

While this will be (by far) Bradford’s longest ride ever, he’s done his research on how to get through it. “The advice I’ve received is to have a few changes of kits and socks, make sure you put on a comfy saddle and get the bike position dialed in in advance,” he says. Comfort looks different for everyone but it might mean adding a few more spacers to increase the height of the bike (don’t worry, no aero gains will be lost indoors). Some people have recommended wearing two pairs of bibs at the same time, but Bradford is a bit sceptical, “I’ll have to test that before the ride,” he says.


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Nutrition and hydration will be some of the biggest factors in finishing the ride, so make sure you’re replenishing all the calories you’re burning. Eat well the days prior to the event and get plenty of rest leading up to it.

“I’m a big coffee drinker,” says Bradford. He’ll be trying to dial back on caffeine a week before the event to build a bit of a tolerance, but he already knows he’ll have the espresso maker going throughout the ride.

Staying home and riding the trainer can make a difference

“Right now, a crash during an outside ride isn’t just about you—it affects the broader community, unintentionally drawing on medical resources that are so precious right now,” says Bradford. “Riding inside on a trainer eliminates any risk.”

“The race calendar, charity rides and fondos have all been left on hold,” he says. “The season is up in the air, we don’t have clear information and everyone’s left looking for answers. What remains though, is this desire to respond to this crisis, to make a positive difference, to do something to help out the community.”