This is a copy of Coach Chris’ blog post from June 27th, 2020 after his first ever Virtual Everesting (vEveresting). Scroll below for the 5 key tips that helped him complete this epic challenge!
THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!
What an adventure Virtual Everesting was… climbing up over 29,029 feet (the height of Mount Everest) in a single 13-hour bike ride across 140+ miles! Best of all we exceeded expectations with some great money raised for Hope for Justice – not bad for going out on one little impromptu bike ride up the equivalent of Mount Everest!
LIVE BROADCAST CLIPS:
In case you are wondering what this event was all about, here are some links to video clips that feature a few of the moments HOPE FOR JUSTICE connected with me & Shelley during the live broadcast… these include some great videos during the commercial breaks that talk about the charity & cause behind this crazy event:
(where they first chat with me 5hrs in and then tell me I will “pay for it later” as I’m “destroying the hill” and “showing off for the world”! ;-P):
(where they chat with me again): https://youtu.be/yND73ispg48?t=2494
(another chat, where Shelley decides to sign up!): https://youtu.be/yND73ispg48?t=5368
(final clip, where they cheer on Shelley for being the final sign up!)
MY EVERESTING – BY THE NUMBERS (for the data geeks):
I rode 141.5 miles in Zwift, virtually climbing a total of 29,170 feet. I simultaneously had my power data feed into ROUVY to see how many “real world” miles I would’ve covered of “normal” flat/hilly terrain… and it ended up as over 202 miles of total cycling… I covered almost all of the new Ironman VR courses in one day! The actual, official “Everesting” attempt to hit 29,029 ft (8,848 meters) will show as 12 hours and 41 minutes. I rode a little extra just to make sure it counted fully, so I started at 7:27am and finished exactly 13 hours later at 8:27pm. This included about 2 hours of downhill, rest breaks, and the lead-up ride to the start of the climb.
I definitely could’ve tried to save a bit more time here and there cutting some of the breaks and lead up out, but my main goal was to do this “safely” as a bit of an experiment to see if I could “negative split” the 8 full climbs, which I managed to do (technically and barely)! The first 4 climbs took 5hr 2min, and the last 4 full climbs up the Alpe took 4hr 58 minutes. I knew my metabolic efficiency pretty well thanks to being a numbers-driven coach and certified Metabolic Specialist myself (I’ve done about 30 VO2 tests on myself in the last 8 years), so I was able to pace almost every climb split within about 2 minutes and actually paced half of them within just 7 seconds of each other by sticking to the plan! The only outlier was the final climb at about 5 minutes slower than the rest – and that was probably because I took a longer “real food” break and had some mac & cheese + mashed potatoes for my final fueling up!
My five biggest Virtual Everesting tips if you ever try this yourself in Zwift:
1. STAY DRY (KITS & TOWELS) + CHAMOIS CREME
Change into dry kits every 1.5-2hrs to avoid saddle discomfort (every 10min descent of the Alpe is perfect for this!)… and use lots of chamois creme!!! It was silly, but fun to actually use 9 different kits during this whole adventure – drying off completely after every “lap” and changing into a clean kit w/ chamois creme helped me feel “fresh” an re-energized every climb. I even had to do laundry twice during the ride in order to have fresh towels for drying off, and also for my bike – but it was well worth it!
2. SCHEDULE & PLAN EVERYTHING (FUEL, HYDRATION, HR and POWER)
Schedule out and stick to your fueling plan, break time routine, & have a clear negative split pacing plan! Resist the temptation to start faster when you’re fresh… always start slow and watch both power and HR! My plan was to keep HR between 60-70% of Max (based on LT at 90%) and Power 65-75% of FTP the whole time, and I also tried to negative split each of the 21 switchbacks on the climb (add 1 watt every switchback) to stay focused. The 13-15% grade sections are very hard when you’re 10+hrs in, so you need to save the legs for those last steep sections on your final climbs! For fueling I used primarily a combo of amino powder in 1 bottle and a second bottle of Tailwind (2 bottles total per climb), plus I had a 24g protein shake every 2-3 climbs (3-4hrs) in order to have regular “meals” that I could digest & absorb quickly. I had some other snacks too (chips, gummies, etc.), but my main, consistent fueling plan was Amino+Tailwind+ProteinShakes with about 24oz of fluid every 45mins.
3. TEAMWORK & A GOOD CAUSE HELPS!
Ride with other people for support… and a meaningful cause for motivation! Hope for Justice and the Hope Challenge 2020 crew did an amazing job getting over 150 riders to join in various capacities, with a 12+ hr Zoom chat and live broadcast to keep us entertained! It was also great to see Shelley, Jacquie, John, and several others ride with me throughout the day in Zwift!
4. TEST RIDE AT 100% TRAINER DIFFICULTY (RESISTANCE SETTING)
One of the “rules” of vEveresting is that in order to record an “official” result into the Hells 500 Everesting Hall of Fame you have to use a smart trainer that can simulate the hills at 100% difficulty to simulate the “real world” – basically you have to make it as hard as you can possibly make it in order to replicate what it feels like to climb Mt. Everest! I didn’t realize this until 2 days before, so quickly got in 1 lap of the Alpe the day before for simulation and it was an eye opener! So do at least one test run of your climb at 100% trainer difficulty and at least two or more “double” and “triple” Alpe rides to practice your pacing & fueling plan before attempting a full virtual Everesting – so you know what you’re getting yourself into! This video is a bit geeky, but gets into the science of figuring out how to be the most efficient you can be in terms of cadence, etc. based on how steep this type of climbing is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu0D0hyP9UY
5. WEIGH INS & TRACKING
Track your splits and weigh yourself after every climb to keep yourself accountable with the effectiveness of your hydration & fueling plan! I lost no more than 0.4 lbs per climb… starting at 163.6 lbs and finishing at 163.3 lbs, losing just 0.3 lbs overall from start to finish. This is definitely one of the reasons why I felt good from start to finish… and was even able to host my weekly “Endurance Sports Trivia Night on Zoom” during my final climb and celebrate with friends after instead of collapsing!
STRAVA RIDE INFO:
EVERESTING HALL OF FAME: