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Everesting Swains

You cycled up and down a hill for 19 hours?


The 6 weeks preceding the Everesting challenge was the most rigorous training block I’d been through. A combination of 12.5 hours / week average saddle time along with 10 hours / week gardening (digging, carrying rubble bags, manual tampering etc) to build the core, pushed my body to its limit. As I’m writing this blog 10 days after the challenge on a coach to Dubrovnik I have been plagued by an underlying sense of fatigue that I’ve struggled to shake off. The past 6 weeks have been tough and my body is letting me know.


To maintain some perspective - Everesting isn’t the toughest ultraendurance challenge around. Some have completed the challenge in 7 -10 hours, others have completed a double Everest, then there are the challenges we only dream of - Marathon de Sables, Transcontinental, 100 mile run. However, for me this was a monumental feat, one that stretched me and left me quietly proud.


Although I had the fitness to complete the challenge in previous attempts, I'd failed at the first hurdle - after the first hill rep session when I understood how ridiculous this ordeal was. To complete an Everesting you really have to want it deeply and in previous attempts I only “kind of” wanted it but this time there was a deep sense of purpose and a desire to finish something that had been a distant dream for some time. I spent a big proponent of the 6 weeks developing the mindset and as the event approached, not finishing just wasn’t an option. Like the folks at Hells 100 say, you need to visit a dark place and be comfortable there.


I am proud I completed a challenge that was once a distant vision and will now spend some time reevaluating and setting a new challenge. Below I have compiled a detailed overview of how I completed the challenge. I sincerely hope people from our community undertake similar feats so that we can surpass them and develop a community of fierce athletes, ultimately paving the way for future generations from ethnic minority backgrounds to be recognised regionally, nationally and globally.


Feel free to ping me if you want a chat, I’m not in most of the BoB chat groups but just ask around for my details.

For those who’ve never heard of the Everesting challenge, check it out: https://everesting.cc


Challenges I faced

  • People dropping out don't let this demoralise you instead expect it. Its a huge commitment and friends shouldn’t feel obliged to do it. I would suggest not asking for a reason for dropping out, to help relieve the pressure.

  • Fitting in 12-16 hours of saddle time/week + core work alongside other commitments. Getting your closest people (wife/family) on board with the challenge so they support you when you don’t have the time/energy on some evenings.

  • Recognise early when your doing too much training / becoming mentally tired with the challenge, take a break. Being 80% fit is better than being mentally/physically overtrained.

  • Plan your recovery and post event focus. Having focused on one objective for a few weeks, you’ll need to find an outlet. I didn’t and was fatigued for over 10 days.

  • Wear a white thin jersey to avoid overheating - Image below (taken at 8am) shows my heart rate at 172 bpm(threshold) at a lap watt of 183 watts (endurance). Heart rate came down after taking my black BoB jersey off and putting on the white RoS jersey. I also made the call to take off my helmet and gloves as the challenge was in jeopardy with the heat.




Suggestions from my experience


  • My gear ratio (18% at the steepest) on the day was 34 front / 36 rear. I trained on 36 front / 26 rear to build strength.

  • I planned to start at 4am but ended up starting at 3am (eyes woke up filled with adrenaline at 1.30am). I forecasted an 18 hour ride time with 2 hours stop. Actual finish time was 10.30pm

  • I planned long stops every 5000 ft but quickly revised my strategy during the ride with 5-10 min stops every hour. I found it easier mentally to complete shorter chunks.

  • Bike weighed 7.85kg without bottles. I didn’t focus too much on bringing this down but instead emphasised on bringing body weight down.

  • Carbed up the day before using the following link. do not overeat / eat too much fibre, your body will just store more water and you’ll be bloated. Also avoid oily/processed food for the same reason.

  • Many of the principles from this video helped with the mindset.

  • If it’s going to rain buy Velotoze as they’re light and do not warm the feet too much

Weight loss

  • I met my target of 3.5kg weight loss over 7 weeks, I’d read anything over 0.5kg / week would constitute muscle atrophy.

  • Starting 76.6kg (14/6/21) - big spike in the middle is carbing up for the KBW 200 miler.



  • Ending 73.1kg (30/07/21)



Food

  • Porridge (breakfast)

  • 5x beta-fuel

  • 4 sweet potato with 2 boiled eggs (really good when you don't want chew anymore)

  • 2 pizza slices

  • 3 cliff bars

  • 1 gel

  • 6 bananas

  • 1 wispa bar

  • 8L water I would recommend more as I was severely dehydrated with stomach cramps and excruciating pain when visiting the loo at the end of the day. I didn’t factor in how the body heats and sweats more when climbing.

Training block


  • Start your 6-8 week training block with an already high level of fitness and volume in the legs. You can’t expect to build unconditioned legs to highly conditioned over 6 weeks - your body will either shut down or you’ll get injured. I built my fitness off the back of a 200 mile ride, therefore I already had a high level of conditioning.

  • Prioritise hill reps over long hilly rides to develop the correct mindset.

  • Below was my plan which I tried to stick to. I missed a number of session but I reckon you’ll be good with the below.


Below are some snaps from the event: