What is Everesting? How do you do this on a bike? And, what does it take to make it happen? We pose these questions to over very own, Michael aka ‘Maverick’:
1.What is Everesting?
Everesting is the act of cycling up and down a single climb until you have gained the equivalent height of Mount Everest (8848.6m). A club in Australia called Hells 500 formalised the idea and they are responsible for certifying Everesting attempts
2. Why does this challenge appeal to you?
like to have a event or a challenge on the horizon to give me something
to look forward to and train for. I first read about Everesting in 2015,
and I had always managed to find a reason to delay an attempt
but a holiday to France in August of last year was the catalyst to
3. Where did you decide to do it and what make it a good place to Everest?
I chose a hill in the south of France. Fortunately my aunty and uncle have retired to a quiet village that is right next to the bottom of Mont Bouquet (4.6k, 437m at 9.5%). I had originally visited them in 2013 and remembered that the climb could be suitable as it wasn’t too steep and was the right length. Back then the road surface was terrible but it was a nice quiet road so I knew traffic would not be an issue. For me I wanted a climb where I wouldn’t have to cover a huge distance so the gradient had to be over 7% and I wanted each repetition to take no longer than an hour so that I could refuel frequently at the base of each climb. It was also a bonus that no one had Everested the climb before.
4. Did you have a plan and how does one go about preparing for it?
I really had no idea how long it would take so I decided to start at 2am in order to get a fair bit of the work done before the sun came up and the temperature became an issue. I also arranged for my wife Clare to resupply bidons and food every 2 hours throughout the day. She was actually working remotely but still managed to fit resupply runs in between work calls.
I didn’t really do any preparation other than trying to ride a bit more than I usually would (180-200k a week) I spent most of lockdown in Somerset so tried to ride up every hill in the local area which definitely helped. I also made my bike as light as possible so only one bottle cage and no spares
5. Did you do a recce, or have to do more than one attempt?
Having ridden the climb previously, I decided to drive up the day we arrived in France to refresh my memory and quickly realised that despite the average gradient being 9.5% the middle two kilometres were much steeper. I only had a one day leave pass so had to make my one attempt count!
6. How did it go? What were the challenging parts and what kept you motivated.
Overall it went well, and what I found really helpful were the kilometre markers which enabled me to break each climb into manageable segments and focus all my effort and energy on the steepest parts of the climb.
One of the most challenging parts was the heat. August in the south of France was never going to present ideal conditions but for most of the day the temperature was around 35 degrees and I end up going through 16 bidons. I also managed to puncture on the third to last lap, luckily near the bottom so I could limp the bike to base camp and change the tube
7. What, if any, part of the ride did you enjoy?
The sunrise after six hours of riding in the dark and alone was a welcome sight. I also think I am incredibly lucky to be able to ride my bike for 14 hours straight in the south of France!
8. How long did it take and what would you differently?
It took me 14 hours which I was fairly happy with. The only thing I would have done differently is to choose a cooler time of year . Next time I do it, it would be great to do it with a few others of similar ability and on a iconic climb. I love Mont Ventoux and if I could make the logistics work it is definitely something I would like to do again
9. What advice can you give to people wanting to give it a go?
My advice would be to go for it. Don’t worry too much about everything that is written online, just slowly increase your mileage, incorporate a lot of ascent into your weekly long rides and then thoroughly plan the logistics. The everesting.cc website also provides a lot of useful information and sets out the rules they use to verify attempts.
10. What’s next on your bucket list?
I am currently planning a 6 day LEJOG attempt in July of this year to raise money for a couple of charities