2020 has been a year of constant change and challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we’ve gotten deeper into a year without physical finish lines to cross, we’ve had to get creative in order to come up with challenges that give us that deep sense of accomplishment that comes from pushing your limits to new heights. One challenge that has risen up is the concept of Everesting. This challenge involves, in a single session of biking, climbing the total elevation of Mount Everest: 29,029 feet. Now, whether due to pandemic limitations in outdoor time, dwindling daylight, or a multitude of other reasons, many athletes have opted to perform their attempts on Zwift, earning the title vEveresting.
As we got into the depths of summer, Rob Piperno, Chris Eckett, Kelly and I took on the Tour du Virtuel stage race. During the course of our three week adventure, Chris and Rob started to get the germ of an idea: if we’re riding so much volume as it is, should we take a crack at vEveresting? We started to look at the idea, their training loads, their suffering, and the requirements for it to count (e.g., you must repeat the same hill multiple times for your attempt, trainer difficulty settings, etc.). We decided to push both of them toward that goal.
What does training for a vEverest attempt look like? As you can probably guess: a lot of bike riding with a lot of climbing. Even though your bike position indoors isn’t changing much, the gradient changes felt through a smart trainer do force you into some slightly different pedaling mechanics. Cadence suffers. Strength is the name of the game here. There were multiple rides involving multiple climbs up Alp d’Zwift or Ven-Top. There were many texts back and forth about the best hill to select for an attempt, as well as equipment choice in game (after all, what would a cycling challenge be without figuring out the best bike and wheels to ride — Chris finally got the elusive Meilenstein wheels after 13 climbs of the Alpe).
As we approached October, we made the decision that Chris would move forward with an attempt to vEverest, with Rob pushing his attempt to spring. Chris will be riding this Saturday, November 14th. He’s also doing it as a fundraiser for Team Make Your Mark, for the Lupus Foundation of America. He’s got 8.5 laps of Alp d’Zwift ahead of him on Saturday. If you’re on Zwift, please give him a Ride On or even choose to join him for a trip or two up the Alpe.