Everest No 3 Olivebank Road

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At 12:30 am my alarm goes off and I’ve slept a whole two hours. I was starting to get back into shape, and I was hoping to attempt my third successful Everest. I chose Olivebank Road (Ferntree Gully), which is a quiet 600 meter backstreet climb.  With an average gradient of 9.3%, and peaks at 13%. The weather forecast was for scattered showers & a 60% chance of rain.  So I packed a couple of rain jackets, some waterproof shoe covers & a pair of waterproof gloves in the kit.

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

I arrived at Olivebank at 1:45 am, and was thankful that it was a nice warm 13 degrees. Whilst I was prepping my kit it started to rain. There was no point beating around the bush so got kitted up and headed off. My first ascent went well, but the descent was downright scary! The rain was sleety, and caused me to squint, and with the lack of lighting on the road I was blinded. Thankfully the descent was pretty easy.  All I had to do was keep a straight line to get to the base. Soon the rain picked up.  The rain never got strong, but rained 5 straight hours. The descents also became really scary as once the rain picked up I pretty much only had about 20% visibility downhill as the rain was hammering straight into my eyes (I don’t wear glasses when I ride).

The roads also became very greasy. Whenever I tried to brake to do my u-turn my brakes locked up and constantly overshot the u-turn point as just couldn’t stop.

If I had to make an emergency stop I was completely screwed. I had considered pulling the plug, but ploughed on.

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road

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Over the first five hours, I was soaked to the bone, & went through all my wet weather kits. I knocked out 30 laps (1,800 vm) on my first block.  Then knocked out 25 laps (1,500 vm) on the next & given how wet I was, questioning whether to pull the plug. The radar was showing up some big storm fronts around the area, and I had no idea how long it would rain.  Or how long I could keep riding in wet clothes.

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road
Miserable morning to ride

I was fortunate to get some company at 7:30 am. Stryder, a 4 time Everester came straight from working an overnight shift, and basically gave up sleeping to roll laps with me. He joined me when I was just about to throw in the towel. I was completely wrecked & needed to rethink my strategy.  Suggesting we go to a Cafe so that I could get some food & to try & dry out a bit. We went to a Cafe named Rapture in Ferntree Gully.

I had an incredible serve of French Toast.

Taking stock of the situation. I had two tops, two pairs of socks, a pair of gloves & a pair of shorts that were still dry in the car.  But was worried that if I used the last of my dry kit and it rained again I would have to do the whole thing in wet clothes.  I gambled and continued in wet clothes & just changed my top & put some fresh socks on.  Which seemed pointless as they became wet straight away.

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road

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It stopped raining.  But over the next couple of hours we experienced on and off light rain & drizzle which was very frustrating as my clothes stayed wet, and the roads remained slick. Conditions were bad as well with some stiff cross/head winds that gave me grief.

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road
David Smith, Stryder & one very tired climber

The day was not going well, & I was in damage control.

I said to Stryder that I wasn’t going to finish it.  Hoping to get a big ride instead and maybe go for 5,000 – 6,000 vertical. Stryder just told me to just keep on riding, and that I did.

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road
Always nice when we got to the top of the climb

We kept pushing, and the weather started to improve and at 10:00 am.  I was finally able to put some dry clothes on which was such a relief after having ridden in wet clothes for 8 hours. My shoes were still a bit wet, but there was nothing I could do about that. I had another Everester Dave Smith show up. Dave completed his Everest on Mount View Road in the Basin, on the worst day of the year. He copped over 60 mm of rain that day.  It made me feel like I had it easy compared to him, which did help get me through the morning section. Dave rolled 25 laps with me, & this was the turning point for the day. The winds gave me grief, but the day finally warmed up & after 12:00 pm the roads finally dried up.

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road
What am I doing?

I kept knocking out lap after lap.

Trying to do quite a few repeats per block. Dave headed home, and Stryder had to leave to go back to work. He was a guiding influence, and rode 3,300 vertical with me. I had several other mates pop in and offer encouragement, & to do a lap or three and it all helped. At this stage I was remarkably up to 6,800 vertical. I was wrecked, & had nothing left in the tank. And to finish I still had at least 4 hours of riding ahead of me. I didn’t know how I would finish, but started to feel that it was possible. I knew that I had people come out of their way to help me out.  Stryder literally gave up sleep after finishing a night shift to ride with me. I owed it to them to succeed.

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road
Stryder & Mwa

I was in for a surprise when three mighty Everesters; Clint Woodward, the mighty Sam Poole and the genuine Everesting legend John Van Seters came down to join the party. With such massive firepower riding with me, I was set to complete this gruelling Everest. David Louis who I met on my last Everest on Colby Drive also came down a bit later to knock out 10 laps which really helped me out.

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road

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My laps I had to cut down to blocks of 5 – 7 laps towards the end. I had no problems climbing, but needed to stop to make sure I kept eating & drinking properly.

Thankfully I didn’t bonk, but had several laps where I was running on empty.

Having to do a bit of soul searching to keep the legs turning.

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road

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Before I knew it I was on the final lap. I had made it! With 300 metres to go, was joking with Clint & Sam, and decided to kill what little energy I had left and had a sprint to the finish line with the boys. It was nice getting out of the seat and giving it some gas. My sprint lasted a whole 100 metres before my legs told me to get f#@ked.

I slowed right down and glided up to the top.

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road
Sam Poole congratulating me with a one finger salute

I went through hell in the morning section and gave up half way through the Everest.  Riding the second half completely on empty. Even now I can’t tell you how I did it. 8 hours of riding in a wet kit sapped a lot of energy, and spirit. I just kept the wheels turning, and broke the ride into manageable blocks, and did it. I would not have finished this without the support of my friends.  Having great respect and admiration for all those who came down to push me along.

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road
Madness!

Would I have gone through with this Everest if I knew the weather would have been so bad………. Probably, but I definitely would have packed more wet weather gear.

After everyone had gone got in my car & drove up Olivebank one final time. I drove past a group of 10 year olds.  Who a short while ago waved to us on one of our descents. My final memory of the day is of two of them mooning me.

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road

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Ride stats:

  • Total distance: 195 km’s
  • Laps: 146
  • Elevation: 8,861 vertical metres
  • Ride time: 13 hours, 11 minutes
  • Overall time: 16 hours, 23 minutes
  • Here is a link to my Strava Activity here:

Everest No 3 Olivebank Road

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