• Race Report: Everest Challenge 2013 Clydesdale Division

    Goal: Ride the Everest Challenge at 200+ lbs.

    So, why would anyone want to climb 29,035 feet weighing more than their usual riding weight?

    Glad you asked. You see, Bishop is a freaking furnace, and I was absolutely scared shitless thinking about riding the last climb to the ancient bristle cone forest in August. As anyone who's ridden with me knows, I melt like butter in the heat, so I figured if I rode with the big boys at least I would start as early as possible.

    What about the ice cream?

    Yes, admittedly that was a big part of choosing this goal too. I realized that to reach my goal I would have to purposely avoid shedding my winter fat, and eating ice cream would be ideal for keeping the fat on. I love ice cream...

    Excuses: Many

    After two good months of training, I had the worst month leading into the Everest Challenge imaginable. First, I had a business trip immediately followed by a ten day family vacation where I strained my right knee. After returning, I rode easy for two days and then wreaked that knee on a double Diablo with Dana and Mike. After another easy week trying to rehab my knee, I tried testing it on a steady climb up Mt Rose in Tahoe, and again it hurt. So, the last week was again focused on rest and rehab.

    Really, you were fat, under trained, and gimpy, and you still decided to try the Everest Challenge? Are you an idiot?

    Why, yes, I am an idiot. I am also a working stiff with a mortgage and three kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family (why else would I start all my rides before 6 am?), but the Everest Challenge is the one weekend I have to hang out with the guys. I didn’t want to miss the good times rolling along in Paul’s Endurance van.

    Day 1 Ride: Surprise! I actually finished!

    Breakfast: 2 bowls of yogurt and granola, two bananas
    Ride: 11 bottles of water or Cytomax, 1 banana, 4 Clif bloks
    Post ride: soup, two bananas, 2 cookies
    Dinner: Minestrone soup, Spaghetti with Bolognese, 1 slice of Pizza

    On our warm up ride on Friday, someone on the front decided to “open it up” a little, and my strained knee said, “No thanks.” So, I knew an endurance pace would be the absolute maximum and targeted 275-285 watts. Even going slow, I thought I would probably quit after the first climb. Here’s how I did:

    Total Elapsed time: 7:21:28 (Ride Time: 7:09:19)
    Climb 1: 2:00:23, 280 watts
    Climb 2: 1:00:46, 279 watts
    Climb 3: 2:37:34, 250 watts

    What happened on the 3rd climb?

    HEED, that's what happened. At the top of the first climb I accidentally took a bottle full of HEED, and felt incredibly bloated, so I didn’t drinks as much as I should have during the second climb and started cramping a little on the last one. Luckily, after a concussive blast of flatulence midway up the third climb, I could at least start drinking again, but I still had to stay below 250 watts to keep the cramps at bay. As always, never, ever drink HEED during the Everest Challenge.

    Day 2 Ride: Surprise again! I finished!

    Breakfast: 2 bowls of yogurt and granola, two bananas
    Ride: 12 bottles of water or Cytomax, 1 banana, 4 Clif bloks
    Post ride: soup, two bananas, Pizza
    Lunch: Pastrami Sandwich, Potato Salad
    Dinner: Chicken burrito, strawberry shake.

    As Mike said in his race report about the 3rd climb, “it is beyond comprehension.” So, I lowered my target watts down to 265-275. Unlike the first day, though, I was now confident my knee would hold together if I kept it steady. Here’s how I did:

    Total Elapsed time: 6:54:45 (Ride time 6:35:44)
    Climb 1: 1:22:13, 276 watts
    Climb 2: 1:20:42, 269 watts
    Climb 3: 2:34:40, 261 watts

    OK, now for the best part of the ride. At the finish, MC Genius settled down into a chair, started rifling through his backpack, and pulled out four slices of pizza gloriously wrapped in shiny tinfoil. MC Philanthropist could see the longing in my eyes and offered me a slice. Damn, that was wonderful!

    Did you end up beating the other Pillsbury Doughboys?

    Yes, but sadly I was the only one on the podium, not that there was actually a podium for us. Of the six registered, only two others finished the first day, and no one else finished the last day.


    The whole weekend far exceeded my expectations. The guys were great, the weather was cooler than expected, and miraculously my knee was just fine. I’m still giddy just thinking about how much fun it all was.

    Next year, though, I’m racing the 35+ with Mike, and I’m definitely not doing it above 200 lbs. Slowly chugging up the hills just isn't that much fun. Sadly, I’m afraid I’ll have to cut back on the ice cream. Oh well.

    - Craig