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Whistler rider to tackle Everesting challenge

Alex Jessett to ride for charity in Bayshores and Kadenwood on Sunday
Alex Jessett plans to complete an Everesting challenge on June 7. Photo submitted

As is the case for many Whistlerites, the COVID-19 pandemic has not been kind to Alex Jessett.

Jessett was personally impacted as she was laid off from her job as a bootfitter when Whistler Blackcomb shut down its operations in March. However, she knows many others have had it worse than she has, and she'll wage an uphill battle to support them this Sunday, June 7.

"That was a pretty big blow to everything. I feel pretty lucky. The government has been pretty great giving us support, so I just got my bike out and started driving," Jessett said. "I feel very lucky, personally, but I would like to help people who have not been so lucky through this whole crisis.

"I want to do something to help with the current situation. I thought I might as well try something a bit crazy and see if people get on board with it."

Starting at 6 a.m., Jessett will take on an Everesting challenge as she looks to climb the equivalent of Mount Everest's elevation gain (8,848 metres).

"I've been doing loads of riding, which has been pretty cool, so I think I'm fit enough. We'll see if I'm mentally ready to get up there," she said. "I'm getting out there most days, so I think I should be OK."

Jessett plans to take the same Bayshores and Kadenwood route as triathlete Karsten Madsen completed in May, meaning she'll need to do just over 38 laps, and a total of 243.2 kms.

"It's probably the best way to do it around here," she said. "It's also right by my house, so that's perfect."

Jessett has assembled a team of friends to keep her fed and hydrated while also holding down the fort at the beginning of the course near the Bayshores mailboxes collecting non-perishable donations for the Whistler Food Bank. She expects a long day will be in store, anticipating roughly 13 hours of riding to reach her goal.

"I'm going to start early to make sure I have enough daylight to do it," she said. "Hopefully, other people come down and do some laps, which would be good to try to get me up there."

Jessett's original hope was to support research into a COVID-19 vaccine, but changed course after reasoning that the money she raises would be far more helpful being split between the food bank and the CanadaHelps COVID-19 Healthcare and Hospital Fund to support frontline medical professionals.

As of June 5, Jessett had already surpassed her initial goal of $1,000.

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