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FEATURE ❘ EVERESTING


Nick Gowan of Start-Line MTB in Tignes, France is a seasoned mountain man. During summer he organises a challenge where he and the other Tignes based bikers descended the height of Everest using ski lifts to take them up. He told us that this challenge was tough but Everesting?? The fact Nick was concerned started to ring alarm bells in our heads. This comes from a man who effectively has been riding a bike for a living since 2004! The great thing was, Nick decided to extend his stay to watch the pain. Not being one for slouching around, he offered his support and assistance in bike preparation and logistical operations. Nick also decided he would ride every other lap up and down, the equivalent elevation of Mont Blanc (4,810m), no mean feat in itself. The lead up week to the ride we had decided was not about riding time; that was all done now. Eating was paramount and staying off the beers was certainly going to help. Pasta, fish, tatties and veg were


order of the day, with some porridge and ridiculous amounts of water thrown in for good measure. The Wednesday before, Colin injured himself playing football, Nick had a cold as one does when they travel out here and my recurring herniated disk problem had flared up. So was this our luck turning against us?


On the day of the event, we were awake early with a view to leave Dubai no later than midday with bikes and all our supplies. We drove to the base of the mountain and set up camp, we had our foods, liquids, spares, tools, kits and all necessary supplies ready to be accessed. A further 30 litres of water needed to be dropped at the top to assist with hydrating on the way down in preparation for the next ascent. At 4.20pm on Sat 18th, the temperature was a mild 30oC and we set off on our first ascent. Nick, riding Colin’s hardtail mountain bike, accompanied


on this ascent. We reached the top in high spirits after 1hour 50 minutes. By now the light was fading and only one of us had taken lights – our first schoolboy error, we had misjudged the daylight hours. What other problems would we face throughout the following 8 ascents? The descent, in twilight saw me in front with Colin and Nick following in my light. At speeds of 50-60 kph, the descents would provide an opportunity to let our hair down and re-hydrate. At the bottom we picked up more energy gels, refilled our bottles, drunk coconut juice, stretched, put lights on the bikes and we were good to go again. The next lap would be undertaken


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