At 8,848m (29,029 ft) above sea level – close to the common cruising altitude for international airliners –the summit of Mt Everest is the world’s highest peak. It was not until 29 May 1953 that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay finally conquered the summit and made it back alive to tell their tale.
Keen road cyclist George Mallory – grandson of the famous mountaineer of the same name who perished on the first attempt to conquer Everest in 1924 – became the first person to repeatedly cycle up and down a mountain until a cumulative altitude gain of over 8,848m was achieved.
Mallory Jr performed this feat on Mt Donna Buang in Victoria on 1 November 1994, climbing to a cumulative 10,840m of altitude. He also reached the summit of Mt Everest itself in 1995 via the North Ridge but rates his “Everest in Melbourne” on a road bike as a much harder feat to have achieved.
His accomplishment in the saddle took 22 hours and 45 minutes with a total distance travelled of 372 km. Since then, well over 200 cyclists have “Everested” on a bike. These days, rides are recorded with a GPS smart phone or bicycle computer and uploaded to Strava, an international online social network for cycling and running athletes.
On Labour Day in October, Carter Capner Law’s Associate, Bart Lee and fellow CCL Cycling club member Ben King set out on their first climb of the steeper back ascent of Mt Coot-tha at 4.13am.
Eight other cycling club members rode with Bart at various times during the day and after 14 hours and 37 minutes, Bart completed his 44th ascent and descent of Mt Coot-tha, the highest altitude gain ever in an Everest ride on the steep “backside” ascent/descent of the peak.
The cumulative altitude gain was 9,136m with over 7,600 kJ (1,820 calories) burned during the ride. Each climb yielded about 200m of altitude gain on the way to the summit, just past the Channel 10 and Channel 10 broadcast studios.
Bart’s Everest ride was fuelled by a combination of H2O, coconut water, salt tablets, oat and nut bars, mango, white chocolate, liquorice, strawberries and cream lollies.
Massive fluid intake was essential with the temperature reaching 33 degrees around midday. Drinking over 14L of water and coconut water in a single day made the salt tablets essential to manage essential electrolytes such as sodium and to keep potentially fatal Hyponatremia at bay.
Bart explains: “Your body loses water as sweat and burns calories much faster than your stomach can absorb what you eat and drink so it’s really about pacing your stomach as well as your legs so you don’t get sick.”
His “Everesting” recovery consisted of two pizzas and good sleep.
Carter Capner Law’s CCL Cycling club (go to strava.com/clubs/cclcycling) has over 50 members. It is free to join with monthly prizes and a subsidised custom Castelli cycling kit for new Queensland members. Join on Strava.