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
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)
4 sweet potato with 2 boiled eggs (really good when you don't want chew anymore)
2 pizza slices
3 cliff bars
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.
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:
PS. I must add this challenge would not have been possible without the friends who came to support. I didnt advertise the ride to relieve pressure, so I wasn’t expecting many brothers to turn up. To see brothers travel long distances taking professional photos, clapping away, doing a few reps and sticking around for 12 hours was humbling and makes me happy to be part of this community. I won’t forget the people who supported and I will do the same when their Everest comes around ;)