If you choose to do an Everest, then prepare yourself to possibly undertake the hardest experience of your life! It’s a pretty simple concept. You go up the hill, then down the hill, up the hill, then down the hill……..
How successful you are can be determined by your preparation. You need to:
- Realistically work out how long you will need to complete your Everest
- Have more than enough food to last through the ride
- Have a nutritional plan
- Have more than enough fluids to last through the ride
- Have portable batteries to ensure that your Garmin lasts the distance
- Bring additional comforts to make the ride more enjoyable, i.e. change of kits, music etc.
- Have adequate lighting for any night stint
- Work out how many laps you will do in-between breaks
On the day time can really fly, particularly on your breaks. You find you don’t really rest much when you stop as you’re constantly doing something such as topping up water, eating, changing clothes, going to the toilet etc. It is important to set-up your car so that everything is nicely organised. The quicker you can get in & out of your pit stop, the more successful your ride will be, and if everything’s cluttered, then you can also find yourself feeling cluttered.
What sort of hill should you look for?
Here are some things to look for when selecting your Everest:
- Is there a place you can go to a Toilet? You may know a great back street climb, but it’s no good to you unless you can take a dump in someone’s front yard
- How narrow is the road? (the closer cars need to be to pass you the more uncomfortable the day will be, and the higher the risk that one of them may hit you which will end your Everest pretty quickly)
- Is there any wildlife that you need to keep an eye out for?
- What is the road surface like?
- Does your climb experience fog? You should be mindful of fog when there is no wind, and this is where it is important to know your climb in all sorts of conditions
- What is the traffic like? If you can pick a climb with virtually no traffic, you will be doing yourself a major favour
- Is there a good place to park your car at either end of your climb? I personally prefer to park at the top, but it’s a personal choice
- Are there shops nearby?
- Do you get reception for your phone?
- How well shaded is the climb?
- Is the wind likely to affect your climb?
- Does your climb experience abnormal temperatures? i.e. does it get really cold overnight?
Tips for making your Everest easier:
- Know how long your Everest will realistically take. If you’re working out your average lap time, don’t use stats of when you are climbing fresh. You really need to know what pace you will ride on exhausted legs & go from there. I would also advise to set-up a climbing & descending segment to work out how much one full lap takes, but it is better if you are able to set-up a longer segment, such as a 5 x segment, 10 x segment etc. Once you’ve set those up, will give you a realistic idea of how long you will need to complete your Everest.
- Know your climb. Go and do a lot of repeats before you Everest it. I can guarantee after doing an Everest you will know every bump in the road
- Don’t trust the weatherman! Pack extra clothing for any contingency
- Avoid social media. It may help improve your spirits getting support from others while you are riding, but this will cost you time, and anyone could easily spend hours texting, facebooking, Instagraming, commenting on Strava etc.
- If you have friends ride with you, don’t stop riding! When they say goodbye, you could easily spend 10 – 20 minutes reminiscing, and if you get to the stage where you’ve been on the bike for 20 hours, then every minute wasted will hurt more & more
- Change your kit at least once during your Everest. May cost you a couple of minutes, but in the later part of your ride when you’re exhausted, the extra comfort will be worth it
- Don’t stop riding. Sounds pretty straight forward, but later on, you will get really exhausted and may feel like taking more & more breaks. For every minute spent off the bike in the later part of your ride adds exhaustion so be smart and try & ride through it
- Make sure you keep eating & drinking though out the day
- Keep your car neat & tidy
- Most important is to stay positive throughout. You need to be as enthusiastic on lap 60 as you are on lap 6
Preparing for an Everest:
Originally I believed the best training for an Everest was to climb as many hills as I could. I was staggered to see a number of non-climbers who only would climb around 2,000 vertical per week complete an Everest. In hindsight I’ve found that the endurance & pre-preparation is key to an Everest. The choice of your climb is also paramount to your success. Obviously the steeper the hill, the shorter the distance, but then you need to be able to climb really steep hills easily, or you pick an easy climb,& then you’re looking at doing a ride of over 300 km’s, which is exhausting by itself.
The hardest part of an Everest is by getting your head around doing repeats. I came up with a training ride which I swear by. If you have to do say 60 repeats of a 6km hill it would be impossible to train for that specifically. Instead I would recommend to pick a short back street climb, around 300 – 500 metres of equal, or preferably a little steeper gradient & then go & knock out over 60 repeats of that short hill. The benefit of this will be to get your head around doing 60 repeats, and will also give you an idea of how much vertical you can push yourself to do before needing a break, and also give you an idea of what sorts of foods your body will crave when knocking out repeats.
At the end of the day it’s only a ride
If you commit to doing an Everest, it will be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done, and there is no such thing as an easy Everest. There are dangers involved which could prevent you from finishing, and you need to be aware that your safety is worth more than finishing an Everest, and you should never be scared to pull the pin. It’s much better to fail at 8,000vm, than to go through to the end & screw up your knee & not being able to ride for the following 6 months. Not everyone will be able to complete an Everest, but for those that do you will be seen as completely badass! Make sure you plan well, train appropriately & make the most of your Everest.