I’ve got soul, but I’m not a climber; Everesting Sunset Drive.

(Title in reference to the song ‘All the things that I’ve done,’ The Killers. This always gets stuck in my head particularly on long climbs)

Last Thursday I everested Sunset Drive. Everesting is essentially picking a climb of your choice and climbing it in a succession of repeats until you’ve reached the accumulated total of 8848m; Mt Everest. Why 8848m? Well it’s quite the obscure form of measurement / monument / symbol to say that you’ve climb the equivalent height of Mt Everest in one ride!

Why I chose to climb Sunset Drive was mostly because I’ve hated the steepness to it (never had a quick time up it) yet I’ve loved riding up it and coming back down with the views across to Racecourse Mill and to the north across the Pioneer Valley. It also remind me of the bergs in Belgium, but no pave’. The fact that it’s 800m long and averaged 9.6% with an elevation gain of 84m meant it would be 106 repeats, with my concentration span I thought that be enough. Most of the time there is also a south easterly wind which would aid with climbing especially just after the steep part as it turns left and shallows out. It was a dead windless day. The bike I used is my Giant Defy Advanced SL 1 which I’ll be racing with for the Transcontinental. More on the bike in a future post real soon.

everesting calculator
Some loose stats.

What does one need to undertake a ride like this? Well I just figured I’d pack the same / similar foods when doing longer mountain bike races like Hot Rock 24hr in Townsville I had raced a month ago and have the same pit stop set up with my giant xtc and tcr bikes as backups for any bad mechanicals. Being a ride in training for The Transcontinental Race next month I wanted to fix any mechanicals to the best I could and keep riding.

6am Kristen and I arrived at the top of Sunset, set up and I rolled down to the bottom of Sunset. 6.45 and the beep of the Garmin went off, I’ve started – this is gonna’ be a big day. First lap up 4:58 to the top feeling good, second lap up 5:07 – time will keep on slippin, slippin from here on and it was the second the descent my first highlight of the ride that woke me up a little more. A roo came through the fence and across the road in front of me. Braking down to 35km/hr from about 70km/hr it’s come skidding across to me and I’ve managed run over it’s tail and and leg luckily putting me on a driveway and along the grass for a bit. And the roo took off, crazy!

After about 14 repeats, I decided to stop for a quick bite to eat and decided every 10 repeats I’d stop just to get a quick bite / stock up. A few of those small breaks started to extend out, particularly when the residents come up and ask what I was doing and soon the odd banter, car horn, wave and resident dogs all came out to cheer on throughout the day.

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4500m! Equivalent height to Mt Wilhelm, PNG. Pop Corn is good! Keep on mooshing! #thedojolife

First lap after lunch break I punctured and from here on things started to make a turn. The following lap my handle bars moved towards the bottom of sunset right at the point you need to brake hard before the intersection, shit! Bars fixed, Not long later a couple of spokes became loose and then a few more from a recent wheel rebuild. Patience is a virtue. Time was not on my side today but I was still enjoying every moment. Fixed the spokes, and was quite happy as all I could think anything could happen on Transcontinental so why not play it as anything can happen here; play it as it goes. Then boom around 3pm, 7.5hrs of ride time 96km / 5200m the Garmin died, ouch!

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Ticking off.

Spare Garmin on and off I went again, and by this stage I was starting to zig-zag the first half of Sunset Drive. Kristen started to do a few repeats with me for company which was great fun, and she was killing me up the hill! Coming into the evening of Thursday I was really starting to slow down, and decided to start taking in some caffeine, yet the dutchman Jan who lives at the top is rattling off a list of Belge biere’s for me to try as I quickly loop around the top while drinking the coke. Damn you Jan, I’ll have my belge biere soon!

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It was around 70 laps down 38 to go where things just felt like time had stop and I was going no where, the bonk was setting in perhaps? This dragged into around lap 87, 88, 89, 90………91, 92, 93……..95, 95, 96, 97, and whoah 10 to go! I was stopping around every 7 laps as I was having trouble with my left knee but thankfully my physio girlfriend Kristen was there on hand to free it up 🙂

10 to go and it started to rain fairly moderately. There was no way in the world I was stopping, get the jacket on and keep on riding, The rain meant taking a little bit more precaution coming down the hill but it really did feel like it broke the monotony of the repeats, it felt different, I felt different like some energy had come back with the rain. My support crew of Kristen and my folks helping out through the night I’m pretty sure thought the exact opposite and probably wanted out for home! haha.

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Have I done enough?

108! Have i done enough? With the first Garmin dieing I could not remember if I had done 5000 or 5200m, I was bemused. The paper we had been tallying up had said I had done enough, but I just didn’t want to be that one guy who everested and miscalculated his laps by 50m, go back down and do another! Another I did, and where that last 400m shallows out from the first half became a blur of thought and evaluation. I did it, 18hrs later, 15.5hrs of ride time, 171km and 9094m. Everested!

To have done this for myself was quite the achievement with training at the moment, I would have liked to have done it a few hours quicker but regardless of time it’s all about putting the hours in, just keep on riding and enjoying what ever comes my way and deal with it which has made me quite happy with what I did last Thursday. I have already started looking into another Everest somewhere, time will tell.

“Some medals are pinned to your soul, not your jacket..” Gino Bartali.

IMG_0579I would like to thank my girlfriend Kristen for being there pretty much the whole day from making the bacon & egg muffins to running up and down sunset playing some sweet tunes as I rode past to doing 7 repeats with me, fixing my knee and smashing lollies into my mouth when I hit the hurt box at one stage, And finally my folks for helping the last half of the day, they are always there!

Thanks also to Corry Cycles for the bike and services and the little things I learn every time I go into the shop knowing that I may have to use when I’ll be racing the Transcontinental Race in a month’s time. Keep on mooshing!

STRAVA LINKS

Part 1 of Sunset Drive:
sunset drive everesting slog

Part 2 of Sunset Drive:

sunset drive everesting part 2 slog

What got stuck in my head…

a few randonneuring & meanderings

2014 ‘Credit Card Ride’ Sydney to Melbourne via the Alps. 1500km / 15500m over 8 days pub and bakery hopping with mates enjoying the all things about the bike.

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 2013 Randonnée of Europe (Approx Bike 6000km / 70000m, Car 13000km)

 Overall the trip to Europe with my mate Dave Molle consisted of riding and holidaying in the places we’ve wanted to visit based off all the cycling we’ve watched on tv, live and breathed for, staying in the places from 7 – 12 days at a time to fulfil the local culture of that area. So after a bit time in the UK we rode our bikes onto the ferry across the channel and leased a Peugot wagon for 3 months and road tripped around starting in Girona, Spain across to Mt Ventoux then up into Flemish soil for Holy week and the Ardennes Classics. Switzerland, Austria, Italy into Tuscany up into Lake Garda, and to the alps for the Giro where we made Bormio our base for training (Cent Cols) and awaiting for Stage 19 over the Gavia & Stelvio passes but cancelled due to the bad weather. So forth we created our own epic day of riding. Finally we made our way to the French Riviera for the Cent Cols Challenge.

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                   Passo del Gavia 2621m ­-12˚(Cancelled Giro Stage 19).

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2013 Rapha Cent Cols Challenge Southern (French) Alps 2100km / 41800m / 10days

If a time trial is the race of truth, these 10 days were the definite ride of soul searching and finding what can be achieved with focus and determination. There were hours of dead legs, strain and wondering of if I could ever pull through. But there was magic of this ride life being on the road and taking in the beauty of the mountains, the people we rode with and the elements we experienced. Enduring pain and suffering for glory in addition with the exhilaration of finishing every stage are key aspects of the sportive that are unforgettable.

Various work locations; Pilbara WA, North QLD and Papua New Guinea

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(H)Ardennes Challenge, Belgium 1000km / 16000m

Phil Deeker, creator of the Cent Cols Challenge organised this training camp to ride and watch the Ardennes classic races as breaks in between. The Fleche Wallonne and Liege – Bastogne – Liege Sportive being the day of changing my mindset of these all day long distance rides and climbing I have become to enjoy. We rode through some magic country nestled in the bottom half of Belgium sometimes dabbling into Luxembourg or into Holland for Amstel Gold.

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2012 Crocodile Trophy

A true test of bike racing and skill over the 9 days/ 1000km passing through lush rainforest of Cairns and technical single track into the barren bush up to Mt Mulligan eventually Cooktown hitting steep short and long climbs while giving that euro race feeling from the origins of the riders. The race showed me what really could be done on a bike if you really did enjoy it. The being dropped, then trying to chase back on, the brutal conditions of riding in our backyard and our team camaraderie and fellow riders pushes me to ride more.

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