Donnie Ferneau, executive chef of The 1836 Club, will embark on a 300-mile bike ride in California, all for the sake of the kids.
His ultimate goal – to raise $7,500 for No Kid Hungry, a national nonprofit focused on ending childhood hunger in America. The organization works to connect kids in need with a plethora of resources and also engages the public in the cause.
Chefs Cycle is a fundraising endurance event under the No Kid Hungry umbrella featuring award-winning chefs from across the country. Nearly 200 chefs and restaurant industry professionals will ride from Carmel, California, to Santa Barbara, California on June 27-29.
Ferneau is not new to fitness by any means. In fact, he believes it’s integral to having a balanced, happy lifestyle. He says, “One thing that I find that’s important, and not just as a chef, but in any walk of life – you have to incorporate fitness in with your daily responsibilities.” This mindset extends from the kitchen of The 1836 Club to his time in the gym.
However, as soon as he discovered that the California ride would cover a vast 300 miles, he immediately called his cycle friends in to help. Tony Karklins, a long-time cyclist who has worked with many high-end cycle brands, was immediately on board to help. Michael Chaffin, an avid cyclist, was ready to help, as well.
“After I figured out how far I was going to have to ride, I panicked. [They] put me on a bike and went on rides with me,” says Ferneau. They were integral to his training, as he says, “They kept me motivated and let me know it was going to be ok.”
Over the past eight weeks, Ferneau has been training hard, and even participated in Conway’s Tour de Toad. Spokes has stepped in to sponsor the chef, and has outfitted him with a custom Cervelo S2 road bike. Think aerodynamic, as Ferneau says, “It’s an incredibly fast, lightweight bike.”
What’s more, it’s equipped with a tracking device that shows his progress in real-time, measuring speed and heart rate, among other factors. And, for the race, Verizon has outfitted him with a GoPro Hero 4 to document his experience, so viewers from home can truly follow along.
His first multi-day ride in four years, he couldn’t be more excited to be involved with Chefs Cycle. He says, “Fighting childhood hunger has always been a really big passion of mine, and since I am a chef, it just makes sense.”
In the future, he hopes to continue to work with the organization, and hopes to see Little Rock’s culinary community climb on board as a group to tackle the issue.
“One of my goals is that a bunch of our local chefs can work together and help change the face of Arkansas’ food deficits. One thing that is really attractive about No Kid Hungry, is that we’re raising money for children right down the street,” he says.
To further the campaign’s reach (the goal has been met), and keep up-to-date on Ferneau’s progress, head here.