Last Saturday, over 3,500 riders took on some of the biggest mountains in the Sierras during the annual Death Ride – 129 miles, 15,000 feet of vertical climbing, and 5 mountain passes that top out over 8,000ft. GU Energy has been a proud sponsor of this core cycling community event for over 10 years.
The next day, 12 riders set out to cover those same 129 miles with the goal of collecting the discarded wrappers and nutrition trash from riders the day before. The 12 volunteers split into four teams that brought back more than 10-pounds of discarded bar wrappers, gel packets, and other nutritional debris. Yuri Hauswald (GU Energy’s Sports Marketing Manager – Cycling) organized the group as a way to help the Death Ride stay low-impact and promote GU’s partnership with Terracycle, a program with incentives for recycling your nutritional wrappers.
Seven of the volunteers were youth riders from the Bear Development Team based in Marin County. The young riders were able to get in some solid training (over 3k of climbing) during the clean-up effort. “I was stoked to have the young guys come out to help with the course sweep. It think it’s really important for the young riders in our community to learn to give back and not just race their bikes,” said organizer Hauswald after the clean-up ride.
The event organizer, Teresa Burkhauser (Executive Director of the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce) was excited to have GU’s help during the clean-up. “With the help from GU, and their commitment to make litter along our highways virtually disappear, the course was in its best shape today. We could not have done it without them!” She also agrees that cyclists and runners must do a better job cleaning up after themselves. “It is a continued education process for our event attendees, and we along with GU will continue to raise awareness that littering will not be tolerated.”
We Have a Litter Problem
Riders (and runners) are often under the assumption that race organizers will clean-up behind them. But as endurance events get longer and more remote, the logistics of course cleanup become more challenging. When you’re in the zone, pushing your body to the limit, trying to eek every last ounce of energy to get to the top, earn a PR, or beat your nemesis, the LAST thing on your mind is where to put that empty gel packet you just consumed.
But the reality is that most events aren’t equipped to thoroughly comb courses during post-race clean-up. In fact, the litter problem was big enough during last-year’s Death Ride that the event was actually at risk of getting shutdown.
GU your part and #StashYourTrash with Terracycle
While no endurance nutrition brand is immune from contributing to this problem, GU Energy has made a commitment to being part of the solution. We love events that bring people together, and we also love the roads and trails where we ride and run. This is why we’ve partnered with Terracycle and created the Performance Nutrition Brigade to help encourage people to collect and recycle their trash.
What would your riding buddies think of you if you started asking them for their empty gel packets? Well, now you have a reason to find out!
Sign-up for Terracycle and #StashYourTrash.