“I just climbed 8848 meters, the height of Mt. Everest.”
What a glorious thing to say, isn’t it?
If you had asked me twenty years ago if I thought I could climb Earth’s highest mountain above sea level, I would have laughed at you.
First, how could I even consider it when I didn’t even own a bike then?! And even when I had already successfully completed a few multi-day races, and had gained ultra endurance/cycling experience, I honestly didn't think that I could sit on my bike INDOORS and complete hours of saddle time at home. I’m more of the outdoorsy type of athlete, and I love the mountains!
Twenty years later, I am humbled to say that I’ve successfully completed my first vEveresting attempt with a total moving time of 13 hours and 4 minutes (elapsed time of 13 hours & 46 minutes), a total distance of 133 miles, and an average speed of 9.7 mph.
This official time was recorded and acknowledged under the rules implemented by Hells 500, the creators and custodians of the Everesting concept.
Everesting, founded and purveyed by Andy van Bergen in Melbourne in June 2014, is a community-based challenge for cyclists across the globe. Everesting was founded with the goal to challenge both cyclists and non-cyclists alike to complete climbing the height of the world's highest mountain on one single climb, with no sleep, either on a bike, on foot, or online. It may be completed anywhere in the world, with no time limitations.
Van Bergen officiates the Everesting challenge. He and his wife overlook the entirety of every race, ensuring utmost accuracy and transparency. Many prominent racers, the likes of Jens Voigt, Richie Porte, and Emma Grant, have successfully completed the course, deemed to be the most difficult climbing challenge in the world.
Obviously, this race is not for the faint of heart. To help you, I’ve prepared 7 tips on how you can also set a personal record of your own in conquering the world’s highest mountain. Specifically, taking on the Virtual cycling category challenge.
Remember, these are just tips based on my personal experience. Racing experiences will vary from person to person, so make sure to equip yourself with as much knowledge as you can. I also made a vlog that documented my vEveresting experience. This will give you a glimpse on how I completed the vEveresting course the Feisty Fox way, so be sure to check it out on YouTube here: vEveresting - How to finish it without Injuring yourself.
1. Do Your Research
Make sure you read the terms of the Everesting race. Climbing the height equivalent to Earth’s highest mountain is daunting as it is, much more when you have no idea on what to expect. Learning the nature of the Eversting race helps set you up both physically and mentally.
The knowledge you gain by educating yourself will help you physically for once you have the idea of how this race is administered, you’ll know the materials you have to get, prepare, and set up for the race. You’ll also know the best way to prepare the most important ingredient for completing the race: your own body.
Educating yourself will also help you mentally as it sets your expectations, reinforces your mental preparation, and gives you the champion mindset you need.
It also helps if you read personal accounts, discussions, and stories from people who have completed the race. Mimic their strategies for success, but also take note of those instances that cost them precious time.
2. Know Your Everesting Category
Before signing up for any of the races administered by the Everesting organizers, be sure you read the rules and guidelines of each of the five possible categories: Ride, Run, Virtual, 10K, and Half. Each category is different in terms of how it will be administered. For my very first Everesting, I chose to participate in the Virtual category, vEveresting.
With over 400 successful Everestings, vEveresting is the ride of the future. It virtually mimics the essence of climbing Mount Everest. You pick your Zwift world, ride repeats of a climb in a single activity until you ascend the 8848 miles, and submit your Strava results for approval. You may know more about the Virtual category’s rules, guidelines, and hall of fame by visiting the pages I linked to on the Everesting website.
Early this year, I started my training for my 'A' race this year, 30 Ironman in 30 Consecutive Days (October 30, 2020). However, as soon as COVID-19 hit California, I had to adapt and train indoors. I've continued with the momentum of my training and kept myself motivated by committing to new Get Feisty Challenges every month and continue coaching athletes through the free Feisty Badass Triathlete FB group.
This reason, plus the fact that there’s a COVID-19 lockdown protocol in place, pushed me to try vEveresting. I disliked being on a Trainer or Wahoo before that, but by incorporating discipline habits, I was able to train myself to be okay with it. I was both fascinated and scared of whether I could complete the race at all; and if I could, how long would it take me to finish it. I initially thought it would take me 15 hours to complete it.
3. Set Your Racing Stage
For your vEveresting race, there are four parameters you should check and secure in order to achieve a winning racing stage: ventilation, food/drinks, clothing, and equipment. If you ensure these parameters are successfully prepared, I promise you that your racing will be at its optimum, just like how it was for me.
Ventilation should be given utmost importance to avoid causing any cardiopulmonary or dehydration problems. Make sure to choose a location that is well-ventilated, has the proper cooling in place. Set up fans and air conditioner units to achieve the most desirable racing atmosphere and temperature.
For clothing, be sure to prepare about 3-5 different sets of cycling gear. Make sure the material is breathable, clean and has a sweat-regulating technology as do most racing garments. Have at least two towels at hand. Personally, I also wore my Feisty Fox I Got This wristband to remind me "I got this".
In terms of equipment, be sure that your gear meets the requirements stipulated in the rules set by the Everesting organizers. You are required to enter your current weight at the time of attempt as well as set your trainer difficulty to maximum.
I strongly recommend that your food and drinks should also be prepared and included as part of the vEveresting stage. An in-depth discussion on this is in the next tip.
4. Eat Accordingly
As much as possible, during your attempt, incorporate the nutrition and hydration that you have been using during your training.
Keep in mind that to be successful in any of your key training or races, nutrition is VERY important. You may have trained well but if your nutrition is not dialed in, it can result in you not finishing the vEveresting.
As I teach all my Feisty Fox athletes, the key elements of nutrition during training and racing are (a) fluid, (b) electrolytes, (c) carbohydrates and (d) calories.
Since vEveresting will take an athlete an extended period of time, protein intake needs to be considered and caffeine does help. However, what I just mentioned only covers the TYPE of nutrition.
Besides the type of nutrition, you also need to consider the AMOUNT and TIMING of intake.
If you've considered all these areas during training at the same intensity as you would during vEveresting, then your nutrition will be as perfect as it can get!
My nutrition here works for me but it may or may not work for you. I'm sharing it with the hopes that it will help you consider yours.
For the entirety of the race, my nutrition consisted of the following:
222 oz of custom Infinit Nutrition (about 17 oz per hour)
2 scoops of Plant Fusion protein supplement
1 Beet It Sport
3 Thunderbird Bars
2 Epic Bars
2x 5 oz of coffee in the morning
1x 5 oz of coffee in the afternoon
10 egg whites and 3 whole eggs
3 large potatoes
3 slices of bread
I am happy and proud to say that my nutrition and hydration during my race were perfect. I wouldn't change anything. It was one of the best cycling experiences that I’ve done on Zwift and I was very happy about it. I was very mindful of how I felt with every food item or drink in order to avoid bloating.
If you need help with your nutrition, request to be added to Feisty Badass Triathlete Facebook group. I provide a lot of free nutrition resources in the group. In fact, once you're a member, you also get discount codes for some of my nutrition sponsors!
5. Do Mobility, Stretches and Massage During Breaks
Any athlete, professional or not, will most likely take occasional, timed breaks because it maximizes performance with the promise of reducing risks of acquiring any injuries.
Take note, these are timed and should be executed in the most efficient manner possible. As early as now, plan when you’ll have your breaks, and the particular body maintenance (injury prevention, mobility, stretching) routine you’ll execute. What you do during those times is up to you, but I highly recommend executing body maintenance routines that focus on your "weak link" or your tight muscles. Note that vEveresting rules allows the athlete to get off the bike during the downhill.
During my Everesting experience, I did my body maintenance routines on downhill breaks for about 8 minutes. I focused my stretches on my lower body, particularly the quads, gluteus, hamstrings, and foot muscles. During the race, these muscles will be under tension the most, so be sure to focus on them. As for massage, it’s good if you can do it on your own, but I would recommend seeking help from a companion, especially when you’re targeting muscle knots you alone can’t reach. I have Vineta to thank for my deep tissue massages.
To learn more about Body Maintenance, download this FREE e-book: The 5-Step Formula to Becoming a Badass Triathlete. Body maintenance is step #3 on page 4.
6. Have your Race Approved
According to the Everesting organizers, the spirit of the challenge is “not about trying to find the grey areas, it’s about bleeding out of your eyeballs until you get the grey stripe”.
Due to its virtual nature, the vEveresting race results can be tweaked and manipulated to suit a particular condition. It may be to improve one’s racing time by deviating from the guidelines, or to make a race less difficult by adjusting trainer difficulty. This is inappropriate and merits disqualification. Reasons as such prompted the Everesting organizers to let every racer have his/her results submitted for approval and verification purposes, thereby ensuring the race’s integrity.
Everesting Hall of Fame:
7. Rest, Celebrate, and Be Grateful
After I successfully completed my first vEveresting course, a rush of pride took over; pride that I know I owe a lot of gratitude to people - my family, my colleagues, my sponsors, Vineta for her unwavering support and dedication, and to you who keeps me accountable in delivering not just my average, but my very best in everything I do.
I ate a big dinner, slept for what seemed like forever, and then celebrated the victory together with my family to let them know how grateful I am for their unconditional support.
I did nothing out of the ordinary for my recovery, just a good nights sleep, a deep tissue massage, and a yoga session, headed by our resident Feisty Fox Coaching yoga instructor. This recovery routine got me back up on my own feet in no time, allowing me to attend to my usual day-to-day responsibilities.
This experience just proved, yet again, that what I can achieve is limitless.
Had I settled for my physical and mental limits 20 years ago, I would not have had the humbling opportunity to participate in races such as this one.
I owe it to myself to work hard and not give up when things seem impossible.
If you want to know more about my story as a triathlete and as a coach, visit my Youtube channel. If you like it, hit the subscribe button, and leave a like or a comment in the videos. Also, don’t forget to turn on Post Notifications to get notified whenever I upload a new video.
To watch the YouTube video of this experience "vEveresting - How to finish it without Injuring yourself" watch it here: