Everest #7

Everesting Daniel Solander Drive

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I’ve never experienced a good overnight stint. They’ve always been cold, wet or windy & all have been in poorly lit areas. We certainly had some luck as overnight was perfect weather. There was no wind, & it was warm enough just to ride in shorts & t-shirt. The climb itself was well lit, and there was an amazing view of the brightly lit streets below.

I am not used to being awake after 11 pm & I usually struggle to stay awake. I made sure I had a coffee before I started and had several NoDoz throughout the night.  Which helped to keep me awake. We set a brisk pace and were smashing out the laps.  As the morning went on Stryder mentioned that he had a a sore neck but was still setting a good tempo. The night section was monotonous, and I always see it as one of the hardest parts of an Everest.

When we took our second break at 2,200 vertical we had been doing incredible time. Stryder mentioned that the glands in his neck were a little sore. He got off the bike and we could tell something was wrong. Stryder was holding his neck and looked in shock, and said that he was in major pain and had to pull the pin.

He then copped a massive migraine and almost blacked out on us.

Stryder battled Bronchitos to get in shape for this ride.  Doing everything he could to get in shape to be able to do this. His health is more important than a bike ride & it was sad to see him go.  But it was a testimony to how much of a bad ass he is giving a ride like this a go, not being 100%.

We continued on & around 5:00 am the first of the riders showed up for the morning.  From here we were never alone. I was finding the laps easy.  My legs were feeling quite light and I felt this was going to be one of those special days. By then next lap I was flying, but was feeling a bit unsettled in the stomach. The downside to this Everest was the lack of toilets and had to hold off going for a couple of hours.  When I finally had a chance to drive 1 km down to the Endeavour Hills Shopping centre I lost my guts. I felt a heap better and was able to get some more food in my system. What I didn’t know was that this was going to be some of the last food I was to eat for the remainder of the ride.

We were flying towards the half way point, and the first 10 laps I was flying, then riding, then grinding.

The day was heating up and I was pouring with sweat.

Eagerly awaiting the next rest stop and got there and collapsed.  More & more riders showed up.  This was the biggest crew I’ve ever seen show up to an Everest (except the Mount Donna Buang which was more of an event). The day was warming up & it was nice to get to the 5,000 mark. My legs were still feeling good, I ate an apple but from here I practically stopped eating. My stomach couldn’t stomach anything. I could drink and kept the fluids up.  But found that I was slowly draining and had to push to get up the steep gradients of Daniel Solander Drive.

The afternoon became quite entertaining as more and more Hells 500 crew showed up. Between the two of us.  We had quite a few friends come along and it was great to catch up with old friends and to meet new ones.  Everests are great in that sense.  Its an easy ride for those that come along.  Its more of a social ride than serious training.  One of our guests brought along Magnums.   I’m glad I had one as it was the only thing I ate from here on. The laps flowed in, and I knew it was in the bag. On my last Everest I bonked really badly at 8,000 vertical.

I was apprehensive about this happening again and was trying to ride smart to avoid this happening again.

Everyone seemed to be having fun and this really made me feel good. I was still coherent and talked throughout the ride, but know I was probably out of it. With three laps to go I pulled up for a rest and started dry reaching. I had nothing in my stomach and went across the road to try & compose myself. I was wrecked & desperately needed a rest.  An Everest wasn’t about being soft & just got back out on the bike. Earlier on I had high hopes of doing 10,000 but now I was completely wrecked.

Most people are too kind to tell you that you look like s#@t

The only sleep I managed yesterday was two broken 20 minute cat naps in my car and I had been awake for 36 hours at that stage.

I had barely eaten anything over the last six hours and guess my body was telling me something. I could finish the ride.  This was probably going to be my last Everest and I was majorly happy that I could do it. Shane still had 5 laps to go & I really wanted to get out on the bike, but as soon as I stopped I was done.

Today I woke up & wished so much that I had found the energy to roll the last lap with Shane, but am at least thankful that I was there to see this amazing feat that he did.

Here are are Shane’s thoughts:

I was thinking for awhile that I wasn’t going to do it. 1,500 metres into the climb I thought I was in a bit of trouble. I moved on & we plucked away at it and then 2,000 became 3,000. It was pretty amazing to do. I’ve been gearing for this for a year now. When the opportunity knocked I had to take it. I had to do it”.


“V” for Victory

I am now on 7 Everests.  Only four other riders in the world have achieved this.  What is it about an Everest that has driven me so much?

I like the fact that you can get so close to the end and still fail.  There is no certainty that you will succeed, and because you can fail you succeed.

I like how its as much a mental struggle as it is a physical one.

Today wasn’t all about the Everest.  It was about introducing this crazy sport to Shane and working with him to help each other get over the line.

Today was about introducing a whole bunch of riders to a whole new area.  To a place that I call home.

Today I had fun

Everesting Daniel Solander Drive preview

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“If you are going through hell, keep going.”

–         Winston Churchill

The question has been asked by a number of people. Why when every Everest I’ve done has hurt me so much.  Whether it was due to freezing cold weather, heavy winds, rain, illness, injury, mechanical issues, fatigue.

Why would I want to put myself through that once again?

With a baby on the way less than a month away I can’t travel far from home.  A thought was borne that if I was only a few km away from home.  It wouldn’t matter how long I was out for and could hypothetically just go up & down the same hill a lot of times.

I had a winter from hell.  10 weeks of sickness and then I strained my Achilles which kept me off the bike much of July & the start of August. From the start of my rehab I gave away all hopes of doing major epic rides.  I only had 2 & a half months left & I spent a considerable period of time on rehab.  I’ve enjoyed one of my best recoveries.  Knocking  out two 250 km rides & one 300 km ride.  Somehow I got myself in shape to do an Everest.  What better way to finish off but with my 7th & possibly final Everest.

The Cast

Shane Harold has committed to attempting his first Everest. The climb was a fair bit steeper than he had originally planned.  But thankfully went down & rolled a few laps and joined the party.

Shane Harold

Stryder I’ve logged over 35,000 vertical metres on Everests with.  We’ve Everested Colby Drive & David Hill Road together.  And sherpered for each other a number of times. This may be my last and I’m grateful that Stryder wouldn’t let a small thing like Bronchitos hold him back from coming down.  He had this in his system for well over two weeks.  There were doubts that he would be 100% for a ride like this.  He’s like me.  He really thrives on the ability to pull something special out & committed at the last minute.

The Climb

Daniel Solander Drive in Endeavour Hills ticks the box for an Everest in many ways. It has a car lane as well as a bike lane.  You are completely separated from the drivers.  The descent is fast and furious & you can hit speeds of 60 km/h without accelerating.  The climb is quite steep peaking at 12%.  This was resurfaced recently and is a beautiful surface to climb and has a fairly consistent gradient.  It is quite a good climb for the average gradient.

The negatives are there are the toilets are 1.5 km away.  There’s no shade & there’s traffic furniture right at the base of the climb & is technical to negotiate.

The Plan

I would finish work at lunch time on Friday.  Go & pick up my bike from the shop & try and get a few hours sleep.  Then meet up with the boys at midnight on Danny Boy……..


“If one should ask me what “use” there was in climbing, or attempting to climb the world’s highest peak, I would be compelled to answer “none.” There is no scientific end to be served; simply the gratification of the impulse of achievement, the indomitable desire to see what lies beyond the heart of man.”
George Mallory Climbing Everest: The Complete Writings of George Mallory

To Everest or not to Everest ………

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“What is love? Love is playing every game as if it’s your last!”
― Michael Jordan

Time is drawing close to the birth of my baby son.  I have done so many amazing rides in the past, but am being honest about the future.  I work six days a week.  My day off will soon be spent babysitting so that my wife can work.  Every era has to come to a close & this is the end of mine.  No more epics.

This may be my last dance.

When I entered into cycling I could not have imagined that I could have done even a fraction of the things I’ve managed to do. I had many failures along the way.  These have been part of my history and sweetened the times that I succeeded more.

My Everests have defined me, and will be what I finish up on. Given I had a strained Achilles at the start of August.

I didn’t think it possible that I could get into shape for a ride like this so quickly.

With the birth of my son imminent, I cannot travel too far from home.  We have chosen a local backstreet climb by the name of Daniel Solander Drive, which is 500 metres at 9%.  We’d be looking at upwards of 200 repeats of this climb which is quite brutal as its a fairly straight climb that looks incredibly steep.  The climb offers other challenges.  No shade, no toilets and may encounter some traffic.  What it does offer is protection for riders.  There’s a designated car lane & next to it is a bike lane.   You feel comfortable riding either of these lanes free from cars.

I’ve managed to get Shane Harold to go for his first Everest.  It will be more special seeing him nail that than to finish off my final Everest.  I know that many years down the track I could try again.  But I honestly don’t know if I really want to go through all the hard work and pain that is involved in getting to this level of fitness.

One last dance!

Midnight on Friday 16th October 2015 it will begin.  Failure is always a possibility, but then again so is success.  I’ve had good preparation leading up to this day with 3 rides in excess of 250 km.  With a number of other challenging rides.  All 8 Everest attempts I have tried have all been extreme and I am expecting nothing less.  I’ve put an open invite out as I know the more riders are riding alongside me the higher chance I have for success.

To be continued…….