FI wanted to challenge you to ride your bicycle. Question: what is the hardest part of a ride? Answer: Hills!
How would you handle riding up and down a hill for 12 hours? There are mountains of endurance challenges to choose from. Some are public events, such as the 42km marathon. In this event everyone trains and turns up on race day. They compete for the prize of running under the finishing banner. For their endurance they earn a finisher's medal presented to them in front of the crowd.
Then there are the private events that few have heard of. One such event gaining attention is "Everesting." Mt. Everest is the highest point on planet earth at 8800 metres. To "Everest" means to climb that almost 9km of vertical ascent. Some even try this on the bike.
So a friend tells me he wants to make an Everesting attempt on his bike. The equation is that he finds a hill near his house in the Dandenong Mountains, Melbourne. He works out the altitude gained in that climb via his GPS and multiples it to get the number of repeats for 8800m. He works out his bike gear ratios, picks a fine day, and sets up his food and drinks stored in the car at the bottom of the street. Then he rides his bike, up.
Inverness Rd, Mt Everlyn averages around 10% gradient with a maximum of 20% at the end. And the maths tells him he has to do this 40 times. This will take close to 12 hours including a few stops for food and drinks.
This is a mammoth task all done in the back streets of Melbourne with no crowds or medals. His first attempt last Tuesday saw him start at 4am. By 8.30am he had already climbed 3000m. Then the local council workers appeared and closed the road to cut down some trees. Disappointed! You can't argue with a man in fluro holding a stop/slow lollipop. So his first attempt ended by morning tea.
Attempt number two started Saturday at 4.10am. Words can't fill in the gap between the struggles to the 5.20pm end. But after 200km and 13hours of riding his bicycle he conquered Everest. Done.
A few thoughts: this is a huge effort. Next time you go for a ride and come to a hill consider what it would take to ride up and down that till you ascended 8800m. And it is an obscure event no one will ever see. It's a private challenge for personal betterment alone.
On a deeper level, it is also a reminder that we are made to dream, create and strive. We are designed to go after goals, no matter how high they seem. And while many ask "Why Everesting?" the answer my friend gives make sense: In a life full of comfort and complacency we need to push ourselves to keep moving forward and growing. This is true for our physical, mental and spiritual health.
So be inspired by this Everesting attempt. And consider climbing for your own physical, mental and spiritual growth. What is your "Everest" you need to tackle? Get on your bike and give it a go.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html