Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Milestones On The Road to Ending Childhood Hunger (per an amazing rookie Chefs Cycle Rider)

I thought you might be inspired as I was by the insights of our Colorado colleague Jenny Baragary who rode Chefs Cycle for the first time in Santa Rosa last month. In her note below Jenny really nailed what is special about both the ride and our staff, and how it connects to our No Kid Hungry campaign and the broader mission of Share Our Strength.  I’m so grateful to Jenny for riding and for sharing her experience.


From: Baragary, Jennifer
Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2018 10:33 AM
To: Shore, Billy <bshore@strength.org>; Nelson, Tom <tnelson@strength.org>
Subject: Chefs Cycle Thoughts!

Hi Billy and Tom,

It’s taken me over month to process what I experienced at Chefs Cycle. When people ask me about it, I light up, a huge smile comes across my face, and I say, “It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done…but I had an awesome time!” And it’s true, the ride was really hard. There were several moments when I didn’t think I would finish and even more moments when I question why I can’t be content just running a 5K.

Now that I’ve had time to recover, I wanted to share some thoughts on what made the ride so amazing for me:

·       It’s an Equalizer: Upon arriving, it was immediately clear that I was a rookie. Chefs had bikes worth more than my car and more muscle in a single calf than I have in my entire body. Needless to say, I was nervous heading into Day 1. What if I was last to finish? What if I didn’t finish at all? At breakfast before Day 1, my roommate and I sat with members of the Hot Wheels team. They graciously answered our newbie questions and prepared us for the day ahead. I ate breakfast with this group every day (that was the only time I could keep pace with them). Each morning, we discussed the highs and lows of the previous day and what to expect on the ride ahead. There was something really inspiring knowing that even though they were significantly more seasoned, we were all experiencing the same ride.

·       It’s about Milestones: Someone told me once that running a marathon is the easiest and hardest thing you’ll ever do – all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other, but you have to do it for 26.2 miles. All you have to do in Chefs Cycle is peddle. By the third day that was a tall order. My goal for Day 3 was to just get to the next rest stop. By the second rest stop, I started to believe I just might finish. That’s when the real connection to our work became clear to me. Ending childhood hunger won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take achieving a series of milestones. Sometimes those milestones come quick and easy like the Day 1 rest stops…sometimes just getting to the next rest stop is going to take longer than anticipated and require significantly more willpower than expected, much like the last 25 miles of Day 2 (Note: Day 2 was a killer for me).

·       Our Staff is Exceptional, Amazing & Unbelievable: I’ve always known the folks that work for Share Our Strength are special. Across the board, it’s an organization full of people who are kind, thoughtful and generous. However, the Chefs Cycle team and staff volunteers took this to another level. As I pulled into every rest stop, there was at least one fellow staff member asking how I was feeling, what I needed and how they could help. And when I pulled out to head to the next rest stop, there was someone there saying they couldn’t wait to see me back at the hotel. I know they did this for everyone. However, I know I received a little extra love. It was so incredibly motivating and heartwarming.

On a personal level, it proved to me that I’m much stronger than I ever knew!  I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to participate.


  1. Thanks for the share! I will be a rookie in Charlottesville this year and appreciate thre info!

    1. You'll do great! It's so much fun and extremely inspiring.