vEveresting: You Can Do It!

vEveresting: You Can Do It!

Mt. Everest: 29,029’ (8,848m) of awe-inspiring, difficult, adventurous, dangerous climbing… some people have looked at Everest and thought climbing it is necessary. Others call those people crazy! 

Well, call me crazy but I did it. No, I didn’t fly to Nepal and climb the actual mountain. I’m not a former pro athlete or extraordinarily gifted human, nor am I an adventure/adrenaline junky looking for a fix. I’m just a 50-year-old son of God who has a family, a job, a dog, a bicycle, and I landed myself in the Everesting Hall of Fame. And you can too!

The Backstory

Why would I do such a thing? Well, a friend of mine from work invited a bunch of work friends to ride from one side of the USA to the other in an effort to raise money for cancer research. I was excited to be invited by him to do it, only I hadn’t ridden a bike in years. When I was a Boy Scout our troop had ridden from Chico, California up to the north shore of Lake Tahoe (roughly 100 miles). It took us 2 days to ride up but only one day to ride down. I thought I would never do anything that extreme again.

In 2016 I bought my first road bike, a Razik Vortex. It’s a custom frame that I’ll bet you have never seen in person. (My friend Ryun is one of the co-founders of the company and I’m proud to own one of his bikes.) In 2017 I got a new job in Dallas, Texas and moved my family to where the wind never stops and temperatures reach 70 degrees in January. I joined the Shawnee Trails Cycling Club (2018 Bicycle Club of the Year) and learned how to ride in a group.

Then in 2018 I did finally participate in the company bike ride, Boise ID to Salt Lake City UT. We went on to raise over $1 million dollars for The V Foundation that year!

2019 was when cycling really took off for me. I averaged 5 rides and 100 miles per week. My uncle had shown me his Wahoo Kickr and Climb setup, and introduced me to Zwift. As a video game junkie growing up, I couldn’t wait to get set up, so I begged my wife for an early anniversary/birthday/Christmas present and bought myself a Kickr.

On January 2, 2019, I took my first Zwift ride. 356 days later, I rode my bike up the height of Mt Everest.

Everesting is described as fiendishly simple, yet brutally hard. Ride hill repeats on any hill anywhere in the world (or on Zwift) in a single activity until you climb the equivalent height of Mt. Everest. The concept was created by Hells 500, who also control the induction into the Hall of Fame. Everesting.cc contains the rules to follow. Once you are inducted you are worthy to wear the Grey Stripe kit. I can’t wait to get mine.

I don’t know how many have tried and failed, but just over 4,500 Everesters have succeeded and only 360 have been done on Zwift.  I chose to do my first vEveresting (virtual Everesting) on Zwift versus IRL to test my stamina, feed and hydration strategies, and my resolve to actually complete the challenge.  I didn’t raise money for any charity, but many do, and I wish I would have.  I will next time!

Warwick Petschack, a friend of mine in Australia, inspired me while I rode with him as his sherpa on the Alpe du Zwift (ADZ) in Watopia while he completed his vEveresting. After he completed it and was inducted into the Hall of Fame he actually followed up with me and offered to share his planning spreadsheet with me so I could plan my own attempt. He was relentless in his help, encouragement, and patience with me as I peppered him with questions. Without him I don’t know if I would have done it.  Thanks, Wazza.

Ready to go

My Ride

Christmas Eve Eve, the day before the ride I collected all my food/hydration items, charged all of my batteries, stripped down and weighed myself and then calibrated my trainer. The weigh in: 195lbs (88.5kg). My height, static for the last 30 years: 6’5” (196 cm). Yes, I’m tall and thin… but not too thin because I love ice cream and it was Christmas Eve for heaven’s sake so I was enjoying my wife’s wonderful cooking. At 6:30 pm I told my family I was headed to bed, I turned on a couple of fans for white noise and set my alarm for 12:30am.

The journey begins!

Christmas Eve morning, the alarm went off and I went to the kitchen, ate a bowl of oatmeal and headed upstairs to change into my first kit. 12:57am I started riding the Road to Sky route on Watopia. I stayed in Zone 2 with an average heart rate of 120 and max of 135.  I averaged 175-200 watts on the climbs and just under 17 hours total time with 8.5 times up the ADZ, and a little more for luck.

I took this virtual selfie at Dutch Corner #7 with just over 9000m of climbing. I had vEverested!

But that makes it sound so easy. It wasn’t!

What a ride. 134 miles in 15:17:34 of actual ride time, that means my butt was on the seat (or I was standing) for a long, long, long time. A normal butt isn’t used to that, and since my wife tells me that I have no butt, it seemed impossible.

Strategy 1: get off the bike while descending ADZ
Strategy 2: change kits after each third ascent.
Strategy 3: chamois cream!

I chose to start in the dark so I could hopefully have family support at the finish. This meant that the first 4 ascents I was on my own with no pit crew for support.  I turned on my favorite playlist and hit the hill with a measured effort that I could sustain for hours. I planned a bidon of water for each ascent as well as 30-50 carbs per hour. Real foods early in the ride and gels and sugary drinks for later in the ride. 

vEveresters add the tag “vEveresting” to their Zwift profile name which means anyone that sees it knows you are vEveresting and many will ride with you, congratulate you, give you ride ons, or just encourage you to keep going. These wonderful sherpas made it a much more enjoyable experience, especially during the 6th and 7th ascents when it was difficult to want to keep riding and my butt was telling me that I was crazy to push on. A quick shower and kit change between ascents 6 and 7, another application of chamois cream, and I was ready to continue.

Christmas Eve was wearing on and my family was missing me, so I asked my wife to record video of my Zwift arrival at 8848m to which my exclamation of “YESSSSSS!” was well received. I didn’t stop there though. I knew that I needed to ride some more to ensure that I had enough climbing to get me into the Hall of Fame, so I rode on to 9006m and then stopped. I then went downstairs and we watched White Christmas as a family while eating chicken wings and drinking egg nog. Merry Christmas to me!

Fuel for the fight

In total, I ate 2 Clif Bars, 5 granola bars, 3 mandarin oranges, 3 bananas, 1 omelet (thanks dear), 1 Clif Bloks, 1 Gu Chews, 2 Powerade Zeros, 2 Powerade regulars, 2 Muscle Milks and 3 Bob’s Pickle Pops (when my legs started to cramp).

Activity screenshot

Everesting Support

If you are interested in knowing more about Everesting, there are a couple of great FaceBook groups to help you plan. Hells 500 hosts the Official Everesting Discussion Group which includes many helpful posts.  The Zwift vEveresting Planning, Tips & Coordination group, created by Howie Snyder, has great info and their group is vEveresting up the ADZ on Leap Day 2/29/2020. There is also a definitive guide to Everesting posted by Sir Guy Litespeed which is very helpful for either indoors or IRL.

If you are interested, there are other individuals and groups planning their vEverestings and Everestings and I encourage you to join them or choose your own crazy goal for 2020. Make it spectacular, worth working hard for, and go do it! 

Future Plans

As for me, I’m planning my first IRL Everesting for this summer in Utah, USA, where there are some of the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. I will be raising money for The V Foundation and cancer research. 

Want to join me IRL?

About The Author

Ron Chatfield

Ron is just a regular son of God with a fantastic family, a job, a bike, and a dog. He lives in the Dallas, TX area of the USA but will ride anywhere there are great roads. Oh, and he is in the vEveresting Hall of Fame.

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ktrueman
Member
ktrueman (@ktrueman)
1 year ago

That’s so impressive. Can’t believe you only drank 4 bottles of Powerade in all that time. I would have a dozen for sure. Thanks for the tip about getting off the bike while descending ADZ. Makes perfect sense. My best in real life is a 5300M ride in western Maryland over 200km (Diabolical Double). My closest local climb is about 100m so I have been toying with the idea of climbing it nearly 90 times. Still not sure that Everesting is a club I have to be in. I can always make due the 33 marathons under my belt. 🙂

Bobby Mac
Bobby Mac (@rmacdowell1)
1 year ago

Tremendous feat!! Thanks so much for the insight and pro tips 🙂

Matthew Davidge
Matthew Davidge
1 year ago

Superb effort, you make it sound easy, however I’m sure it was not!

PeteK
PeteK
1 year ago

Did you weight yourself after as well?

Dusty Dehare
Dusty Dehare
1 year ago

Climb on!!! Congrats. Maybe one-day l will join the club also.

Carl J
Carl J
1 year ago

This is ridiculously impressive. Just the distance alone on an indoor trainer is no easy feat. And that elevation! My best month is 6,300m, and that’s with riding nearly 1,200Kms/745.65 miles (but then again I avoid long climbs like the plague).

Looking forward to reading about your other rides.

Also curious, did you weigh yourself afterwords? If so, what was the difference?

Alan Farnes
Super Member
Alan Farnes (@alan_taylor_farnes)
1 year ago

I live in Utah. Where in Utah are you doing your Everest attempt? I am planning on vEversting on Feb 29 with a group and would like to Everest IRL too. Great job.

Chris English
Chris English
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Chatfield

Would love ride some of your IRL everest. I’ve climbed just about everything around SLC so could give you beta. Big Cottonwood, city creek, or Emigration big mountain would be my recommendations.

kelly callister
kelly callister
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Chatfield

Thanks for sharing your adventure on Zwift! As a Utahan I’d stay away from Power Mountain. For most people once is more than enough of that climb!!:) I’d recommend Big Cottonwood as well. Good luck!

Scott M.
Scott M.
1 year ago

Ron, Thank you for sharing this great story. I’m a climber when I’m riding the bicycle (that is what I do best) and I really enjoyed reading about your experience.

Cédric Liénart
Cédric Liénart
1 year ago

Hey Ron ! I also did a vEveresting last year on the same climb and finished in roughly the same time as you! I had the same strategy as you: get off the bike for ~10min during each descent, change clothes every 2 climbs, stay in Z2. I reached my goal late in the evening, after 15 hours and 212 kilometers ridden at an average power of 143W. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done! I must have drunk 10 litres and sweated it all out! I lost 2.5kg during the activity. My recovery wasn’t as great as yours… Read more »

Mark Larson
Super Member
Mark Larson (@marklarson44)
1 year ago

Awesome video and congrats on the accomplishment!!!

Oliver Radermacher
Oliver Radermacher
1 year ago

What a great effort and achievement. Very very impressive and cool – but also a bit crazy 🙂 !. But to be honest I think about doing it since a few weeks and maybe I will start it in the next few weeks – on Zwift. Thanks for your great advices and information about all the Groups and Websites. I will take a look at it!. Ride on!

Craig Claussen
Craig Claussen (@cjcjet)
1 year ago

Can you talk about the following couple of days and what you did for recovery?

Craig Claussen
Craig Claussen (@cjcjet)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Chatfield

Thanks. That’s exactly what I needed to know.

Michael Palanza
Michael Palanza (@mpalanza)
1 year ago

Is the planning spreadsheet that Warwick gave you be something you or he would be willing to share?

Danny
Danny
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Chatfield

Hi Ron,
AWESOME ride (CONGRATS!!!) and awesome article!!!
Thanks for sharing!!!
Can you also please email me the planning spreadsheet that Warwick gave you, that you emailed to Michael above?
I have wanted to Everest IRL, but the logistics are way too crazy for me for a lot of reasons. vEveresting is much more attainable with regard to those logistics, even if the feat is HARD, PAINFUL, and CRAZY!!! It gives me something to think about IRL, even if it’s vEveresting. THANKS!!!

Craig Fleischman
Craig Fleischman (@cfleischman)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Chatfield

I would love that spread sheet as well! 🙂

Zack Zarrilli
Zack Zarrilli
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Chatfield

Hi Ron,

Could you share the spreadsheet with me too?

Thanks!

thewannabeironman
Super Member
thewannabeironman (@wanna_b_ironman)
1 year ago

You’re nuts! (In a nice way).

Dusty Dehare
Dusty Dehare (@dustindehare)
1 year ago

Climb on!!! What did your training plan look like for the months prior to the big ride? In other words, what would it take for me to get ready to do it?

Steven Fielke
Steven Fielke (@stevof28)
1 year ago

Absolutely awesome feat Ron – congrats!! I’m giving thought to attempting an Everesting on Feb 29 with a group on Zwift but I’m concerned about information on this website:
https://everesting.cc/virtual-everesting-rules-v1
which I states ‘
** Please note a new rule on vEverestings: to qualify, you must have first completed at least one Everesting or High Rouleur’s ride. **.

Wondering if you’re aware of this rule.

Steven Fielke
Steven Fielke (@stevof28)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Chatfield

Good news, thanks Ron!

Paul Hlas
Paul Hlas
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Fielke

I also checked with Hell’s 500 and Andy told me the same thing… There is no Requirement to have first completed at least one Everesting or High Rouleur’s ride. This requirement was removed a few years ago. Let’s do this on 29 February!!!!

Glen Wheatley
Glen Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hlas

I’m seriously considering this. I’m in decent shape but am I really in the sort of shape that can do this? Only one way to find out I guess. As I’m also 50 this year I think I need a big challenge!

Ann
Ann
1 year ago

That is truly amazing! Right now it takes me over an hour to climb the Alpe. Well done! Impressive physical and mental stamina. I will add that in 2018 I cycled 1000 km from Lhasa, Tibet to Nepal border via Everest Base Camp …. or at least as high as the Chinese govt would allow which was about 10k past Rongbuk Monastery to about 16,500 ft. We were 16 days on the bike, not 16 hours (!) and likely drank a few more beers! Cheers! And best of luck in Utah!!

Rob W
Rob W
1 year ago

Nice write up Ron. I’m about your size and weight. Could you please share the chain ring and cassette specs that you used for the ride.

Craig Fleischman
Craig Fleischman (@cfleischman)
1 year ago

Ron, Great achievement in anyone’s book! You have inspired me to prepare for it… Any info you could point me to would be great. What was your FTP going into the challenge? I am currently doing the active off season and just hit 227 FTP. I started Zwifting in September and started with a 174 FTP. Getting stronger but I see these guys pass me up Alp de Zwift doing 400 to 600 watts. Googly Moogly that’s some power! How do you get the everesting badge before you started the ride? I see in the beginning of your ride with… Read more »

Howie Snyder
Howie Snyder (@howie-snyder)
1 year ago

Awesome Ron! And thanks for the shout-out! 🙂 Wish I could join you for your IRL Everesting in Utah! But we’ll have to plan a ride together some day IRL. Cheers brother!
The Rev Cyclist

Edu
Edu
1 year ago

Just as of today i have decided while in the middle of my training and prep for doing 6x Alpe d’ huez in June to support Cancer research, to attempt vEveresting on December 30th, 2020..
Your story is is a true inspiration to others and although the effort seems doable, no doubt the both mentally and physically a big challenge.

Well done and you inspire me to do this at the end of this year.

Good luck doing your IRL attempt

Lee Glaesemann
Lee Glaesemann (@leeglaesemann)
10 months ago

Ron, how did you ensure that you rode up the same segment on Zwift? For example, after the descent on Alpe du Zwift, it leads to the Jungle section.

Dan Connelly
Dan Connelly
9 months ago

This is a great article. Now, just limiting the question to Zwift versus other platforms, Ventoux becomes an option. I think the top of Petit KOM to Chalet Reynard is an obvious option, avoiding the gradual slopes on the Petit KOM descent, as well as the more gradual slopes on the moonscape. This works out close to 10 ascents for Everest, I believe, not even counting the lead-in to the junction. Of course the junction will lead to the badge, which simply counts vertical, but for the official rules only the repeated portion counts.

Sang Tran
Sang Tran
3 months ago

How you ride Alpe du Zwift? I do not see the route individually by itself? However, i do see it as partnof anlonger route like Tour se Fire and Ice. How can I ride with repeat the Alpe du Zwift only?

Isi
Isi
3 months ago

Is their an easy way of just riding alpe du zwift or is it a case of riding the road to sky and turning around once you reach the bottom of the climb. I’m new to zwift and would love to give it ago

Simon
Simon
2 months ago
Reply to  Isi

Just chuck u-turn at the bottom. You’d only have to do it 8 or 9 times. I u-turned 800 times to get my everesting badge but I completed it in 6 hours 🙂 a lot easier in a half pipe!

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