Have you thought about taking on Everesting? The ultimate challenge, you against the clock, just the road ahead, your heart beating in your chest.
There is no competitor on the road to pace against, your biggest foe your own constructed limitations. But you can, we all can.
We live in a borderless nation, united by our ideas, our beliefs.
Cycling is a great catalyst for camaraderie.
Maybe vulnerable but never a victim.
United we are, lifting as we climb.
If we stay united, strong and never fall to victimhood or self-sabotaging thoughts, we can all take on an Everesting challenge.
Everesting, in brief, is climbing the total height of Everest, by bike, in one day: 8848 metres/29029 feet. It involves repeating the same climb on one segment of road, up and down. Submit proof of your ride after the event to https://everesting.cc/ to join the official finisher ranks – or even go for the record, if that’s your ambition.
But whether you’re aiming for 7 hours or 17+, NGNM applauds you!
We spoke to two long-distance specialists to get their take on what’s needed pre-, during-, and post your Everesting attempt.
Paola Macedo is a fully-fledged Everester (see her track here) who completed her challenge up Passo San Marco and Valentina Bossola is one of the most inspirational riders we know, whose home away from home is on the mountain roads, and Passo San Marco is one of them!
Everesting Essentials, as told by Paola and Valentina
Pre-Long Ride Nutrition:
PAOLA: I tend to rely on the same breakfast every day, with non-fat Greek yoghurt and honey, plus some crispbread with jam and a glass of milk.
VALENTINA: Before long rides, I’ll always carbo-load for at least 48 hours, upping the quantity of pasta or rice with vegetables for lunch and dinner. My breakfast is always the same: in typically Italian style, it’s quite sweet with yoghurt, cereal, and biscuits plus coffee.
Mid-Long Ride Nutrition:
P.: On my Everesting ride I ate a lot of everything from energy bars, to ham-and-cheese sandwiches, pastries, and a couple of gels.
V.: I load my back pockets with energy bars, cookies, and sweet snacks. If it’s a really long ride, I’ll tuck into a ham-and-cheese sandwich to get some ‘proper’ sustenance in my body. I also usually carry at least one gel, but prefer real food.
If the ride is longer than 6hrs, I usually quickly stop for a coca-cola or whatever else I feel like eating in that moment.
Post-Long Ride Nutrition:
P.: As soon as I get back from a ride I’ll make a recovery shake, then I’ll cook a full meal later on – something healthy, wholesome, and filling. And definitely some cake for dessert.
V.: I’ll fill my plate twice-over with a good, homemade meal to replete the energy that I’ve spent that day.
P.: I have electrolyte powder in my bidon, always. I drank so much during my Everesting attempt – make sure you keep an eye out for where the water fountains are, or where you can refill your bottle during your attempt. In the best-case situation, get a friend to accompany you and make sure you never run out of fluids. You really don’t want that to happen while Everesting…
V.: Before setting off for any ride I’ll make sure I’ve got two bottles filled with soluble lemon tea (i.e. 50 gr diluted in 750 ml) together with 3 scoops of carbohydrate powder. I then take with me a couple of mineral salts tabs for when I refill my bottle at water fountains.
P.: The most important item is your wind-proof jacket, which will save the day when you’re descending and keep the chill of your chest. Plus a good baselayer – this is crucial when you’re climbing. You need it to be technical and able to wick sweat quickly so that you maintain a consistent temperature through the long ride. Last by not least, a pair of quality bib shorts with a chamois guaranteed to last for many hrs on the saddle.
V.: I always take a long-sleeved windproof jacket, as well as a foulard for the descents or if the temperature drops. When you’re climbing you’re very vulnerable to the elements. Everything has to fit inside the second bottle cage along with 2 inner tubes, so compact, low-volume apparel is important. Starting with arm warmers is a really good idea if it’s a chilly morning – these are such a simple item but make a big difference. Also, i'd like to add, that the Performance Bib Shorts have become my go-to shorts for long distance riding. Top chamois quality and perfect fit, i couldn't recommend these enough!
PAOLA: Front and back light. Plus 2 water bottles for Everesting!
VALENTINA: The same for me! Always mount a back light. If needed, a front light as well. One water bidon as the other cage holds my storage tube with the WP jacket and spare tubes.
What we’ve learned from Valentina and Paola is that while the set-up is pretty simple, what really counts is having the right mindset and training, of course. These ladies ride year round short of 20,000km yearly. But this should not discourage you, because anything is achievable if you put your mind on it.
Make sure you are fuelled, your bike lights are charged, you’ve got spare tubes and a windproof jacket, and that your mind is ready for the challenge.
Imagine we are all there together with you, cheering you on from the side of the road, your invisible fans, as United we are, lifting as we climb.
What about saddle comfort?
This is a big concern for many when thinking of taking up on Everesting, especially for us women and our issues with saddle comfort.
We've approached one of the few women bike fitters out there, Natalie Collins from PedalFit in Denver, Colorado, and asked her a few questions... Her replies are filled with pearls of wisdom and ideas to consider for taking on Everesting Challenge in the best possible condition.
NGNM: (provided one has had a professional bike fit already) do you think the bike should be set any differently from an usual ride to face 17hr+ of climbing?
NATALIE: Please remember that disrupting your position immediately before a big event, without the care and attention of your bike fitter, could bring an avalanche of problems to your Everesting experience.
With that said, it truly depends on the comprehensive position that the rider is in.
If the position was dialed-in for endurance rides, on undulating terrain, it might be prudent to shift ever so slightly forward and up a millimeter or two in both directions. This simply counteracts the pull of gravity that is experienced over the long sustained climb. Additionally, those who are using a relatively “flat” saddle might need to adjust the tilt slightly down, by a fraction of a degree, to gain stability that would otherwise be solved by a saddle that has a bit more "shape".
NGNM: any tips you can share about saddle comfort?
N.: Weight distribution in the saddle as well as chamois choice is key to a healthy saddle relationship.
When working with clients I try to maintain no more than about 20-30% of total saddle pressure through the middle section of the saddle. This should be without having to push backwards with the arms or rounding the pelvis to avoid perineum pressure.
If it is difficult for you to find this level of comfort there could be several causes.
Most of us have had our “sit-bones” measured at one time or another, however, this does not simply produce a magic number for choosing our perfect saddle. Each saddle has a “usable-width” which can position the rider very differently based on their interaction between the shape of the pelvis and saddle.
For example, if you are feeling hot spots or interference at the “wings” of the saddle, the area of the saddle that flares out from the middle, it could be too wide for you or you are having to push backwards with your arms in order to use the wider portion of the saddle. This will typically cascades into saddle sores or even ride limiting problems, especially during days with big hill climbs. Furthermore, ensuring a proper chamois fit that stays where you need it during your big days will pay off in big dividends.
NGNM: What sort of physiological preparation would you recommend? – So many hours spent climbing must involve different muscles, is there anything special to think about here?
NATALIE: If you have heard it once you have heard it 1,000 times, core strength is the key to comfort, especially on long climbs.
Core muscles are those that stabilise the pelvis in a neutral position and allow us to balance our bodies comfortably over the bottom bracket of the bike.
Naturally, they need to be able to endure long holding patterns without interfering with breathing. Additionally, one natural consequence of cycling is the adaptive shortening or even muscle inhibition (weakness) that can occur from being bent forward for very long periods of time.
It is very important to find specific mobility and strengthening exercises that counterbalance this effect, especially with regard to the lower back, hamstrings and gluteal muscles.
Do you feel like Everesting is a bit out of your reach at the moment? Joing the 2 Week NGNM Everesting Challenge instead!
Yes, that’s right. Take 2 weeks (instead of 24hrs) to complete 8848m / 29029ft of elevation gain! Sign up for this challenge that starts on July 17 and ends July 26.
Here’s how to do it:
- Join Strava if you’re not on it already (it's free)
- Join our NGNM Strava Cycling Club here (it's free)
- Sign- up for the challenge at this link
- Upload to your profile all of your rides in Strava (make sure to use a GPS enabled bike computer). All of your activities will be automatically listed on the club page as well, so that we can all cheer for you!
You can do it on Zwift (pick Ven-Top as you log in more elev. meters each way up) or real climbs or any combination of virtual and real... it doesn't matter. As long as the elevation gain matches the Everesting one!
Here's your summer challenge, join the 2 Week NGNM Everesting Challenge - July 17-26 2021 and let's celebrate it all together!
Our top picks for Everesting
Ven-Top on Zwift
Length: 20,8 km
Elevation Gained: 1543 meters
Ride It: https://www.strava.com/segments/24682608
Stelvio Pass (from Bormio), Italy
Elevation Gained: 1570 meters
Ride It: https://www.strava.com/segments/5355771
Mount Palomar, Pauma Valley, CA
Length: 11.6 miles
Elevation Gained: 4,236 feet
Ride It: http://www.strava.com/segments/273807
Plan your ride by using this convenient lap calculator to figure out how many laps you need to do!
Have fun and be safe on the road!