(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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
I 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!
Part 1 of Sunset Drive:
sunset drive everesting slog
Part 2 of Sunset Drive: