Everesting is the latest challenge to take cycling – and running – by storm. Taking its name from the highest mountain in the world, the premise is simple: find a hill and ascend and descend it as quickly as you can, climbing a total of 8,848 metres (the elevation of Mount Everest).
The first person to undertake Everesting was British mountaineer George Mallory – grandson of the famous explorer and Everest climber of the same name – who ascended Australia’s Mount Donna Buang in 1994, completing eight laps of the 1,069 metre hill.
Such is the gruelling nature of Everesting, it’s mostly professional athletes who take the top spots, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of amateurs attempting their own endeavours. And after months of lockdowns, with exercise often only possible in a small, local area, it’s no surprise the challenge has been accepted in record numbers, with Strava witnessing a 600 per cent increase in Everesting rides in 2020.
Ready to take a shot at it? Here’s everything you need to know…
What is Everesting?
The 'custodians' of it are Hells 500, a cycling club in Melbourne, Australia. Competitors must select a hill anywhere in the world and ascend and descend it enough times to log a total elevation gain of 8,848 metres. Entrants submit their accomplishments via the Hells 500 website and once verified, will be added to the Hall of Fame (that alone will earn you approval from athletes all over the world). Finishers are given access to exclusive, made-to-order Everesting kit (you have to pay for it, mind) and the chance to take the holy grail: the winner’s position. However, just like Fastest Known Times, no one stays at the top for long.
Is it only for cyclists?
It began as a cycling challenge and continues to be most popular with cyclists but there’s also an equally tough running challenge, Everesting Run, which is growing in popularity. Running Everests, which require the same elevation gain, are split into non-shuttled, where the competitor ascends and descends on foot only; and shuttled, where the runner ascends on foot but descends another way, for example by bike.
What is vEveresting?
Virtual Everesting is much like Everesting Ride, except vEveresting must be completed on Zwift or RGT. You must have the gradient set to 100% replication/max, and your rider profile weight has to be accurate on the day of the challenge.
What is the Everesting 10K Club?
This is a separate, even tougher bike challenge, with two routes to success: the straightforward 10K, which involves one single unbroken ride of more than 10,000 metres vertical, with no time restriction, no distance requirement and no sleep allowed. And the Everesting Roam, where riders must complete more than 10,000 metres vertical in less than 36 hours, with a minimum of 400km. Sleep is allowed (although it’s on the clock).
What are the rules?
Running and bike activity must be logged on Strava, unless you take part in virtual Everesting, which must be logged on Zwift or RGT. Runners and riders must reach 8,848 metres of gain in one single climb of any distance on the same road (or in the case of runners, any track, mountain, staircase, bridge etc). Entrants are allowed to stop but this will be factored into results so the less you rest, the more chance you have of winning. If riders decide to push on past 8,848 metres and reach 10,000 metres, they will automatically qualify for the 10K ride. Electric and recumbent bikes are not allowed, except in special circumstances. For shuttled running Everests, competitors must run the ascent but they can be transported down (via car or shuttle, for example). On transported descents, runners are allowed to pause their tracking device.
Who could I be up against?
2020 Everesting Ride record holders included Lachlan Morton in 7 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds, seven-time Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador in a time of 7 hours, 27 minutes and 20 seconds, and Irish cyclist Ronan McLaughlin in 7 hours, four minutes and 41 seconds. Everesting Run records for the same year include Northern Irish runner Ian Bailey's effort of 11 hours and 17 minutes, and Canadian adventure racer Ryan Atkins' 11 hours and 30 minutes. However, if you’re harbouring fantasies of knocking a pro off the leaderboard, the Everesting website might take the shine off your ambitions: 'the overall Everesting record time is only really possible now by highly trained and experienced pro cyclists, however other permutations of records, like country, age-based, terrain type etc are still in the realm of amateur riders'. In other words, you probably won’t place anywhere near the top but you could beat your mates.
Is it dangerous?
If you don’t train properly, take precautions and heed the extensive safety advice on the Everesting website then yes, it could be risky – especially when you are sleep deprived and in isolated locations. In response to this, Hells 500 has implemented safety features, including a two-hour sleep allocation for multiple Everests. They continue to verify and acknowledge the overall male and female fastest time for cycling, running, and virtual rides, but no longer highlight other records. Be sensible, do your training and remember, 'It only counts if you get back down from the mountain'.
For more information visit everesting.cc
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