Sherbrooke Road is one of the most stunning roads in the Dandenong Ranges. It’s a very popular tourist destination with places such as Grant’s picnic ground, the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens & George Tindale Memorial Gardens. With some of the Dandenong Ranges most popular wedding venues such as Poets lane and Marybrooke Manor, this road attracts a large number of tourist traffic.
No one has been crazy enough to Everest this road up until now due to the traffic.
Four riders, led by Adam Dawson organised to Everest Sherbrooke Road in the early hours of the morning on Saturday 29 April. Adam convinced his mates David Louis, Andrew Coveney and Fabian Ariano to come and do their first Everest. This was Adam’s second Everest after he Eversted one of the Dandenong’s steepest climbs “Kia Ora Parade” last Haloween.
This narrow climb up Sherbrooke Road is quite steep. The first km twists and winds its way up to the township of Sherbrooke, averaging around 9%. Boasting one of the finest hairpins in the Dandenong Ranges. This climb takes you through the Sherbrooke Forest, and is simply stunning. Its only downside is that you always expect to see water which trickles onto the road. This can be treacherous on the descent.
This turned out to be quite a challenging Everest. It rained relentlessly throughout the morning, soaking everyone to the skin. This caused the descent to be quite slippery, and everyone had their hands on their brakes on a road which never fully dried out. This cost time and energy spent braking extra hard into the corners. Adam said “A very wet day out on the bike. Unbelievable physical strength and mental fortitude on display from everyone.” When the rain eased up, the traffic set in, and there are only several points where cars could safely pass. More often than not cars would cut across the middle lane, regardless of whether a blind corner was up ahead.
Andrew commented that “between sunset to when I finished at 1:20 am there was only 2 laps when I wasn’t passed by a car”.
Fabian had Garmin issues, and Adam somehow copped four punctures. This cost him a tone of time. No matter what was thrown everyone stood tall. No one appeared to struggle on what is a tough little climb. There was strength amongst the group, and everyone pulled out the ride of their lives.
The ride of the day easily went to Andrew. Not only did he have to battle the traffic, and the wet and cold miserable conditions. Andrew had a horrendous run of bad luck. After two major mechanicals his wheel bearing went. There was an O-ring missing from his front assembly which he thought let water get into the bearing killing it. Given its only 2,000 km old I won’t voice some of the colorful language used. This almost derailed his Everesting attempt, and at one point Andrew was forced to change over to a Mountain bike, whilst desperate repairs were being done to his bike. Through grit and determination he pushed through this and Andrew finished hours after everyone else finished at 1:20 am in the wee hours of the morning.
Sherbrooke Road is one of the last icons of the Dandenong Ranges to be Everested. Their story is one of legend and each of the four riders can be very proud of what they ahieved. All up there have been over 1,600 Eversts completed, with the Dandenong Ranges still holding the record for the most concentrated amount of Everests in the one area. There have been over 30 separate climbs Everested in and around the Dandenong Ranges, proving its popularity.
Congratulations to all the riders and support crew that came along for the ride. I hope you can find the time to give them all Kudos as they all deserved it for such an incredible ride.
- Distance: 221 km
- Elevation: 9,052 vertical
- Riding time: 15 hours 13 minutes
- Overall time: 18 hours 5 minutes
- Noel Eastwood You can wear that grey strip proudly now. Congratulations
- Clint Woodward Always knew you’d knock one of these out one day, congratulations David 🎉
- Mr. T. Mighty impressive lads!! I think the decent would’ve been just as exhausting. Not an easy task on that road with the moss and traffic playing havoc. Congrats to all you blokes; David, Andrew, Fabian and Adam.
- Distance: 244 km
- Elevation: 10,039 vertical
- Riding time: 17 hours 17 mins
- Overall time: 20 hours 49 mins
- Clint Woodward Nice combo to hit 10000m on and another Nongs icon ticked off. Great work!
- Adrian Dickinson Well done Adam. Great achievement. ..way better you than me 🙂
- Paula McGovern Any excuse Adam not to change nappies!!!!
- Distance: 213 km
- Elevation: 8,848 vertical
- Riding time: 16 hours 40 mins
- Overall time: 22 hours 59 mins
- Adam Dawson Unstoppable. I would have chucked it in at halfway with the luck you were having.
- John Van Seters Now that’s one heck of an effort after all the mechanicalls thrown at you, well done Andrew, that’d some grit and determination!
- Martin English Maaaaaate!! This is amazing!! Well done you mad determined bastard!!
- Distance: 223 km
- Elevation: 8,920 vertical
- Riding time: 16 hours 9 mins
- Overall time: 18 hours 27 mins
I had met Gary Beazley once at the Domestique Mount Buller ride on the 22nd February 2014. At that stage he was preparing to do his first Everest on Mount Alexander. He not only finished it, but kept on riding, and knocked off well over 10,000 vertical. I kept in contact with him, and late one afternoon in April of ’14 I got a message from him on Facebook;
“I’m Everesting the Serpentine now”.
WTF! I was staggered that anyone would consider doing the Serpentine. I talked with the missus & begged for a leave pass to go & to ride a few laps with him after dinner.
It was a nice night, and when I showed up Gary had John Van Seters riding with him. I asked how much he had left to do & he said 20 laps. I could see that he had it in the bag. There was no way I wouldn’t miss the end of this, & and had to call home to get permission to stay out a bit later than what I originally planned. I asked Gary how he came to choose the Serpentine. He said that he wanted the shortest ever Everest, and asked how many times he had climbed it before and laughed when he said once.
The Serpentine is on a really narrow goat track of a road that zig zag’s through a quite back street. The descent is a shocker. Which would have been the main reason most wouldn’t have considered it. But Gary managed to find a smooth line, and I was surprised at how easily he was doing it.
There was a family at one of the houses that were watching us the whole time. They must have thought that we were crazy. They stayed up until after 10:00 pm, watching the crazy people’s go up & down their street.
Lots & lots of times.
After doing 100 repeats of the Serpentine, he definitely deserves mega Kudos for doing this one. His pace was really consistent & only started to slow down a little on the last 5 laps. We finished close to 11:45 pm. I suggested that he was going so well that he should go for the 10,000. “I think 8,848 metres is good enough for me thank you very much!”. Gary played a victory song by NWA, which I found a novel way to finish off an Everest. I had a great night, and you get so much experience and appreciation for a climb doing so many repeats. I spent the night chatting with Gazza & JVS and was one of the more enjoyable rides that I’ve ever done.
Here’s what the great man had to say:
Thanks King George, and everyone else. Those last two thousand vertical were certainly tough, and huge thanks to JVS and Brendan for their support, I don’t know how I would have gone without it. Gained some added respect for Pierre’s ride, which is virtually identical to mine anyway…some serious climbing ability there! It’s probably taken 4 days to recover. On Monday, even climbing the stairs hurt, and the legs were still very sore on Tuesday. I felt pretty good today though, but I still think I went into it under prepared because I did little riding during the rainy week prior
I didn’t get home till well after midnight, and was a tired boy at work the next day, but it was certainly worth it.
Here is a link to Gary’s Everest.
Gary’s reward for Everesting the Serpentine
Here is a link to my Strava Activity here:
I’ve been party to many Everests and been a Sherpa lots of times. I love my climbing, and doing repeats really gives you a chance to best experience a climb. Having logged well in excess of 100,000 vertical on Everest attempts. Click on the links below to read about the Everests that I’ve Sherpered for:
- 1:20 Gary Beazley & Martin English
- The Serpentine Gary Beazley
- Falls Road Gary Beazley
- Payne Road Nathan Pasco
- Mount View Road David Smith
- The Wall Steve Gardner
- Two Bays Road Leeana Kate James
- Melbourne Hill Road Stryder Tanjil Aris
- Hughes Street Matt & Anthony
- Brimbank Road Group of 6
- Mount Donna Buang Ewan Hilsdon
- Everest for Ally Peter Arnott
- Kia Ora Parade Adam Dawson
- Sherbrooke Road Group of 4
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
― Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa
Halloween is set for Adams horror story. A tale about going up and down one of the Dandenong Ranges steepest paved climbs not once, not twice but over 102 times. Kia Ora Parade was one of those climbs that was on my short-list to Everest a couple of years back. Ever since I discovered it in 2012 I fell in love with the climb. I remember my first ascent thinking “sh#t! I can’t even see the top of this thing. WTF”.
Ultimately I took it off my to-do list to Everest. It was simply too hard, & the descent far too crazy for my liking. When Adam Dawson told me that he planned to do his very first Everest on it.
Adam was no stranger to doing an epic. On the 23rd April Adam had taken on the Hells 500 cchallenge High Roulers which challenges riders to complete 10,000 vertical in the one ride over two days. Adam rode 427.5 km & a massive 10,478 vertical metres. This still left one box that he wanted to tick. Everesting. There was always this allure to be known as Hells 500.
Kia Ora Parade
Adam began at 3:30am, riding from home on the 31st October. It was Halloween and Adam was trick or treating. Melbourne weather threw a trick in producing one of the coldest Halloween days in history. A day where there was a forecast top of 14 degrees and showers, and it was a cold start to the day at 4 degrees. This is the kind of day you would expect during winter, not the end of October. Nothing would deter Adam who got straight into the business of Everesting.
I joined Adam at 4:30am and he was flying. I’ve been out of sorts all year and don’t know whether it was lack of fitness or whether he was super fast (probably the later). He killed me over the first five laps. It was a battle to keep up and right from the outset was getting a sharp stabbing pain in my hip & through the synaptic nerve. I foolishly battled through it & kept the pace until other Sherpas rocked up & dropped off to ride at my own pace (slow).
Andrew was the first to show up, and only lived around the corner. The u-turn at the end had a tonne of loose rocks and debris & we were blown away when we’re riding though Kia Ora & Andrew’s climbing this nasty 20% pinch with a broom under his arms, and continued to spend much time clearing away all of the rubbish to make the Everest as comfortable as possible.
Having ridden so many Everests myself, I’ve gotta say that Sherpa’s can be awesome. The name Kia Ora is a Māori word and means to be well/healthy, and is also used as an informal hello/farewell and an expression of thanks, and this piece of road really brought the best out of people. If you asked Adam, fairly certain that he would say that Kia Ora is a word which he will relate with pain and suffering.
I pretty much rode my own ride from now. Admitting that I had no hope of keeping up with Adam, and had the day free & still wanted to roll as many laps as possible. My aches got worse and worse and every time I hit that 24% pinch of Kia Ora Parade my mind and body had to battle every single pedal stroke. Every fibre of my body wanted to get off and walk, but I kept at it. If Adam was suffering through 8,848 metres surely a handful of laps wouldn’t be that bad for me.
The meaning of Kia Ora
The surprise of the day were the people of Kia Ora. Like the Maori word, they were all friendly. One lady asked what we were doing & she told me “we were wondering what you guys were doing going up and down the hill. How do you get up it even once?“”. Another guy came and sat out the front for about 15 laps, chatting with us every lap, and walked a lap with us. We also happened to park right in front of a couple of cyclists homes.
Their hospitality was amazing, offering us Coffee, & help in any way. They even came out to ride with us for some laps. Across the road was a triathlete who offered the service of his garage if we needed any repair work done. We were blown away by the hospitality of Kia Ora Parade. Whilst riding past a family reversing out of their drive, one of the passengers, an old lady told me “you so strong“. She must have thought more of Adam because he was told several minutes earlier “you so handsome….”
Trick or treat
Things were looking good. Halloween was delivering some treats until it hit 8:00am. Adam went to do the u-turn at the base and somehow landed flat on his arse. He wasn’t hurt so no dramas. The following lap at the same spot he fell flat on his arse yet again. This time he wasn’t so lucky. He destroyed his bike. His rear chain was dangling loosely off the back. There was no need to panic. I offered to drive Adam home to pick up his spare bike. I left my bike in Dave Smith’s car & we drove off. This cost Adam close to 40 minutes, but he had time on his side. No need to panic. There was more concern about his muscles going cold in the meantime.
The return of the Kia Ora kid
We got back and Adam threw himself straight back into it. I had hoped that the 40 minute rest would have given my legs a chance to recover. Sadly my first pedal stroke brought immense pain. My legs weren’t liking me & wanted to throw in the towel. Sitting on 1,500 vertical, I had to question whether to pull the plug. I pushed myself through several laps, and knew I needed a rest.
Out came my SLR & I spent the next hour taking photos of everyone. No one would have known that I was mainly doing it because I was struggling to ride. More and more Sherpas rocked up to dance up and down this incredibly steep hill. Adam continually burning through more & more Sherpas who just couldn’t match his strength and pace up this mighty monster. There was always someone by his side keeping him company. Halloween was not giving my aching body any treats. Halloween is yet another one of those holidays where the true meaning has been lost over time.
Hollywood has popularized Halloween in countless horror movies, and a clever marketing campaign from companies that produce chocolate. Candy & lollies, has convinced people to spend a small fortune on their products for trick or treating. Halloween today is about dressing up in Halloween costumes, the Jack-o-‘lanterns, telling scary stories and watching horror films. The true meaning of Halloween is in fact is a celebration of the eve of the Western Christian feast of ‘All Hallows’ Day’, which is a day to celebrate the dead. It is believed that Halloween originally originated in Britain and Ireland, although Hollywood will tell you otherwise.
At 2,000 vert my legs were screaming in pain. Several more Sherpas were there, and Adam had it in the bag. I didn’t need to ride to make a difference, and I don’t know why I did it, but I kept rolling lap after lap. Taking countless breaks in-between. Everything was a blur and somehow I made it to 3,000 vert, and then said that I was done. Then did several more laps and said that I was done. Then several more and I was done.
I was about to throw the bike in the car when a group of 4 trick or treaters came out & I gave them a bag of Twirl chocolates that seemed to make their day. This cheered me up which gave me an excuse to roll a few more laps. My Garmin said I was at 3,746 vertical & 70km. It was very tempting to roll a couple of extra laps to make it to 4,000 but my body was gone. I could barely move and Adam was on 72 laps at that stage. He only had 20 laps to go & there were half a dozen riders rolling laps with him. It was in the bag.
Done and dusted
This is my 26th Everest that I’ve been to now & easily up there with some of the hardest Everests ever completed. Adam has certainly earned a well earned reputation as a climber, and deserved the praise:
Marlon Bautista: Magnificent work Adam. A tough one but you did it with ease
Ashley Douglas Hats off my friend. Huge respect and admiration goes to you and your day
Mr Macchiato Phenomenal effort Adam top shelf stuff mate sorry i couldn’t be there to ride with you a couple of laps #RESPECT
Mesh Gammuné Inspirational stuff, Adam!!!! Brilliant amazing effort!
All up 21 riders came out to Sherpa, and Adam’s Everest on Kia Ora Parade has helped to introduce a number of new riders to this great climb which was climbed a whopping 400 times today. Many of the Sherpa’s had never met Adam before & an event like this helps to unite the cycling community, and to inspire others to get out there to ride. Who know’s whether someone who came along developed the bug to Everest themselves….
Elevation: 8,960 elevation
Riding time: 13:27
Overall time: 16:38
Click here to be directed to Adam’s Strava Activity. Please give him some Kudos as he is now the king of Kia Ora Parade.
This is a ride which will touch your heart. Sadly Peter Arnott’s niece Ally passed away. She was only 5 years old and suffered from Dravet syndrome. Which is a rare genetic epileptic encephalopathy which is a dysfunction of the brain. Pete was inspired by the work of Epilepsy Foundation. Wanting to support them by raising money on their behalf. Peter sent out an invitation to join him on an Everesting attempt that he planned to do on 9th July 2016:
“I’d like to help my family in supporting my sister, her husband and her son in the best way I know how… by riding my bike up and down a hill, again and again… again” – Peter Arnott
If you don’t know Pete. He is an Everesting legend. His first Everest on Humevale was simply epic. Peter rode 502 km to earn the Grey stripe. His second on the Yarra Boulevard required him to ride 603 km. Most people wouldn’t be able to drive that in a day. Peter cemented his status as an Everesting legend by going back to back on Henley Road. He Everested both the East and West sides of this climb. Amassing a mammoth 17,769 vertical and rode 456 km.
This took him 43 and a half hours to do……..
Everest no# 5 was a ride dedicated in memory of Ally. A chance for Peter and his family and friends to celebrate her life and to raise money for the Molly Dravet Fund. Click on the following link to read more:
Pete chose to Everest Glen Harrow Heights Road, a backstreet which is located in Belgrave. Right near Terry’s Avenue. 500 metes @ 11% in gradient. This is quite a narrow and technical road and right from the outset it’s steep. Never dipping below 10%. Technically it’s a residential street. But it feels like you’re riding through a forest as it borders the Dandenong Ranges National Park.
I arrived at 9:00 am to be greeted by an army of the Hells 500. There was a who’s who of Everesting legends, and some of Melbourne’s top climbing talent. We were treated to an almost perfect winter’s day in the Dandenong’s, and perfect conditions to ride a bike.
Sadly I wasn’t riding.
I had recently strained my Achilles for the third time this year. Coming along as a course photographer and spent the morning working my way up and down the climb.
I met Pete at the base when he came flying around the last bend screaming out “this is my favorite corner ever!”. He was having fun and I was blown away by how quick he was hitting the climb. Each lap he would average between 9 – 10 km/h & an ascent would take him between 3 – 3.5 minutes, and he was dragging his Sherpa’s along.
The laps flew and Sherpa’s came and Sherpa’s went. Pete burnt through several Sherpa’s who couldn’t keep the pace. Having to drop back and ride at their own pace. He was possessed and pulling out the ride of his life.
The turnout was amazing.
Family and friends came along to offer support and witness a spectacle as Peter delivered one of the finest Everest rides I’ve ever seen.
Peter finished what he set out to do and completed his 5th Everest. Putting Glen Harrow Heights on the map in the process. Over 650 ascents of this climb were completed today, & over 60 riders showed up to roll laps on the day. One thing which I took from the ride more than everything was how the Hells 500 community will get together to support one another. We’ve all gone through something special to get to wear the Grey stripe. A special thank you to everyone who came down to support Pete on the day, and who gave their well wishes on social media.
- Philip Natividad “This is such a great thing you did mate, it was an honour to roll a few laps with you”.
- George Mihailides | www.noboullietacks.com “Congratulations Pete…thinking of you and your family buddy”
- John Van Seters “Congratulations Pete! Was a pleasure spending the day and seeing you get this done! I am sure Ally would have been so proud that you did this in honour of her! Well done mate”
- Sam Jeffries “You are a bloody top bloke and one a hell of a rider. Well done mate!”
- Jarrod Stonham “You’re a dead set legend”
- Cyril Dixon “Inspiring stuff Pete, great to roll a few laps and do it for Ally. Commiserations to you and your family in what is a difficult time. I hope this makes it all a bit easier.”
Before collapsing in a heap, Pete posted a thank you video to Facebook:
“A resident at the top of the street came down his driveway and handed me a $20 note and shook my hand and said it’s a really good thing you’re doing. It really helped me to get through it, and at one point we had close to 14 Grey stripes on the road which was quite something. A lot of family, and a lot of friends. A lot of purple. I could say something witty and insightful cause normally I would but I’m quite f@#ed right now, so I’m going to drink this Beer then go to sleep.”
Here is a link to Pete’s Strava ride. Please give him some Kudos.
Everesting for Ally:
- Distance: 186 km
- Elevation: 8,848 metres
- Riding time: 14 hours 14 minutes
- Total time: 15 hours 38 minutes
At the time of posting this post Pete was able to raise an amazing $4,500. Please find it within yourself to make a donation to the Epilepsy Foundation. Click here:
Allegra Rose Patty
06/11/2010 – 30/06/2016
Ewan and Blake do Donna. Sounds like the name of one of those films that play cheesy music in the background…..
The boys were there to Everest Mount Donna Buang, a mountain in the southern part of the Great Dividing Range. This is the most Everested hill in the world with 25 successful attempts being recorded. Many have tried, but many have also failed including pro rider Tom Leaper. Who last year pulled the plug after 169 km in horrible conditions. At 16.8 km in length with an average gradient of 6.4%. On paper it appears to be the perfect type of hill to Everest.
In reality it is quite a difficult one. I’ve Everested it myself & Donna has given me some very painful memories over the years. The second half of Donna is the part that will make or break you. It has been known to drop considerably in temperature. It’s not surprising to have a drop of up to 5 degrees from Cement Creek to the summit. Which is 8.5 km down the road. This makes for an icy descent, even on a good day. Rule of thumb is to be prepared for anything on Donna.
Mount Donna Buang
I’ve had so much history on Donna, & none of it good. I’ve suffered hypothermia. Heat stroke, injury, and have bonked on it more times than anywhere else. It holds a special place for me being my 5th Everest. I haven’t been able to ride much over the past three weeks. Due to straining my Achilles and I was really looking forward to today. That was until I sliced through my thumb. I guess the silver lining was that I didn’t sever any nerves or tendons but I went pretty close. I’m not able to bend my thumb and it constantly throbs. I was gutted as had to pull out of Sherpering for a substantial period of time. My thumb wouldn’t hold up to the 16.8 km descent. Being the stubborn s.o.b I am figured I could come along for the ride & takes some photos for the boys.
I wanted to ride, but there would be so much pain. I thought about it and the pain of not riding would be worse……
Maybe I could just climb the second half of Donna.
Its great to return to Donna. Its a beautiful climb to do & getting to meet new riders and catching up with old mates is pure gold. I was injured but I figured I could rest my left wrist over the handlebar. Over the first 4 km things were peachy. The weather dropped the higher we rose & we came across some low hanging mist. This is just incredible to ride through on a climb like Donna.
My thumb began to ache. I had to take my hand off the bars and continually shake my hand to help get circulation through it. No dramas. I’d ridden through worse. Even though I was only riding 20 km I was in heaven.
Unfortunately I never met Blake. But had a chance to ride with Ewan who shares a common passion for photography, and cycling of course. I’d chatted with Ewan on social media many times & its always so much nicer to meet someone in person.
At the top of Donna my legs were feeling gold. I could have kept riding all day on them. My wrist was another story. I let everyone ride off so no one saw how much pain that descent was going to cost me. I couldn’t use my left hand at all on the descent. Having to brake with my right hand which led to searing pain. At the sorts of speeds you can hit on Donna. I had to keep my hand on the brake and my right wrist was killing me on the way down. Then there was the cold that was biting me to the skin.
It was not a pleasant descent and I was forced to pull over at the overflow car park for a break before making my way back to the car. I felt nautious after the descent but I survived. Now for the fun part, following the boys in the car stopping to get a number of photos to help document the day.
The pissing contest
I mentioned to Shane Harold who Everested Daniel Solander Drive with me about this little segment just out of Cement Creek. Its 500 meters at 6% average & the KOM was 27 km/h which is easily doable. His eyes lit up & he convinced Derek Trikaso to have a pissing contest. You kinda feel sorry for the previous KOM owner. Shane then convince Dylan Nicholson & Lewis Greenhalgh to have a go later in the day. The KOM fell four times that day with Lewis ultimately nailing it at 35.5 km/h. Good luck anyone else trying to beat that time.
I left after Ewan’s third lap & followed his exploits on social media for the rest of the day.
Sadly Lewis posted at 2:00 am:
“After a remarkable effort, due to safety reasons and tiredness, Ewan Hillsdon has made the right decision to call it a night. An amazing display of determination, perseverance and tenacity. Respect mate.”
I’ve had to pull the plug on two Everests now & its a gut retching decision to make. But ultimately a wise one. Its not worth hurting yourself over. I’m sure he’ll be doing a whole heap of soul searching over the coming days and will come back stronger. After pulling the plug on 7,400 vertial on Perrins, I received a whole heap of well wishes & it just made things hurt more. Hearing several people say to me “I was sure that you were going to cinch it” just made it all the worse. All I wanted to hear was “you can do it. Get your lazy ass back to Perrins & Everest that mother f#%r!
What Ewan achieved was amazing & has earned him a heap of praise. He later posted:
“I’m going to have to process everything so will write something up tomorrow. Needless to say, I will be sleeping for the good part of the next 14 hours”
He will be back & stronger than ever & Rich Kemp summed it up: “Duuuude. Gutted but total respect to you. I’ve been in that very place and its gut wrenching to have to quit so late in the game but safety must prevail. Love you dude!!!“
To be continued…….
I was invited along to attend a group Everest at Brimbank Park in Keilor East by VeloOne & La Velocita. It was touch & go whether I could attend the ride. Last week due to heat exhaustion I became quite sick. And had further complications on the Tuesday. This led me to spending a fair bit of time in the Emergency department at the Dandenong Hospital. Sensibly I should have pulled out of the ride, but then again I’m not that sensible. So on Boxing Day I joined 5 riders; Brad Akers, Marlon David, Kristen Slade, Andre Vidic and Frank Zgoznik to Sherpa for their Everest.
Brimbank Park Everest
The climb is 6.3% for 500 metres. This is deceptively challenging as there is a flattened out middle section that brings the average well & truly down. There are two speed humps as well which also offer an extra challenge. Mainly on the descents.
Link to the Strava segment here
The weather wasn’t ideal. It was highly unstable with heavy winds battering us from the south-west. I had hopes of nailing the KOM. Things were going well until I hit the final steep part of the climb and copped a stiff cross/head wind. I had been working hard up until this point. Flying up a 10+% pinch into a headwind was like shoveling shit uphill. I completely dropped pace and only managed 8th position on the leader board. And wasted a fair bit of energy in the process.
Army of the Hells 500
Just before 7:00 pm a contingent of Hells 500 riders descended Brimbank Road. There was an Everest going and they wanted to crash the party. There were some very strong climbers amongst them. Between nerves & some of the Hells boys setting the pace. It was on for one & all. I was expecting the pace to drop after the first few laps. It sped up and the field cracked pretty early as a result of the pace. I was envisioning that at this pace they would either crack some of the riders completely. Or else leave them with a hell of an Everest to contend with. Conditions were challenging & that wind at the top of the climb made it that extra difficult. It was forecast to die down in a couple of hours though.
One thing was for sure. This was not going to be an easy Everest.
I floated from group to group chatting away. The Hells 500 boys stayed a short while. Once they left it was really noticeable that the pace dropped off. The weather fined up for the briefest of moments. And we were treated to a brilliant sunset as everyone prepared themselves for the overnight section. This is the section that’s always hurt me. I’m just not used to being up late and always battle fatigue. Deciding to ride through the night is no easy feat.
Most of us are used to sleeping through the night. On an Everest you can experience your own private hell trying to stay awake throughout the night.
One down sight to this Everest was the fact the park has no lighting. It was lucky that there was a full moon. Yet with close to two dozens riders riding up & down this short hill. I found it a challenge to adapt to the night. Every time a rider would come from the other way. I found myself blinded by their lights and had to concentrate extra hard on the road.
The most challenging part of the climb overnight was the two speed humps. It was a very fast speed descent. With my night vision constantly being screwed up. I was having trouble seeing that far in front of the bike and every descent felt like I was on a roller coaster ride. Sometimes I would forget where the speed humps were and not realise until I was metres away. I would either have to pull hard on the brakes or go for an extra long jump off the speed hump. You could easily jump up to 2 metres off one of those things. When you’re in mid-air your lights don’t really pick up what’s under you. When you hit the ground you really needed to have nerves of steel for the landing.
It was a strange night for me. I didn’t ride that strongly up until I had completed 1,400 vertical. I stopped and grabbed a banana & a handful of chips. Not exactly overly nourishing, but it was like I had an injection of spinach. I found my on button and was smashing lap after lap. I was really enjoying myself and was saddened the nearer it approached midnight. Sadly I knew that I had to leave. I was feeling good & could have easily kept knocking out lap after lap throughout the night.
I completed 80 laps & over 2,500 vertical with the team. It was a fun ride and the riders were looking pretty strong when I left them. And followed their exploits on social media the following day. One by one they all achieved what they set-out to do; Everest.
One of the greatest things about the whole Everesting phenomenon. Is the impact it has on the cycling community. This Everest brought a climb which lots of people never knew existed and is now on the map. Close to 50 riders came down to Brinbank Park over the weekend. Which was climbed 3,236 times that weekend.
On the drive home I was struggling to stay awake. I reached over to my sports bag to grab some food. I felt a massive sharp stinging pain in my hand which was excruciating. Something was biting me & I quickly flung it off. I remembered that the site where we had set-up. Where I left my sports bag had a population of Bull ants. My hand had gone numb and was throbbing. I could barely move my fingers over the next 20 minutes and couldn’t use my left hand. Which was quite worrisome and I was seriously contemplating driving myself to a hospital. Shit happens & I laughed it off the next day though.
Not only did all 5 guys Everest, but there was an accidental Everester (David Januskiewicz) who showed up to Sherpa & ended up climbing Everest. I was touched by how much comrade there was amongst the riders, and I was proud to be a small part of this great Everest.
Here are links to all of the riders Strava segments. Please give them Kudos as they well & truly earned them:
Matthew Shanks was attempting his first Everest today and had Anthony Netkow doing it with him. I’m tied to home at the moment with a newborn baby and am missing the bike. I am loyal to my friends & really wanted to be there to offer some support. The plan if you could call it that was to get rest in-between & give my baby the 7:00 pm, 10:00 pm & the 1:00 am feed. Then give up sleep & drive up to Upwey to offer some support in the wee hours of the morning. I managed to get to sleep at 10:15 pm & hoped to get up to 3 hours sleep…….
The Everest was in the Dandenong’s in the township of Upwey. This climb is one of the Dandenong’s most challenging climb, and one which has been used in the Dirty Dozen. Hughes Street & then up One Tree Hill. This is a very hard combination with several gradients peaking at 20%. Its considered one of the hardest climbs in the Dandenong’s. I knew it was going to be a tough climb to Everest.
I’m still learning who’s the boss.
After an hours sleep at 11:15 pm William “aka the crying machine” Edwards was hungry and was screaming in my ear. Given it was so close to his last feed I couldn’t give him anything except listen to him cry and sooth him as best as I could. In the meantime get more & more tired myself. We got him his feed around midnight but I was mighty tired after not having slept much for the whole week. 1:00 am came & my alarm went off & I was in a zombie state & couldn’t get up & set the alarm for 2:00 am. My alarm went off & I was in a zombie state & set the alarm for 3:00 am. This time I woke up semi-alive, & in time to give William his next feed.
So I arrive at Hughes Street in Upwey just after 4:00 am just in time for the rain to start. I got in one & a half laps before the skies really opened up & we were discussing options. Anthony, who was Everesting this climb with Matty started to shake & was showing signs of mild hypothermia. It was pretty cold on the descents & having wet kits didn’t help. Luckily they had done some amazing time overnight & were at around 3,500 vertical. So still had time on their hands.
The weather gods had thrown a major spanner in the works.
Everyone threw extra clothes on & the consensus was that we would sit out the storm. Which went on & on & on and well over an hour was lost. I was cold, my clothes wet from just a short outing & I was mega hungry which was not a good sign. I could only imagine how Matt & Anthony were feeling, having been riding since midnight. If the rain kept up who knows if they would be able to Everest.
We stayed positive & the Sherpas Peter Arnott & Shane Harold tried to keep a positive light on what was becoming a real difficult Everest. Night turned to day & the rain stopped & we were treated to a glorious sunrise. Which lasted a whole lap before hiding behind more cloud & more cold weather hit us.
Hughes Street has some mighty nasty pinches. Each lap I found it harder to push myself up those pinches which peaked at over 20% in gradient. I kept my poker face on and kept encouraging the boys. They were moving towards the half way point of their Everest, and to the point when they were to start to earn their money.
The Everesting legend John Van Seters rocked up & planned on riding the second half of the Everest with the boys. Which added much firepower to their cause. Dylan Nicholson also came to join the party, however was gutted due to a broken shifter. He was unable to change gears & bravely pushed hard to get up the steep slopes of Hughes & Churchill in the hardest possible fashion.
Lack of sleep got the better of me & my last couple of laps started to hurt.
I’m a decent poker player & tried to hide it. I needed to start work at 10:30 am and unfortunately couldn’t have kept riding. The boys were looking tired but determined & were turning out lap after consistent lap. I left with the feeling that they would do it.
I kept an eye on social media throughout the day. It was great to see other riders such as Ben Walhout, David Smith, Martin English & Clint Woodward joining the party. Each took images of the brave Everesters & when I heard that they had 5 laps to go I knew it was in the bag.
I wish I could have been there for the end, but had family commitments, and could barely stand due to lack of sleep.
Hells 500 now welcomes two new members who I have to say did it hard. They did it tough. They did it Hells 500 style!
A Hughes effort to Sherpa
Please give them some well deserved Kudos.
My ride stats:
- Distance: 52 km
- Elevation: 2,000 vertical
- Laps: 7
- Here is a link to my Strava Activity here:
I was contacted by Leeana Kate James to suggest a possible Everest for her to do. Two Bays Road was the first climb that came to mind in Mount Martha. It was a climb which deserves respect. There had been several failed Everest attempts in the past. 2 Bays Road was ripe to be Everested. Leeana at that stage was averaging close to 500km’s per week. I knew that she was in super shape to take down Two Bays Road. She was initially hesitant to do the climb. After heading down to check it out & agreed it suited her riding well.
The alarm was set so I could get down there around 6:30am, to offer my support. I wanted to be there when she nails her first Everest. Leeana had support throughout the night. Her mates Matt Brough & Stacey Matthews gave up sleep to roll lap after lap with her. I rolled two laps with her before the first break. Now I go overboard with my preparations for an Everest. I was blown away with how Leeana prepared for her Everest. She could have opened a Cafe with all the great food she had in her boot. It looked like she planned for a party, & brought her whole wardrobe with her. Leeana was possibly the first person in history to bring 6 outfit changes to her Everest. As the story goes the gal had to look good.
The laps flowed into one another. On the descents I had to work hard just to keep anywhere near her. Leeana is super quick. Riders, came & riders went. At times we would have over a dozen riders heading up & down Two Bays Road. It was funny how it wasn’t the busy traffic which gave us grief but groups of other cyclists. Two Bays Road is an immensely popular climb. There were hundreds upon hundreds of riders who passed us on the day. We would be climbing two abreast, and big groups fly past us on the wrong side of the road cursing us. We witnessed some abhorrent behaviour.
I was determined to do a hot lap, and somehow roped Steve Gardner into smashing out a lap with me. There are two speed humps near the base. I knew the key was to pacing yourself through the first km. Sadly I didn’t get it right & cooked myself just as I hit the steep part. I was able to pump out a high level of watts. In the red zone most of the way. I’m good with pain and never let up. I finished in the top 5% on the leaderboard.
At the top I looked over my shoulder and was amazed to see Steve not too far behind me. I turned around and planned on smashing it to the base. Steve is incredibly fast downhill. He nailed 8th on the leader board descending Two Bays Road that day to give you an idea of how quick he is. Steve wouldn’t like to see a skinny carrot like me down the road. I’d have to push really hard to stop him from overtaking me. “Shut up legs”. I probably hurt more on the descent than what I did climbing. Luckily I managed to only lose 20 seconds on the descent to Steve and nailed 8th on the leaderboard for the up & down segment.
The day was heating up. Two Bays had no shade, & it was becoming to become trying conditions. The lap times slowed. You could tell that Leeana had done a tremendous amount of training as she kept a consistent tempo. She was able to push through some considerable pain. With an in-law function to get to later that day and unfortunately had to leave. I was able to complete 27 laps, riding 114km & climbing 2,643 vertical metres.
I was chatting with Matt Brough. He was telling me that he was thinking of leaving to drive up to Mount Buller to do the Domestique ride. I pointed out to him that it would be close to 10 hours of driving & would be completely exhausting. If he stayed could make the difference from Leeana succeeding to failing. Matt was also looking at smashing his record for his longest ride. And set a record for most vertical done in a day. Best case he’d Everest it.
As the story goes he Everested it!
I’ve been party of many Everests & when I heard that it took them over 28 hours all to do. I could only imagine the hurt those guys were going through in the end. Of all the Everests I’ve been part of this was easily the biggest party I’d joined. I’ve never ever seen someone so positive and excited about climbing lap after lap. Leeana had the time of her life. You wouldn’t go a lap without hearing her scream out AWESOME or WHOOOOOO! She’s an immensely popular rider. A large number of riders came out to support her on the day. And to crown the Queen of Two Bays Road and the newest member of the Hells 500 clan.
Here is a link to her Strava Activity here:
Stats for the ride:
Total distance: 367km
Riding time: 20 hours
Elapsed time: 28 hours
Total elevation: 8,876 vertical
This is what Leeana had to say about the day:
“Thanks guys… I really appreciated all the awesome words of encouragement over insta strava and FB and a special thank you to those who made it down to TwoBays.. could not have done it without you… I’m actually looking forward to the next one!! It actually wasn’t all that painful.. the end was a bit drifty but otherwise it was just about having a laugh, and lasting the distance.. if you have a focus.. -mine was the hells 500 grey stripe.. you can do it.. this is my all round life philosophy. If you want something…. just go and get it.. so go on… go and get it!!!! 🙂”
For a final thought on the ride, Matt Brough summed up the day quite nicely: “That road had no idea who it was messin’ with. Boom!”
The date of the 2015 Hells 500 epic was set for the Easter weekend. I had this far fetched scheme over four weeks of riding to do only 4 rides, but which would total 1,150 km’s & in excess of 26,000 vertical.
The best laid plans of mice & men…….
Dave Smith & Martin English teamed up to Everest the 1 in 20. Aiming to complete the 2015 Hells 500 epic.
Having this crazy notion of climbing 10,000 meters on the 1:20.
They were aiming at 36 laps of the 1 in 20, which would take them close to 500 km’s to do. There were hiccups. Dave Smith got really sick during the week & was forced to pull out. Gary Beazley was also really sick throughout the week. Deciding to start the ride with a cold which would really test him in the freezing cold conditions. We still wanted to keep Dave’s spirit live on so we nicknamed him the Ghost of David Smith throughout the ride.
Follow him at #ghost of David Smith
I had till 5:30 pm to ride. Normally I would wake up at the crack of dawn. I was struggling to recover from my Everest and slept in until 6:00 am instead. The forecast for the morning was for a minimum of 8. When I woke up it felt bloody cold. I looked up the weather and saw that it was 4 degrees.
Never trust the weatherman.
There were hundreds of riders taking on the 1:20 in the morning, and all rugged up. I was able to ride freely, but felt that I was lacking energy to push as I normally would. Definately not quite 100%. I was there to offer support, and to go up the front to help set pace as much as I could. Early on it was difficult finding a rhythm. Each of us had so much experience riding the 1:20, that we would automatically start to push without thinking about it. When riders were overtaking us, the first instinct was to jump on their wheel and get sucked along. On an Everest this wasn’t feasable. Lastly anytime we came upon riders to overtake, the instincts always kicked in to give that extra little gas to fly off on them once we passed.
Also bumping into old friends.
|Sunrise on Mount D|
I didn’t need to ask how cold it was overnight (only around 5 degrees)
Leaving them with 6 laps left to do.
It was a fitting way to hand over the 1 in20 crown from one champion to another.
Here is a link to my Strava Activity here: