Nick Kupiak Photo

Snow-capped summits. Blazing sun and thin air. Deadly translucent seracs, and opaque crevasses. The very top of the world. 
While summiting Everest has become more accessible over the last 25 years, the deep mystique of the place remains. Despite a proliferation of well-worn routes, and climbing detritus left over from the dozens of summiting attempts each spring, any crack at climbing the world's tallest peak demands a massive amount of respect. This peak, perched above all others, demands reverence. An ascent to the final crest of the 8,848 meter mountain takes months of careful preparation. 

The concept of elevation gain is of course central to any epic bike ride. Ride uphill, work hard for the summit, and search for transcendence in the descent. While extreme terrain on the approach to Everest pre-empts riding, the math remains. Cycle up enough, and you could achieve a similar level of magnitude. 

Nick Kupiak Photo
Everesting, a riding challenge championed  by Australia's Hell's 500 is an attempt to ride the equivalent height of Mount Everest. Some minor stipulations apply, but the key kooky concepts are to tackle the undertaking in one shot, under your own power, by repeating a large local climb until the accumulated elevation gain ticks over 8,848 meters.

Two of our guys, Fabian Merino, and Clay Webb took on this challenge a few weekends ago. We've put a Q & A together with the guys to better understand their undertaking.

Beau Partlow and Nick Kupiak were on hand to snap some photographs and provide moral support.

Beau Partlow Photo

Q - 68 laps, hunh? Did you consider doing one extra to make it an extra sexy climbing fest?
Clay: Considered... Once midnight hit we said fuck it. 
Fabian: I really wanted to do that one more climb just to say I did 69 repeats, the mood between Clay and was a little different and got pretty quiet by midnight.

Q - Well that was a silly idea. How did you come across the concept of Everesting?
Fabian: I came across a ride that Adam DeVos posted a year ago, some dude did it in Vancouver and I thought it was cool, right up my alley of making myself feel like shit.

Q - Has anyone taken on a challenge like this locally before, or are you the Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmond Hillary of silly Strava challenges in Victoria?
ClayNot that we know of. Definitely the first at least in the age of the interwebs 

Q - What kind of prep did you undertake before the climbing day? Any special training, rest or pre-emptive dietary considerations?
ClayJust rode to Tofino a few days before to really "warm up" for it.
Fabian: I didn't really do anything beforehand other than get a bigger gearing for my road bike for some stupid reason, I didn't ride the 2 days before that either.

Q - During the following days, which body part was the most sore?
Fabian: My head was in a complete different planet for the next 2 days. I was walking around like a zombie and I felt super out of it, my legs were fine other than my knees had a little bit of pain for a few hours the day after.
Clay: One of my fingers stayed numb for a couple of days but other than that sleep deprivation was the longest lasting side effect.

Beau Partlow Photo

Beau Partlow Photo

Q - What gearing did you run on your bikes?
Fabian53/39 - 11-27. Don't ask me why.
Clay: Standard up front. 30t in the back 

Q - Any other special equipment choices?
ClayCharger for garmin to prevent battery failure near the end.
Fabian: -I rode with fingerless gloves all day and my hands got sore anyways.

Q - How long was each lap taking you? Did you make time to stop and soak up the sunset, smell the flowers and take a pee?
ClayAbout 15 gate to gate. Time to fill water and for quick food fuel ups.

Q - Did the Observatory staff give you any guff (Or positive encouragement?) for spending all day on their road?
Fabian-I only saw a few cars driving up and down that day, nobody said a word to us.

Q - What was the best mid-ride snack?
ClayPretty much everything people dropped off... Pizza, banana bread, watermelon to name a few.
FabianWhen Pete Hunsinger brought us a pizza and cokes from Domino's, I could see the steam coming out of the box from 100m away coming down the descent. That was seriously the best shit ever.

Q - How many cans of coke were consumed?
FabianI lost count, I probably had a full sixer of regular cans, maybe more.

Nick Kupiak Photo

Nick Kupiak Photo

Q - How many visitors came out to the hill to cheer you on, heckle or shake their heads in perplexity?
ClayLots, definitely made the feat more doable and was a highlight! 

Q - When things got dark, things got dark. I was sitting at the lap point from just before sunset through the end of your undertaking, and it seems like morale dipped as soon as you had to ride in the dark. What was going through your mind?
FabianI wasn't planning on riding at night. As soon as it got dark I lost my shit, that's when I realized that it was mentally challenging.
Clay: Was just happy I brought lights.

Q - As you were climbing, was there any particular occurrence that proved frustrating or invigorating? A creaky BB, ticking wheel magnet, or particularly encouraging tailwind?
Fabian-I couldn't get out of the saddle after half way through the ride, hurt my knees too much and I really enjoy climbing out of the saddle so that annoyed me a lot.
Clay: Everything held together better than expected... Thankfully

Nick Kupiak Photo

Beau Partlow Photo

Q - Which lap # was the hardest? Easiest?
Clay10 to go, which seems rad until you do the math on the time that will take...
Fabian-I feel like lap 49 was the hardest. 19 to go sounded a lot quicker and then I started calculating how long that takes and my head just got lost with all of the numbers for a few hours. Last lap was the easiest.

Q - Are there any technique or approaches that you would change, given time-travel ability?
Fabian-Different gearing for sure.
Clay: Warmer layers for the evening.

Q - What did you mother say when you told her how your weekend went?
Clay: "You're crazy..."
Fabian: I had to go pick up my mom from the airport at 10am the next day. I haven't seen her in 3 years and she moved back from Chile that day. I was exhausted and didn't even tell her what I did the day before so she wouldn't think I was insane. I told her a few days later and she was really confused and worried, it was funny.

Nick Kupiak Photo
Q - How many meals did you eat the next day?
FabianI ate so much food I don't even know.

Q - After 69 descents, I bet you both can rip that downhill to pieces. Which part of the down was the most fun?
ClayThe turn just before the switchback
FabianAfter the switchback you could just fly through every corner and not touch the breaks, it was fun in the dark.

Q - You've set a ridiculously high bar. What crazy adventure is next? 
ClayAs always, already got a few ideas in the works.
Fabian: I keep saying I'll do Mt. Doug next as a joke but I feel like I'll convince myself one day. Not sure what's next though, probably something just as dumb as this.

Q - How long until you choose to ride up the Observatory again?
Clay: I'd like to say never but it will likely not be long enough before I hit it again.
Fabian: I went up the observatory on my first ride back (3 days later) full gas.

Nick Kupiak Photo

Beau Partlow Photo
Nick Kupiak Photo
Beau Partlow Photo