You might have heard about Everesting. It was rather popular in the early days of the pandemic as competitive types searched for new ways to race and as a result, the record for the men’s and women’s fastest times have become virtually impossible to beat. Well, they have if you’re not blessed with some seriously good genetics.
So on a bit of a whim, and wanting a challenge that we could film, I stupidly signed myself up to tackle what would be roughly 13-hours of going up and down the same stupid hill in Bath. 76 times in total!
I was coming out of winter and thus had done no training for such a ride. As a result, I decided that a laissez-faire approach was the one to take. I picked my climb based mostly on the fact that it was south-facing and should be sunny for most of the day. We worked out how many times I’d need to ascend, then I forgot that number and don’t bother even asking if I considered a pacing strategy.
One this that I did plan was my food. To show willing and to hopefully make it through the 13-hour ride without having the world's biggest bonk, I started with proper energy products in my bottles and pockets. Science in Sport’s Beta Fuel came in for testing and I’ve still got some of it left. With it packing some serious carbs into each serving, I decided that it would be ideal as it’d mean I wouldn’t have to eat and drink too much.
With some extra Beta Fuel gels and power in the car for refills, I turned my attention to the good stuff. Morrisons’ Dolly Mixture, paprika Pringles, a 5-pack of jam doughnuts, Cadbury Bruch bars, and a ham sandwich (heavily buttered on white) was what would be keeping me going through the day.
The day started at about 5am with porridge and a cup of tea. Starting at that time meant starting in the dark and it was going to be cold too. So I layered up with a short sleeve thermal base layer, thermal bib shorts, lightweight leg warmers and a long sleeve Gabba, safe in the knowledge that this would see me through the day.
The first few hours passed by without too much issue and we got a few pieces to camera done before the school run started. With the traffic easing and the sun beginning to warm the early spring day, it was time to get into a rhythm and tick off a few thousand meters.
As the hours passed by, the ascent ticked over 4,000m and I was comfortably past my biggest ever climbing day on a bike. The thought of doing it all over again as my left knee started to complain about the strain made it particularly tempting to end the day.
But after a stretch, and the inhalation of many Pringles, motivation was restored and bloody-mindedness set in. I’d say that I had a heroic urge to finish, but really I just couldn’t be bothered to change what we’d planned so that my failure could be filmed.
As the meters climbed, my body began to fail. The hamstrings weren’t happy, my triceps didn’t like my tendency to climb out of the saddle and the tendons in my right forearm were wishing that they didn’t have to help my hand to shift gears or brake.
10 hours passed, and then 11. My parents turned up as I’d suggested we go for a pub dinner after for a little birthday meal. Oh yea, it was my birthday. Happy birthday to me. 28 years old, and thanks, I know I don’t look a day past 22.
After sending them off with the promise that I’d be done in a couple of hours, it was back to plodding up and down. And at this point, it really was a plod. Thankfully the legs kept on turning and I finished in 13-hours and something. I know, just outside of Ronan McLoughlin’s time.
My conclusion from this huge day? Everesting is very boring, it’s a terrible way to spend your birthday and Morrisons don’t make jam doughnuts as well as Sainsbury’s.