So Yeah! I kinda ninja Everested! That is I did it mostly while no one was looking! The plan was to go for it and if it worked it worked and if it didn’t I would see how far I could get! Somewhere around the half-way point I let the cat out the bag and then gritted my teeth to the end.
It was on my mind and then on the cards after DNFing the HRS back in July. I had found a hill nearby which looked pretty good but there was a gate and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be locked at night and I couldn’t take the risk. So at the last minute I changed it to another hill.
This was much different from the ride last November. My Hill choice addressed some of the challenges I faced last time. This ride was;
- Much closer to home so it would be easier for Becca to support me.
- In a more residential area so there were some street lights.
- Was a much shorter segment. This segment was a fraction under 2 miles up with the elevation gain of 500’.
So the math was 54 ascent/descents for the Everesting and if the door opened it would be another 8 more to roll up to the High Rouleurs 10,000 meters “Limit” ride.
The ride spanned the Sunday and Monday of Labor Day holiday. I started just before 7am on the Sunday. My Base camp was the minivan which was stocked with all the usual goodies. My plan was to ride with one bottle and 2 bars and go back to the van when I was empty, roughly every 90 minutes, to replen. This would be around every 5 round trips roughly 20 miles.
The weather was cool and cloudy and was pretty much as perfect as I could expect for the time of year, it warmed up to around 90f during the day but it was by no means blistering hot. At the other end of the spectrum the night got really cold I ended up having to shelter in the van with the engine on and the heater running a couple of times during the night just to warm up. This was despite having wrapped myself up in essentially what passes for winter clothing in Southern California. In the end I wore everything I had. Five layers on top and two on the bottom along with long fingered gloves and warmers etc.
Becca played her usual guardian angel, although I would argue that she is just an Angel with the amount of crazy shit she puts up with! She brought me three square meals during the day, mostly Del Taco French fries or burritos and coffee during the day and then breakfast the following morning.
She even brought her new steel gravel bike and rode with me for a little while and also stopped to grab some photos but fundamentally I was by myself for this one.
Now the thing with Everesting is that you just ride. It’s you, the bike and the road. Life moves on all around you but you are just riding up and down. In the middle of the segment was a parking lot for a trail head. I spent a fair amount of time watching hikers, bikers and runners come and go. I was riding past when they arrived and I was riding past when they left. I am pretty sure I was riding past when they came back the next day!
In the end the riding part took about the right time over 20 hours. What took much longer than expected and much longer than it should have was my stopping time. Even allowing for the warming up I ended up being stationary for 9 hours! I’ll be honest and say I have absolutely no idea how that accumulated so quickly and so much. My plan of stopping every 5 laps was reduced to every two during the night but even so it was a staggering amount of time to be still! It adds up to about being stationary for 30 minutes in every hour, this is an average, of course, but it’s a stark ratio.
With it being a couple of weeks post the event this still somewhat sours the achievement. As expected I slowed down during the night and my laps doubled in time when compared to my first lap of the day. Some of this is due to increased caution while riding in the dark and some of it is due to being tired and not wanting to do anything stupid! At the time they all felt pretty speedy! With all that said, it’s still a hell of a (daft) thing to do!
A blank slate to a full bucket!
So that’s a pretty short write up on a pretty long event but I’ll spare you the lap by lap recount which, to be honest, is mostly forgotten!
You can read my recap from my first Everesting here and the DNF from the HRS here. Both of which have much more comprehensive lessons learned and some hints and tips for those of you considering this.
I wouldn’t say the HRS monkey is off my back but it’s back in the cage for now! I am sure in time it will get pissed and start throw shit at me to express its general displeasure!
In the meantime I am off to ride some cyclocross!