On Thanksgiving Day, while others dined on turkey and pumpkin pie, Cubby Cashen feasted his eyes on the pastoral beauty of the Hearst Ranch as he bicycled 1,300 feet from Highway 1 to a spot near the Castle, 22 and one-third times.
Cashen’s initial goal in this venture embraced the fundraising strategy of “Everesting” — biking the elevation of Mt. Everest within a 36-hour window on a hill no one else has challenged. He pedaled up that hill (on his Fuji Altamira cyclocross bike with road slicks) exactly enough times to meet the “Everesting” criteria — and he did it in 17 hours and 31 minutes.
The overriding goal for Cashen, a San Simeon Cove kayak vendor and animal rescuer who lives in Cambria, was to raise $14,000 to support pet adoptions and no-kill animal shelters — in particular the Short ‘N Sweet Dog Rescue Alliance, a registered 501(c) 3 nonprofit.
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As of Monday, donations (through GoFundMe and other sources) totaled nearly $13,000, Cashen said during a phone interview. “We are still accepting donations,” he said.
Mt. Everest is 29,029 feet, and by attacking the hill 22-plus times, Cashen climbed the precise height of Everest on the Castle’s precipitous road. And he didn’t get a ride back down either. Each ride was round-trip by bicycle.
“I had some unexpected delays,” Cashen explained. “I had an asthma attack during the ride, so I had to take a longer break there. And at lap 21, half way up the climb, I thought I was going to throw up. It was pouring down rain but I made it to the top and laid there awhile. I took more breaks than I had planned,” he continued.
He was all alone, but he had software on board that, while riding, created an email link that allowed Hearst Ranch staff and others to see his heart rate, how far he had gone, and other data. In fact he’s had a heart rate issue throughout his adult life that causes him to faint on occasion. “It doesn’t freak me out. ... I know when it’s coming,” he said with a chuckle.
A month prior to his ride, while training for the effort, he strained his quad. “I couldn’t walk a month ago,” he admitted. But with physical therapy, massages and chiropractic attention, he was healthy enough to launch his hilly ride.
Is this the most difficult challenge Cashen has ever faced? He wouldn’t commit to that, but admitted it was the most demanding adventure he has embarked on over the past 10 years.
The effort Cashen put forth was made more palatable for this wildlife devotee by the animals he witnessed: a bald eagle and golden eagle; more than 30 owls; coyotes; Barbary sheep; a gray fox and its litter; a bobcat with a rabbit in its mouth; a Peregrine falcon; red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks; and an American kestrel.
Those who wish to donate to Cashen’s cause may send checks or money orders to Rescue Alliance, 5425 Jack Creek Road, Templeton, CA, 93465. Or make a donation through gofundme.com.
“Help spread the word!” he wrote on his web pages. “Adopt a pet, ride a bike, smile.”