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The Grind: Let’s race today, and buy drinks for healthcare workers

Nurses, doctors, EMTs, and firefighters are truly grinding it out right now. Let's say thanks.

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The Grind is a weekly column on gravel racing, gear, and culture.

Here’s a suggestion: Let’s race on Zwift today, and ‘pay’ for it by Venmo’ing a token of thanks to healthcare workers.

I’ve felt a lot of things in the last couple of weeks as the coronavirus has raced around the world: scared, sad, frustrated, and helpless, among them. I have asked folks in healthcare what we can do to help.

“Stay the hell home,” said my friend Anthony Carcella, who is an ER PA and husband of VeloNews art director Heidi Carcella. “And save some toilet paper for the rest of us.”

Okay, check.

But what else? I don’t know how to fix a healthcare system. But I do know how to ride a bike, and how to buy somebody a drink. And right now, it seems, this is a fine time to say thanks to anybody working in healthcare or who is otherwise on the front lines with sick people. Nurses, doctors, EMTs, firefighters… these people are out there working their asses off in dangerous conditions.

So here’s my proposal: If you’re on Zwift, which I recommend now more than ever, meet me for the ZHR Hare & Hounds Race at noon MDT / 2 p.m. EDT / 6 p.m. GMT on Thursday, March 26. And before you sign up for that, Venmo a healthcare worker some money to buy themselves a drink or two.

The Hare & Hounds handicapped format is cool because four groups start at staggered times and chase each other while working together. It feels like a gravel race that way. The event is put on by the British ZHR club, who I checked-in with yesterday. They’re down with the program. Zwift is currently slammed with requests, so the event name probably won’t say VeloNews or Healthcare Drinks or anything, but just jump in, and we can chat inside the game.

Don’t know a healthcare worker’s Venmo? Now is a good time to find out. Also, here are a few of our friends and family from VeloNews.

Pick a name, and send ’em $10, or whatever you feel is appropriate.

  • California – Janet Uhde, ER MD – @Janet-Uhde
  • California – Samira Lopez, RN – @samira-lopez
  • California – Sarah Swan, RN – @Sara-Swan-5
  • Arkansas – Nicole Delaney, Urgent Care PA – @NicoleBDelaney
  • New Mexico – Ty Camp, Firefighter and EMT – @TyDCamp
  • New Mexico – Tim Erwin, Radiologist – @Tim-Erwin-5
  • Rhode Island – Breanna Lepore, RN – @Breanna-Rae
  • Pennsylvania – Judy McCollum, RN – @Judy-McCollum-2
  • Massachusetts – Jamie Santos, ER PA – @Jamie-santos913
  • Colorado – Charlie Suthard, EMT – @Charlie-Suthard
  • Colorado – Josh Messer, MD – @Josh-Messer-5
  • Colorado – Sean McMillan, Radiologist – @Sean-McMillan-8
  • Colorado – Will Jensen, Palliative Care Chaplain – @williamhjensen
  • Colorado – Candace Hullermann, RN, CNL – @CandaceHullermann
  • Colorado – Christi Goettsche, ICU RN – @Christi-Goettsche
  • Colorado – Russell Harding, Paramedic – @Angela-Harding-16
  • Colorado – Kerri Madden, PA – @Kerrialicia
  • Colorado – Stephanie Boisvert, PA – @Stephanie-Boisvert-1
  • Colorado – Tim Arnold, Licensed Social Worker – @cheetahsound
  • Colorado – Candace Daugherty, ER PA- @Candace-Daugherty-1
  • Colorado – Jessica Gadberry, PA – @Jessica-Gadberry

Is it weird to send money to someone you don’t know? Well, these people work every day helping people they don’t know, so I think it will work just fine. (Also, yes, I realize bars and restaurants are closed, so this will be an at-home thing.)

Not on Venmo? You can fix that in about two minutes.

If this format works, maybe we can expand it into a longer event on a coming weekend.

Thanks for your consideration.

Healthcare workers respond

A number of healthcare workers have reached out to suggest money should be directed towards food banks or other charities. Which is great – and the kind of selfless response you get from these people. (Also, selfless people: My intent here was just to say thanks, not to start a fundraiser. Still: cool.)

A few suggested sending food, but many others said shareable food isn’t acceptable in hospitals right now.

And still others, like my friend Anthony who — was stubborn about giving up his Venmo ID (@Anthony-Carcella) — said they don’t need money, but if people send it, they will only use it to buy on-shift food for their coworkers in nursing and cleaning.