“Triumphant!” That’s how Mallory King describes how she felt after a bike ride of 314 miles and a vertical gain of almost 38,000 feet. It was a mountain biking for charity odyssey that took her 30 days to complete.
Mallory didn’t begin the ride on a whim. She and her teammates were working to raise money for Wasatch Adaptive Sports. The group provides instruction and adaptive equipment to help individuals with disabilities get outside to ski, climb, paddle or ride – depending on the individual’s passion.
“The event was called the ‘At Home Hustle,’” Mallory recalls. A friend invited her to join a team of riders who solicited pledges for reaching mileage and vertical gain goals. “My original goal was 250 miles and 25,000 feet of vertical gain.” The first week the group went to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where they tackled the Teton Pass. “That is a VERY steep mountain!” Mallory says with a laugh. “It’s challenging to ski and equally challenging to mountain bike on. I went over my handlebars more times than I can count.”
Mallory was undeterred. “I am so lucky to be able to do all these mountain sports that I love,” she explains. She was determined to help others share the challenge and joy of outdoor adventure.
Her next rides included Galina in Sun Valley, Idaho; Cathedral Hills and Hardesty Mountain in Grants Pass and Oakridge, Oregon; and Lake Tahoe, Nevada. In Utah, she climbed mountains at Park City Mountain Resort, Powder Mountain, and Little Grand Canyon, as well as Salt Lake area trails. All the riders used an app which tracked their mileage and elevation and reported it to Wasatch Adaptive.
Even though she was part of a team, Mallory typically rode solo or with a friend. Concerns about COVID-19 and coordinating schedules made team rides rare. “The team helped to keep you on track and motivated,” Mallory explains. In the end, it was mind over mountain.
Mallory learned to research her routes but also rely on the experience of other riders on the trail. She learned how to overcome the fatigue that set in after her first week of biking. “I was super exhausted, and I couldn’t imagine biking any more miles,” she says. “I did a bunch of research and talked to semi-pro athletes and other bikers.” She learned the high intensity exercise demanded an adrenal supplement which her nutritionist had recommended. She doubled her calorie intake, made of a goal of drinking her body weight in ounces of water every day, and learned Epsom salts baths were wonderful for all the scrapes and scratches she acquired.
She told her CHG team about her mountain biking for charity project and many chose to donate. Family and friends chipped in and even fellow bikers she met on the mountain also contributed. When the 30-day challenge ended, Mallory and her teammates had raised $2,848 – more than any other riders participating in the challenge. Combined, the all the teams contributed almost $15,000 With all the exhaustion, aches, and scrapes would she do it again? “Absolutely!” Mallory says. The mountains may have just met their match.