Our own Brendan Edwards has completed not one, or two but six Everests and has been asked on numerous occasions what it takes to get through an Everest.
Here’s some advice that he’s learned along the way.
Photography - Andrew Clifforth
If you choose to do an Everest, prepare yourself for one of the hardest experiences 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 will be determined by your preparation.
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.
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.
What sort of hill should you look for?
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, 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? It is dangerous to attempt an Everest in foggy 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?
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 or extreme temperatures changes? i.e. does it get really cold overnight?
Tips for making your Everest easier
Know how long your Everest will realistically take. Most people end up underestimating how long it will take and if you do this I can guarantee it’s going to hurt.
Know your climb. Go and do a lot of repeats before you Everest it if you can.
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 leave! 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.
Make sure you keep eating & drinking though out the day.
Most important is to stay positive throughout. You need to be as enthusiastic on lap 60 as you are on lap 6.
A training tip - mental preparation
The hardest part of an Everest is by getting your head around doing repeats. I came up with a training ride that I swear by.
If you have to do 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 and then go & knock out over 60 repeats of that short hill.
The benefit of this will be to get your head around doing the 60 repeats, and will also give you an idea of how much vertical you can push yourself to do before needing a break.
You’ll get an idea of the tedium that you’ll be in for and also give you an idea of what sort 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’ll do. 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.