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FEATURE ❘ EVERESTING I


t all started back in July when I saw an article on Facebook about someone in the UK doing an Everest. I mentioned this to Colin my cycling buddy and within an hour we had decided it was on. Together we mountain bike regularly and are two parts of a trio who cycle together. The third part of the trio Philipp, had clearly seen we had no sense and decided this was not his cup of tea, but would do most of the training and come along to laugh at us on the day. We had recently cycled up the serpentine like road of Jebel Jais (UAE’s highest named peak at approximately 1,200m) with much enjoyment, so this became the obvious choice of location for our attempt. The last 200m of the mountain are off road and not suitable for our racing bikes, meaning we would need to ride 22.5km up the mountain at least 9 times to reach the target with a few extra meters to spare.


Picking a date was crucial as cycling in the summer heat would be dangerous and remove any enjoyment from the challenge. Then there were the ensuing engagements and visiting friends and families from the end of October, thus we picked a date of Sat 18th


October and focused all our efforts towards this. The lead time was used to train. On a good week we packed in 400km+ whilst other weeks this could be 150km depending on work commitments. Weekly we would try at least one mtb session at Showka just to break things up and not forget our roots! Throughout the time we also interspersed riding the hill back to back in 40 degrees and high humidity to prepare ourselves. Philipp Holzman, our “sensible” cycling buddy trained with us and offered to be a support rider on the day to boost morale. Andy Fordham from RaceMe had been organising a few long rides at Qudra, such as the 260km ride in August which provided a great test on our endurance levels.


Pretty much every conversation about biking from July to October revolved around our Everest attempt. As the date drew closer work pressures and social engagements were starting to steal those precious hours turning the cranks. Both of us had missed vital sessions thus leaving an element of doubt in both our minds……was this even possible? The weekend before, things got serious and we even cleaned our bikes and prepared


our lists. This process of preparing a list was valuable as it started to raise questions about what and how much we needed. The whole attempt would be futile without a GPS recording device, and then some way of extending it’s battery life. I had done the research and duly purchased spare battery chargers and “on the go” cables that meant we could keep going…………for a very long time. The expanding list of things that could go wrong was growing the more we thought about it, broken chains, tyres, tubes, wheels, brake pads and cables were all potential pitfalls so spares and replacements were sought. Even still, with all this in mind we were not sure if the “on the go” cable would re-set our Garmins so this had to be tested, fortunately it did not. Then there was unplugging the cable, again fortunately it didn’t so we knew we were safe. Speeds were discussed as we can scale the hill quickly but we needed to preserve enough energy for each subsequent climb and so decided to take a more leisurely pace. But how much energy are we going to need? An old friend of Colin’s was visiting the UAE for a week and knew of our challenge.


March 2015 l Cycling World


87


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