I’d done an Everesting. I didn’t think I was going to do another. “Been there, done that” – you know the drill. Then one day on a solo training ride, I got to thinking whether the road I was training on could be Everested. I was cutting repeats on Jells Rd, Wheelers Hill in Melbourne, known on Strava as Horrible Hill. This sucker is 300m long, 47m vert at average 12% and mostly at 16%.
…the seed was planted.
Then I heard a serial Everester had declared that if there was a hill around that couldn’t be Everested, it was Horrible Hill.
…the seed had sprouted.
This was the hill that I had looked at from my childhood bedroom window. This was the hill that I had ridden up every morning when I rode to Uni. This was my hill!
…the seedling was growing fast
After a couple of recon rides doing 20-40% of the Everesting distance, I realised that I could do this. And I could do it FAST. There was only one speed up this hill – any slower and you’d fall over. And even at that speed, the vert simply piled on. The big question was “can I keep pushing that hard for 8848m?”. Even on 34/28 I was down below 50rpm and that’s not my sweet spot.
….the Frankenbike was born
With the help of mates, I managed to pimp my training bike into a Horrible Hill conquering beast. Instead of the normal 50/34 crankset, I ran a single 32T chainring on MTB cranks. Instead of the normal 11-28 cassette, I just put the top 3 sprockets off a 12-30 cassette on. The 30T worked OK, but I couldn’t change gears. No problem there… I didn’t need to. One gear for the climb, and bomb the descent @ 70kph just using gravity. Other mods for the ride:
– Front mech…. don’t need that when you only have one chainring
– Tool kit and pump…. leave them in the car – it’s never more than 300m away and always down the hill!
– Bottle cages….. one is enough when each repeat only takes 4mins !
– Lights….. Bah ! I’ve got street lights
– Brakes…. fresh pads please, I’ve got 200 or more stops from 70kph -> dead stop to get through
The ride was a dream. Started at dusk, and racked up nearly 1000m vert every hour. In the middle of the night I started thinking about going for 10,000m. An hour later I’d given up on the idea as my body decided it would prefer to go bed. But by dawn I was close to 8848m and I was feeling good again. Mates had arrived. Mum had arrived. The sun was up. In a few hours a house on the street was going to be auctioned and I didn’t want to still be there when the crowds arrived!
After 15hrs elapsed / 12hrs 40min moving, the job was done. 10,039m vert in 157km. 213 repeats.
Proud yet exhausted, I packed my trusty steed back into the car, and headed home for a much needed sleep. That was one hell of a night.