First of all the tough question – It took you 8 hours 46mins and 11 seconds to break the record! You, especially you, can ride a long way and see some pretty epic parts of Victoria in that time. Why the hell would you choose to go up and down Upper Terry's Avenue and see the same scenery so many times? Or asked another way why does Everesting appeal to you?
That's a very good question. I guess it's the appeal of being able to compare yourself to thousands of others around the world through the Everesting set of rules. I too thought it was utter madness when I first heard of it, but on reflection, the madness is also so very appealing. Sort of like a 24hour MTB race, totally insane really, but it gives you tremendous satisfaction to complete one. And you go through some very interesting phases whilst getting through it. I love the long game, and just ignoring the pain and tiredness that sets in, and simply refusing to give up! I also love sense of just you versus the mountain, it's so pure!
Tell us all the little details of Upper Terry's Avenue and being part Aussie do you call it Upper Terry St or does it have a nickname like Tez, Tezza, Terra, T street? What were other hill options you considered for your record?
I just call it "Terry's", but strictly that part of the road is actually called Belgrave Ferny Creek Rd, but it's the continuation of Terry's Avenue that starts in the Main Street of Belgrave. I used to avoid it, due to the ridiculous steepness and it's quite funny that even some pro cyclists avoid the hill for that reason. I've looked at many potential hills, but it's hard to find one that fits all the criteria, this one is close to home, steep enough and just long enough to avoid getting a silly number of repeats.
Did you do a lot of maths to decide on Tezza St? Basing on power/FTP etc or was it more intuitive than that?
I figured it's pretty steep, and it's got a nice "wild bush feel" through the steep part of it. I also love the descent, it's a real thrill every time
Traffic is also not too bad there, and there are not too many driveways interfering with the descent.
This wasn’t your first crack at the Everesting world record? Tell us about your first go?
My first one was at Mt. Donna Buang, where the original Everesting by bike (By George Mallory) took place, so I thought that was a good hill to start with. I did it to get a long ride in as prep for the 24h MTB world champs last year, and also to try this Everesting thing that seemed to be growing fast. Donna is not very steep though, so 280km is always going to take a bit longer... I loved the long climb though, where every climb is like a full journey. Then I did Mt.Baw Baw because it's such an amazing climb, long and steep in a truly stunning setting. But I was keen to do it on a steeper hill to see how fast I could go.
Did that failed attempt have any impact on this successful attempt?
Certainly, I did not feel quite right on that day in September, and I've learned a lot from it. It felt so hard to walk away after 45 repeats that time, but something was not right and it was definitely the right decision. I had been sick for a few weeks prior to that attempt and I clearly was not well enough to push the body to that extreme. The seizure I had five days later was such a setback for me, and I even thought my riding days might have been over after talking to the doctors. It took me a long time to be able to trust myself to go hard again, with months of just easy 1-2h rides, but I did a couple of six hour MTB races towards the end of last year and they went well, so from then on I've rebuilt the belief in myself and I've been able to push again without fearing any nasty consequences. So yes it had a great impact, as it made me even more determined to get the record, especially after the long wait and all the uncertainty to finally get it was extra sweet!
Give us the nitty gritty on your everesting…
Time you started?
It was going to get to 36 degrees on the day, so I thought getting an early start was fairly critical, also to avoid too many cars on the road, as traffic generally increases after 10 on a Saturday. I had planned to get up at 3am, have brekky, ride up to the start and kick it off sometime before 4am. As it turned out I woke up at 1am and just couldn't sleep anymore, probably from being too excited. So, at about 1:30am I got up and thought let's do this thing, ignoring the stinging eyes and general tiredness. I think I started the Everesting at 2:17am
Giant TCR Advanced SL0 SRAM Red eTAP, with Curve/Tune wheels, Schwalbe One Tubs, Tune Speedneedle seat, Tune DC-14 QRs. 5.8kg (6.3kg in "Everesting spec" with proper lights and two Garmins) Gearing 50/34 & 11-30t.
No need for that
8 Torq gels, 6 Torq bars and 1 banana. (about 440grams of carbs)
3 large & 4 small bottles with a total of 24scoops of Torq vanilla energy (about 360grams of carbs, and plenty of electrolytes).
Dark thoughts that went through your head during the nine hours?
Mostly dark thoughts in the very dark hours before dawn, thinking that I was not feeling fresh enough initially, and that I was not really ready for this... Also fearing a wombat or wallaby in the middle of the road during the descent, and the possible consequences...
Funny thoughts that went through your head through the nine hours?
When Rod left I thought; awesome "only" 16 odd repeats to go... And the fact that a hairy legged mountain biker in MTB shoes was about to steel a pretty precious road bike record
Did your history of slot car racing help your Everest world record in any way?
Hard to say, but most likely yes