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!”