Monarch 800
The Monarch School is a unique partnership between the San Diego County Office of Education and the nonprofit Monarch School Project, a 501(c)(3) organization.

8 Days, 800 Miles for Homeless Kids

"Fueled by a passion for biking and a heart for children impacted by homelessness, two local cyclists will ride “800 Miles in 8 Days” November 16-24 hoping to raise $20,000 for Monarch School."

Their route starts at Monarch, traverses three states, rises up and over several mountains, across the desert and ends up back at the school. (route details)

Richard La China, a certified cycle coach, and girlfriend Heidi Amundson, a physical therapy aide, will ride 10-12 hours each day on 30-pound touring bikes, each carrying 30 pounds of gear. They’ll cover 90-130 miles each day, climbing more than 50,000 feet and riding over several mountain peaks. They expect to encounter rain, snow in the mountains, and cold nights along with the shortened daylight hours of mid-November.

Why undergo such a grueling challenge? Much of their inspiration comes from witnessing another athletic challenge by local businessman, athlete and philanthropist Blair Cannon, who swam 28 miles from Catalina to the mainland to raise money for Monarch School last summer. Heidi met Blair while he was training for his swim at Evolve Physical Therapy where she works. She was fascinated and motivated by this amazing feat to benefit San Diego’s homeless students.

“When we began brainstorming ideas for a bicycle tour this year and decided to use it to support a cause, Blair immediately came to mind,” says Richard. After a phone call with Blair to discuss the idea, he made some introductions and put everything in motion.

“Doing these long supported tours reminds me of the obstacles I’ve overcome and how challenging life really can be. Riding for Monarch School is my way of giving back to all the people who helped me along the way. Knowing we’re riding for Monarch will keep me focused, motivated, and on task to complete the 800-mile, 8-day ride." [read more...]


The Monarch 800 Short Film is Released!

Monarch 800: Helping San Diego's Homeless Youth from Suspended-Productions on Vimeo.

December 3, 2012
The Monarch 800 Movie Screening is Set for December 13, 2012 at 6:30pm.  Make sure you RSVP today, seating is limited for this one time viewing.  Join us for a fun and relaxed dinner, we will celebrate the work that has already been done, watch a short movie screening, raffle off lots of amazing prizes and enjoy some good company.

**Proceeds go to benefit the Monarch School in San Diego.

Raffle prizes include:

Specialized Bicycle from Zumwalt's Bicycle Center

Private Flight to Catalina Airport for 2 including Lunch

Physical Therapy and Wellness services from Evolve

*1 hr Wellness Evaluation (Including Postural Eval)
*1 hr Yoga Therapy Session
*1/2 hr Massage

Additional prizes from :: PowerBar, O-Tus Safe Sounds, KEEN, SPY, Glimmer Gear, Canari Cycleware, Zumwalt's Bicycle Center, Crank Cycling.. + more. **

November 28, 2012

Registration is OPEN for our Post-Ride Party & Movie Screening on December 13th at 6:30pm. 

Even though they rode 800 miles in 8 days, Richard and Heidi's adventure is not over yet. Please join us as we help them complete their mission of raising fund and awareness for the Monarch School--they are very close to reaching their goal.

At this fun and relaxed charity dinner, we will celebrate the work that has already been done, watch a movie screening, raffle off lots of amazing prizes, and enjoy some good company.

Space is limited and this event will fill up quickly! Be sure to register ASAP!
If you donated $100 or more, you will receive separate registration instructions as your spot is already reserved.

November 25, 2012
Heidi Amundson and I are up early. Kinda strange not gettin' on our bikes and wearing clothes that aren't spandex.

We are so grateful to be home safely, there are no words to describe our appreciation for all the support we received over the last 9 days.

Thank you to all the people who found us on the I-8 grade to cheer us on yesterday including Kyle John Wills and wife Rachel, Laura Burns Brown and Shano, Robb Hijar, Stacey Walczak Hijar (Trevor and Peyton), Elaine Hutchinson, plus more and Sean M Burke for riding the last 37 miles with us.

Sean M Burke, thanks for keeping us safe as our bodies and minds neared their limits - and to you and Elaine for taking us to Lefty's Pizza last night. Brilliant idea.

Connie Hatfield with Pink Shorts Photography, thank you for waiting it out at Monarch School last night. You really made it full circle for us being there at our send off and our home coming.

We'll be spending the rest of the day eating and recovering... and eating more.

Our route turned out to be 864 miles with 35,628' of climbing.

Thanks again for supporting Monarch School, the whole reason we did this ride.

November 24, 2012
We made it back!!!!!!! We're at the Monarch School! Somewhere near 900 miles total, 122 miles today alone including 7,051' of climbing... Food please!  Woohoo!

November 16, 2012

We're on the road today! Thank you everyone for the tremendous amount of support!  If you haven't donated yet -- please do!  All kids, regardless of their living situation, deserve an education!  Monarch School is working hard to make this possible for ALL kids!
November 15, 2012
Set your DVR to COX Channel 114 at 6:45am Friday morning!  Scott, BR and Amber will be covering our send off live on their morning TV show!

November 14, 2012

You'll be able to track our ride live here.. WATCH US LIVE! The Spot Tracker will post updates via satellite every 10 minutes, and we'll be posting quick updates on Twitter @richardlachina and Facebook as well.. Thank you so much to everyone that has supported our ride and the Monarch School so far.. and it's not too late to DONATE!

November 7, 2012
Evolve Physical Therapy + Advanced Wellness has offered up their entire facility for our post-ride party / short movie screening on December 13th.  We are very grateful to have Evolve's support to raise money & awareness for Monarch School!  Donations of $100 or more will reserve your invitation to this post-ride celebration! Additionally, they have provided us with several services for raffle prizes! 

November 6, 2012
Looks like we'll be able to easily capture segments of our ride with HEDCAM HD Waterproof Camcorders! We tried 'em out at the fun ride this weekend and were blown away with the 720p HD! Thank you so much HEDCAMZ!

November 5, 2012
Special thank you to Spoke Grande for your generous gift to the Fun Ride raffle and for providing 1000 lumens of light for our touring rigs! The SG-1000 Bicycle Headlights are EXACTLY what we needed. You guys ROCK!

November 4, 2012
The Monarch 800 Fun Charity ride at the TREK Bicycle Superstore was a huge success, raising $1,350 for the Monarch School.  Huge THANK YOU to everyone that came out to ride.  We hope you can all make it off to the Official Monarch 800 send-off on Friday, November 16th at 7am!

November 3, 2012
Heidi and Richard are going to be on Union Tribune TV Monday Morning to talk about the Monarch School and the Monarch 800! Photos and video from our Fun Charity Ride tomorrow (Nov. 4) will be used for the segment.. Good stuff!  Cox channel 114 at 6:30!

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