[Andy Rogers is a photographer and cyclist living in Melbourne, Australia. He joined the Speedvagen family last year and has been making us proud ever since. Here, he makes his debut on Speedbloggen. You can follow him on Instagram & Twitter: @FameAndSpear]
Andy putting in the time. Photo: Caz Whitehead
Everest. The name alone inspires excitement and fear into most, but into a few it’s a Siren’s song. Looming 8848m (29092ft) above sea level, Everest stands as the highest point on our planet. Many people have endeavoured to scale to the summit and a very committed few have accomplished this mammoth task. Pushing the limits of the human body to the extreme, attempting to climb to the summit of Mt Everest is seen to be one of the most physically and mentally demanding things we as humans can attest to accomplish.
Everest. Something about the fear, the inspiration, the mythology surrounding this mountain caught the attention of Andy Van Bergen, one of the faces behind a Melbourne cycling ‘cult’, Hells500. The Hells500 bunch have become well known in Melbourne, and around Australia, for their love of climbing mountains and their tendency to take things to the next level – and then some. Each year Andy will devise what he refers to as ‘The Hells500 Epic’. Varying year-to-year, the Epic is a challenge curated to test to limits of cyclists in the hope of proving to themselves what they can accomplish on a bike and as a reward, be honoured by the ‘grey stripe’, a variant of the Hells500 jersey reserved exclusively for those with the personal strength to complete an Epic.Andy took things to a whole new level earlier this year when he announced what would be the next Epic; Everesting
The premise; in a single ride, one must complete repeats of the same climb until they have climbed the equivalent of Everest. 8848 vertical meters. But only the first to complete a particular climb would go down in the Hall of Fame. Everesting isn’t about who did it second or third or seventeeth. “History only remembers firsts.” With a day planned, ambitious cyclists Australia-wide began putting their names down on climbs hoping to again, prove to themselves what they were capable of. The Everesting day was a massive success with 65 riders heading out to tackle their own chosen Everest. Due to the success of the initial day, Andy made Everesting a permanent addition. Since February 27th, 70 completed Everest rides have been logged. Most in Australia but spanning the world with New Zealand, England, The USA, Norway and most recently Russia having their own inductees.
Photo: Gene Bradley
I myself have been tossing the idea around in my head. Which climb would I do? Long and low, or short and high? How would my body cope? Could I even do this? A few weeks ago I decided there was no point spending my time feverishly running over these questions in my head because I would never find the answer. The only way to know for sure, was to try. So on the 11th of June I will attempt to Everest my chosen climb. Cat 3. 2.7kms. Avg. gradient of 6%. 181m gain. With estimations, to reach my goal of 8848m, (I will climb ~9000m just to be safe) I will require 49 repeats. 266kms. An estimated riding time of ~12 hours. This will be longest ride I’ve ever attempted and the longest time I’ll have ever spent on my bike. Previously my largest and most challenging ride was in December of last year where we rode Mt Hotham and Mt Buffalo in the Victorian Alps. This was 8 hours of riding time, 190kms and 3300 vertical metres. To say I’m nervous is an understatement. Not only will I be facing a serious physical challenge, I feel the bigger battle will be the one I have with my mind; trying to keep myself distracted from the numbers that will try and find their way into my head.
If I complete this daunting task, I will be the youngest person worldwide to Everest (21) and, as far as I’m aware, the first of the Speedvagen family. Whether or not I succeed is yet to be seen but hopefully my tale will stand to inspire the rest of our wonderful Speedvagen family to go out and push themselves to places they never thought they could take themselves.Check back for a write-up on my ride as well as some photos. Let’s see how this all turns out.
Take it to 11!