It is perhaps ironic that the word ‘rest’ is contained within the term Everest. This is certainly not a word many would associate with the worlds highest mountain. In fact, when looking at the etymology of the name Everest, one would find that it is of Norman origin and made the transition to England after the famous year of 1066. And it is in England that, later this year, we will look to conquer our everest. Not in the usual form of mountaineering but simply using our bikes.
The concept of everesting has been around since the mid 90’s when George Mallory used the idea of climbing the equivalent height of Everest on a bike as training for his real life Everest ascent. He was the first and the last for many years until the introduction of Strava meant that cyclists could officially record attempts and enter the hall of fame run by Hells500. At the time of writing, just 1,643 riders have successfully ‘everested’ and it is our intention to join that elite group.
In simple terms, everesting on a bike involves riding repeatedly up and down a chosen hill until the rider has racked up the equivalent number of vertical metres as the altitude of Mt Everest, that’s 8,848m to be exact. Now, there are many rules that need to be taken into account when it comes to an attempt and these are outlined here http://www.everesting.cc/the-rules/. The key rules are that an everest attempt must be completed in one go (i.e. no sleeping), the rider must ride up and down the full climb each time and any gain in elevation from kinetic energy should not be counted. This last one is especially key when it comes to hill selection and that is one of the most important considerations, so important that we’ve dedicated a whole separate post to talking about it.
It probably won’t come as a surprise that the most common reaction I get when telling people about this is the question “Why?”. This is usually accompanied by a confused looking frown.
The quote that always comes to mind is one from Valley Uprising, a film about the history of rock climbing (great film by the way, highly recommend).
“The beautiful thing about climbing for me is that you can’t justify it. It doesn’t pretend to be anything useful.”
I think you have to get over how cheesy this quote is (especially when said in an american accent). But what it’s saying is just as true for everesting as it is for climbing. There is nothing useful about what we’re doing, but that’s not why we’re doing it. We’re doing it because we want to test ourselves, physically and mentally and we want to prove to ourselves that we can do it.
We have chosen to attempt to everest in the familiar surroundings of the Surrey hills. Naturally, living in London means that we frequently ride down to Surrey and therefore know it pretty well. We won’t have a support team of any description during the ride so it was important to us that we chose somewhere familiar and close to home. We plan to drive down and back too which certainly wouldn’t be a possibility if we lived more than an hour or so away from the hill.
Our everest ride will take place on Saturday 26th August during the bank holiday. We’re hoping that this gives us a fairly good chance of decent weather but also an extra day of recovery before heading back to work on the Tuesday.
So I guess that gives a little more of a background to the whole everesting thing. There’re a lot of things to consider when it comes to planning something like this as we keep on discovering so keep an eye out for future posts with the tips that we’ll be learning along the way.