This post was going to be about Leadville and the Breck Epic, but that will have to wait. Drew just pulled off a far more nauseatingly epic feat. His story below:
“Everesting” on a bike is not actually climbing Mt. Everest – that would actually be hard. It is an arbitrary and perversely attractive event dreamed up by a group in Australia to climb 8,848 meters (29,029 feet), the height of Mt Everest. The rules say you have to ride the same single climb over & over with no loops (oh and no walking allowed).
First of all, I am not a climber. I am more of a Rouleur – an all rounder. I can climb well enough to get up hills but would have to give up beer & loose 10 pounds to climb any better. That is not going to happen. Climbing 30,000 feet in a single ride is a big epic adventure for me. A pure climber could make short work of this adventure.
Dan Busse, a fellow Alchemista, actually started all this nonsense for me by suggesting the “Flagstaff 100”. His plan was 100 miles of climbing up Flagstaff. Flagstaff is almost exactly 5 miles from Chataqua to the Super-Flagstaff summit. That would take 20 laps & 40,000 feet of elevation gain to complete. That adventure is still completely open for any takers. I ran across the Everesting concept (http://www.everesting.cc) and decided to pare back my attempt to a mere 29,029 feet of climbing. After some night shift brainstorming with the Hooge-master we decided on the classic Flagstaff summit route. I go uphill the best at a moderate grade – 6% to 9%. The Super Flagstaff route kicks up to 16% and I felt I could not maintain that for the required 15 laps.
Sonya Looney design socks – “Do Epic Shit”
Flagstaff is the route ridden as the finish climb of the 2012 Colorado Pro Challenge. The leaderboard for times up this route are full of current & former pro tour riders – Joe Dombrowski, Peter Stetina, Taylor Phinney, Kiel Reijan … The KOM is held by Levi Leipheimer (perhaps a bit enhanced) @ 13:15 from Gregory Canyon to the top of Summit road.
I initially underestimated how difficult this would be. Three weeks ago I made an attempt on this course thinking I would knock it of in 12-14 hours. After 9 hours I was only half way & was 100% cooked. I stopped after 100 miles planning on re-tooling for a more reasonable attempt.
I started this ride at 4pm Friday afternoon and rode very easy or the first few laps. I had parked my car at the top & was easily able to refuel every couple laps. Lights on @ 7:30 for my favorite riding. Night riding on Flagstaff is fun. There are very few cars & there is always a great view of the Boulder lights below. My main worry is critters – primarily deer jumping out but bears & lions do hang out there and the bears would like to break into my car for bit of my food. However, I did not get to see any bear or lions and the deer behaved themselves. I hit my usual 3 AM lull with very heavy legs & really slow laps times. I took a brief break & picked up the pace after the rest. At sunrise the usualSaturday Flagstaff riding crowd showed up. I was getting trounced by hundreds of riders, grand-moms on townie bikes, dads towing Burlies … My goal was a finish – not speed & I rode really, really slow – over & over.
27 laps up & down Flagstaff should get me over 29,029 feet of climbing. I decided to add a safety lap in case there were any errors in my calculations. I did not want to start over again. After 28 laps I had easily reached 30,000 feet of climbing but found myself at 196 miles. I certainly did not want to go all the way back down again so I rode 3 laps on the summit road to pick up 4 miles & complete a double century as well as meet the Busse criteria for the “Flagstaff 100”.
Epically tired now. That was the hardest ride I have every done. Everesting is out there for everyone. You can pick any climb & launch your own project. I’m happy to discuss logistic & will join you for a lap or two but not the whole thing again. A “dirty Everest” would up the adventure level. Maybe Chapman on a mountain bike. Start planning.