Ravelo taking on Everesting Challenge | VailDaily.com

Ravelo taking on Everesting Challenge

EagleVail cyclist Cristhian Ravelo at the Green Mountain Stage Race in Vermont on September 1. Ravelo competes in both road racing and mountain bike competitions.
Special to the Daily

This year, professional cyclist Cristhian Ravelo has had some time to think. 

After being in full-on cycling training every spring of his adult life, the EagleVail resident’s coaches are having him take some time off this year. There were very few events on the docket, and those that were getting scheduled were uncertain, to say the least. 

Ravelo got out to some areas of Eagle County he had not visited in years. He hiked and climbed mountains on his skis. He thought a bit about his situation as a professional cyclist.

And then George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by police in Minneapolis, sparking outrage across the nation. Ravelo’s thoughts shifted to his own status as a minority in the United States, out hiking on public lands, accessing America in a way few will have the ability to enjoy. 

“I’m Hispanic, I’m from Colombia, but I’ve realized I never had to deal with issues of inequality,” Ravelo said. “And the reason for that is because I had a lot of opportunities come from sports. My parents weren’t wealthy, but I got a lot of scholarships, and a lot of people have helped me out.”

Race and racing

A few days before Floyd’s death, Ravelo visited the Buck Creek Road area of Avon to cheer on Josiah Middaugh as Middaugh attempted to complete 80 laps, or 29,029 feet of climbing, in a single session. The effort is known as “Everesting.”

Ravelo was thinking he would like to try something like that, but the idea of doing it for charity wasn’t at the forefront of his thoughts. 

In the days that followed, Ravelo had the same feelings many other people had after seeing Floyd murdered. He wanted to do something, anything. He began to look into local organizations which help minority children find some of the opportunities he had, and came across Chris Anthony’s Youth Initiative Project. 

In January, Anthony brought 29 students from Aurora Elementary School to Loveland to learn to ski. 

“It’s not just getting kids to the mountains, he also makes use of the indoor ski area in Centennial, which gets kids more fundamentally ready to come to the hill, so once they come to the hill it’s more beneficial of a trip,” Ravelo said. 

Ravelo decided to take on the Everesting Challenge to benefit Anthony’s Youth Initiative Project. He has picked July 27 or 28, depending on the weather.

Competitive spirit

While Ravelo doesn’t expect to reach the impressive fundraising totals of Middaugh and Mike Brumbaugh, who completed the Everesting Challenge on May 23, he does think he can beat Middaugh’s time. 

“It’s a tricky thing, because it is timed by the total effort,” Ravelo said. “When Josiah did it, he was only on the bike for 8 hours, but his total effort with occasional stopping was over 12 hours.”

Ravelo is hoping to put in a total effort of 9 hours or less. 

When Ravelo saw Middaugh taking on the Everlasting challenge in May, he said it did get his competitive spirit going again, even if the event isn’t a true competition. At the moment, however, it’s pretty much all Ravelo has planned for his summer in terms of competitive race efforts. The local Ski & Snowboard Club Vail graduate and CS Velo team member was planning on racing in the USA Crits series starting later this summer, but within a few weeks of the series announcing its August 22 kickoff in El Paso, Texas, the COVID-19 case count in the Lonestar State began to climb, and the series was canceled. 

“First and foremost on our minds was the safety of our athletes and the fans,” said Scott Morris, USA Crits Director of Development. “Beyond that, we had to address the impact to our local and national partners. Health care is a major local supporter of our sport. In addition, the level of permitted activities continue to change on almost a daily basis at the local and state levels making it impossible to plan for all aspects of the event day.”

Support Local Journalism