Dennis Desmarais is taking on a new challenge for 2020 and despite the challenges that the pandemic has presented to his training, he is going big. His goal is to raise $10,000 on his tenth Climate Ride.
2020 has brought challenges. In addition to COVID-19, Dennis’s wife Lisa also had a battle with cancer. Fortunately, it was a fight she won and he’s ready to take on another epic ride to raise funds for Sierra Club Connecticut – his beneficiary for the Climate Ride grant program. In addition to leading people on local outings into the wilderness, the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club has been working to rally support for statewide green energy legislation and protecting the state’s fishing economy from offshore drilling.
He has had to adjust his plans in light of the “new normal” of living in a pandemic. Rather than the cross country romp he had been planning, he will bike over 1,000 miles back and forth between his home and Cape Cod over 5 days. He’s also matching any donation of $100 or less because he knows many folks are having a hard time financially right now.
Dennis started riding in group rides with Climate Ride in 2011, with our NYC-DC trip. He has great memories from all six rides he’s done since then, but in 2018 he decided to switch things up by creating his own Independent Challenge. He rode 1,000 miles over five days, averaging 200 miles a day from Detroit to Cape Cod. He faced unexpected road construction and long days in the saddle, but it was worth it when he raised $8,415! He was so busy biking he barely stopped to snap a photo, but here’s one of his brief rest at the Erie Canal! He likes to say he has one superpower – staying on a bike no matter how much it hurts.
Last year, he rode 2,000 km in 8 days and brought in $10,000, bringing his overall impact to over $31,000! With everything that’s going on and everything he has already done, you might think that Dennis would decide to skip his annual challenge this year. But, instead, he points out that doing Climate Ride and “supporting the Sierra Club has never been more important. Global temperatures continue to rise; 2019 was the 2nd warmest year on record—wrapping up the hottest decade ever recorded. Wildfire seasons have grown longer and more devastating – this year’s Australian wildfires burned an area over six times the size of Connecticut. And there are many other “new normal” climate dangers like more frequent hurricanes and longer droughts. But just as our “new normal” during the COVID crisis would have been exponentially worse had it not been for our actions to socially distance, the Climate “new normal” can be kept in check with support of organizations like the Sierra Club.”
So he is stepping up! If you’d like to help Dennis break that $10K ceiling as he works to also break his body with this epic challenge, you can swing by his fundraising page here.