A Hughes effort to Sherpa

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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.

Yep it was wet

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.

Surprise. Surprise.

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.

Matthew Shanks

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.

8 time Everester John Van Seters
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.

Image taken by Dave Smith

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

  • Here is a link to Matt’s Strava Activity here:
  • Here is a link to Anthony’s Strava Activity here:

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:
Peter Arnott, Matthew Shanks & Shane Harold
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