Alpine Challenge Helps California Kids One of the most popular and fast-growing charity cycling events in the country is the Alpine Challenge, of Alpine, California. The brainchild of cycling enthusiast Ed Paul, who created the event out of taking a personal development course by Landmark Education, the Alpine Challenge is now entering its 8th year of existence. During that time, the ride has grown from about 70 in its first event in 2001, to over 600 at the event which just took place April 26. The beneficiaries of the Alpine Challenge are local children, specifically at-risk youths from nearby high schools, who face long odds of successfully completing college. Each year, the Challenge selects two new high school students to receive funding for their first two years of college, provided they abide by a pledge to be free of crime and drugs. The recipients also receive a tutor during their high school years and a laptop computer during their senior year.
All told, 14 of these at-risk teenagers are participating in the Alpine Challenge program. Additionally, some of the money raised by the event this year is also going to the Rady Children's Hospital Hematology/Oncology Care Center in San Diego, which is the largest pediatric cancer care facility in Imperial and San Diego counties. The state of the art facility features the best cancer treatment available as well as social services for the whole family. All told, about $150,000 has been raised to benefit California's children during the eight years of the event's existence. Furthermore, because all the people working on the Alpine Challenge are volunteers, 100% of the money raised goes to children in need.
The cycling event itself gives participants a choice of four courses. For serious enthusiasts, there is the Descano ride, a 62-mile tour of which features a 5,700 foot elevation increase during the course. For those who want an even greater challenge, or a little more time to enjoy the scenery, there's the 72-mile Pine Valley Ride, which features almost 7,000 feet of total elevation increase.
For those not quite up to those rigorous challenges, the Event also features 20 and 30 mile rides, neither of which are particularly easy?Both require riders to go up the event's signature climb up Dehessa Road, a five mile stretch with a 2,100 foot rise in elevation. Beyond the steady increase in rider attendance from all over the country, the event has been enthusiastically supported by Alpine residents. Volunteers do everything from patrolling the route fixing flat tires to providing food, snacks and beverages at several aid stations along the way.
Police and emergency servides have also pitched in. The California Highway Patrol and the county Sheriff's Department directs and diverts traffic while riders pedal through downtown Alpine, and emergency medical services are on hand as well. All in all, the Alpine Challenge looks like it will only continue to expand its ability to impact young people, provide cyclists a great challenge and inspire residents of San Diego county.
Tony is author of this article on Landmark Education. Find more information about Landmark Education here.