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  • Writer's pictureNick Allen

Bike Fundraiser by the Numbers

On the morning this post goes live, we'll be setting off on Day 5 of our 7-day, 600-mile trek down the California coast to support the Zone 7 Scholarship Fund. At the conclusion of Day 4, we're currently holed up in a motel in Goleta after finishing today's ride just south of Santa Barbara. With three tough days remaining, let's take a look at some of the highlights so far using data from both Strava and our Apple Watches.



Miles covered in the first four days, for an average of 90.01 per day. This average is buoyed by a 100-mile effort on Day 1, when the legs were still fresh.

173 bpm

Maximum heart rate measured during our ride so far, and strangely enough we both topped out at this same number at the same time. While we've hit the 170s on a few occasions, we both hit 173 at the end of Day 2 as we attempted to sprint through a seemingly dangerous section of Highway 101.

Figure 1: My heart rate data from Day 2. Notice the sharp spike at the end of the day as we went transitioned from a break to a highway sprint.

The heart rate data on this trip has been especially interesting, enough so that it could be a post of its own. One quick note I'll mention here is that I was amazed by the impact of environmental temperature on my heart rate while biking. During the warmer stretches (75 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), my heart rate is typically around 130 on flat ground and 145+ on inclines. Yet when we hit some fog and the temperature dropped to the 50s, my heart rate was about 110 when cruising on level surfaces and rarely reached 130 even when tackling hills. My take on this is that it's a testament to how hard the body works to cool itself. When this need is largely alleviated, the heart doesn't have to work so hard despite the physical output being the same.

12,616 ft

Total elevation gain through four days. That's over 12 Eiffel Towers, or about 43% of the way up Everest. Keep in mind, however, this is total elevation gain. Our net elevation gain through the trip should be about zero, so we've had an equally insane amount of downhill riding. Which brings me to our next number...

41.4 mph

Top speed reached so far, a mark unlikely to be broken in the remaining three days. We briefly crossed 40 mph while flying down the backside of a steep hill in Bitterwater, CA. Now that we're out by the coast, the slopes are more moderate.


My back-of-the-envelope calculation of how many times each of us has had to pedal to get where we are. When riding for 10 hours/day, you occasionally get bored enough that you start counting how many pedals it takes to cover every tenth of a mile. My finding is that it's about 64 (of course depending on the terrain and other factors).


Total number of calories burned between the two of us, equivalent to roughly 48 Big Macs or 141 Krispy Kreme glazed donuts. With each of us burning over 3,000 calories per day, we've been enabled to regularly eat some of the things we normally would save for our once-a-week cheat meals. It's not quite as fun as it sounds, though. After some of our more intense efforts, the last thing the body wants to do is digest a hefty meal. Calorically dense foods have been essential for keeping our bodyweights relatively stable.


The most important figure of them all. This is how much money we have raised for the Zone 7 Scholarship Fund, exceeding our expectations. $1000, the award amount for the 2021 Zone 7 Scholarship, will directly support the education of an economically disadvantaged student from Oakland, CA. The remaining money will be used to provide an even larger award to a student in 2022. We are so grateful for your support, and the students certainly will be as well.

Know an Oakland high school graduate who fits the criteria for the Zone 7 Scholarship? Invite them to apply with this link:


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