At La Velocita we love a good Everesting story. So when we heard there was a group of five riders taking on the challenge on Boxing day… when most of us are relaxing… we sent our resident Everesting expert Brendan Edwards along to check it out.
Thanks to Brad Akers, the co-founder of VeloOne, for inviting La Velocita along for the ride.
Words and Images - Brendan Edwards
Everesting is taking the cycling world by storm. If you like climbing this is a challenge that will test every aspect of your mental and physical ability. Everesting is seen by many as one of the the ultimate challenge for cyclists. The method is simple, choose a hill and ride up and down it until you have climbed the equivalent height of Mount Everest… 8,848 metres. It’s a challenge of epic proportions and every single climb offers its own challenges.
At 7pm on Boxing Day Brad Akers, Marlon David, Kristen Slade, Andre Vidic and Frank Zgoznik set-out to take on a Everesting challenge at Brimbank Park in Melbourne’s north-west. Their motives may have been different, however they all shared the same dream… to Everest Brimbank Road.
Kristen Slade put the HARD word on the crew three weeks before the ride date, those that jumped on board had only a short preparation for a challenge of this magnitude. Luckily they were all pretty incredible riders.
Kristen found the climb at Brimbank Park in Melbourne’s north-west. At 500 metres in length with 34 metres of elevation it is only a short climb, this meant a whopping 261 repeats were needed for the Everest. After some recon rides, the crew all fell in love with it!
The climb is more challenging than the average 6% gradient suggests, it’s split into three sections - the middle section is quite steep at around 10% and the first and last sections less so at around 4-6%.
BOXING DAY – THE START
Melbourne’s weather threw some unusually bad summer weather our way, and the weather was highly unstable with heavy winds battering us from the south-west. On the steepest part of the climb we copped a stiff cross wind that made the going extra tough. The wind had a bite to it and I could feel that it was costing me valuable energy trying to stay warm.
The plan was to pick the right pace right from the start, but the best laid plans of mice and men……..
Just before 7:00pm a contingent of Hells 500 riders descended on Brimbank Road to join in the Everesting party, and there were some very strong climbers amongst them. Adrenaline was high which resulted in some higher than preferable pacing early in the Everesting challenge. Given the tough conditions this was not going to be an easy Everest.
The weather fined up for the briefest of moments as we were treated to a brilliant sunset as the riders prepared themselves the overnight section, where they would have to battle fatigue. Deciding to ride through the night is no easy feat. Most of us are used to sleeping through the night and you can experience your own private hell trying to stay awake throughout the night.
Four plus hours in, the Hells 500 boys had left, and everyone had settled into their own pace.
One downside to this Everest was the fact the park has no lighting. It was lucky that there was a full moon, yet with close to two dozen riders on the road, I found it a challenge to adapt to the night. Every time I’d pass a rider coming the other way I found myself blinded by their lights. There were two speed humps on the climb that proved to be a challenge.
It was a very fast speed descent, and bunny hopping across either of the speed humps could send you flying up to 2 metres. When you’re in mid-air and can’t see the ground below and you really needed to have nerves of steel for the landing.
I was a bit saddened to have to leave shortly after midnight after completing 80 laps and over 2,500 vertical with the team. I had fun and the riders were looking pretty strong when I left them and followed their exploits on social media the following day.
12 HOURS - MORNING
I spoke with the crew the next day. The weather had cleared during the night and turned into perfect riding conditions. It wasn’t easy and some of the riders battled fatigue and many breaks were needed throughout the night.
As with any Everest attempt, it was the final 2-3,000m that became the real challenge, as bodies and minds started to fade. They all dug deep. VERY DEEP. It was a strong group and all who started finished.
Frank, Kristen, Andre and Marlon completed their Everest between 19-25hours, while Brad went on to complete 10,000m in 22hours!
Amazingly, David Januszkiewicz turned up to Sherpa for the event. He was a super Domestique and an accidental Everester as he continued to knock lap upon lap in support of the team until he also complete the 8,848m Brimbank Everest challenge!
The support they received was astounding and all of the riders said they were blown away by the turn-out. Kristen Slade told me that the support really made the world of difference to her, and really helped to get her through some tough times, and made the difference between failure and success.
Brad Akers remarked at the level of support that they received from people they had never ever met before. Friendships have been made and Brad said that he now has some great new riding mates as a result.
One of the greatest things about the whole Everesting phenomenon is the impact it has on the cycling community. This Everest brought a climb that many people never knew existed and put it on the map.
Close to 50 riders came down to Brimbank Park over the weekend, which was climbed 3,236 times that weekend. If you weren’t able to make it down on the day, we would highly recommend that you make a detour.
Check out the guys rides in the Everest Hall of Fame.
Thinking of taking on an Everest? Check out our guide here to help get you through.
As is becoming the norm on Everest attempts, but is by no means normal, a big thank you to the Hells 500 crew for giving up their holidays and free time to support others meet a challenge.