vEveresting is Hard, but is it Special?

vEveresting is Hard, but is it Special?

There is nothing extraordinary or unique about my recent vEveresting achievement.  Hundreds have done it before me and thousands will do it after.  Some have done two, three, or even more in a row without stopping.  Many have done it considerably faster than me on much more difficult climbs.  I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has attempted it on a unicycle.  

That is not to say it isn’t physically demanding.  I would consider it one of the hardest things I have ever done on a bicycle, which is why it’s an achievement worthy of being immortalized in the Everesting Hall of Fame. In fact, it’s been several days, and the dullness in my muscles and stabbing sensations in my knees tell me I’m still not fully recovered.

Training and Preparation  

I didn’t undertake any event-specific training, but I like to ride and race my bike a bit.  It is definitely not achievable, however, without doing the research and putting in the work beforehand.  Food, fluids, fashion, friends… all that stuff.

Food and Drink

Nutrition: Total Kcal Consumed 4,430

  • Carbs: 529g (36%)
  • Fat: 327g (51%)
  • Protein: 188g (13%)

Pre-ride Breakfast 424 kcal 

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 16g peanut butter powder
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • Coffee w/almond milk

On the bike: Whole food

  • 2oz. Sliced chicken breast 60kcal
  • 2oz. Sliced roast beef 80kcal
  • 1 cup Gluten free pretzels 96kcal
  • Smoothie w/fluit, vegetables, and almond butter 474kcal
  • .8cup Trail mix (Archer Farms peanut butter monster) 270kcal
  • 5 slices Homemade cranberry-orange walnut bread 1,055 kcal
  • 2 Homemade peanut butter cookies 130kcal

On the bike: Hydration

  • 5 16oz bottles w/8oz Tart Cherry Juice 120kcal 
  • 6 Espresso-double shots

Dinner 1,095kcal

  • 1 celebratory 16oz Heady Topper IPA 320kcal

Dessert 307kcal

  • Smoothie w/fruit and oat yogurt

You Need to Have a Strategy  

Although, as is evident by my stats, it is invariably subject to change.

Course: Road to Sky (Watopia)
Climb: Alp du Zwift 
Start time: 3:55am est
Finish time: 3:05pm est

ClimbStart TimeElapsed TimePavgHRavg
#14:05am est1:02 (w/:5 drop)191133
#25:2058:17203139
#36:3057:56205146
#47:4058:16203147
#58:511:02190147
#610:051:12162138
#711:301:22140125
#81:06pm1:17151130
#92:3611:20 1803ft158132

When finished, it will be painfully obvious that it was a significant effort.  But not extraordinary for any of the aforementioned reasons.  Accepting and overcoming a challenge like vEveresting is very special, but not because of all the pedal pushing or climbing. Defining, accepting, confronting, and overcoming adversity is what makes a challenge extraordinary and why you can’t afford not to do it. 

My vEveresting Video

2020 Was a vEveresting Kind of Year  

Last year at this time, it’s doubtful any of us would have readily agreed to all the challenges that the new year, 2020, would bring. We’ve been confronted with creating and adapting to new ways of learning, working, and living our lives amid stressors that we have never experienced before. But for all the hardship the new year ushered in, 2020 has also provided a unique opportunity to reflect, just as accepting and overcoming a cycling challenge like vEveresting does.     

vEveresting as a Teacher

Resilience

The human spirit is capable of withstanding an incredible amount of stress. We’ve adapted and we will emerge with a far greater appreciation for a way of life that can be easily taken for granted. Maybe we’ll be less likely to take it for granted in the future.  Surviving hardship and willing ourselves to move forward builds added strength to tackle new challenges and face future failures.

Vulnerability

We have to accept the risk of failure to achieve exceptional goals.  Your best is enough, despite the outcome. Even when it is different or seems less significant than someone else’s!

Perspective

Overcoming adversity provides us a clearer sense of self.  2020 has given all of us the gift of illumination, knowing that we must embrace life because we don’t know what the future will bring.  Negative circumstances help to clarify what we are truly passionate about and motivate us to live life on our own terms.

Compassion and Sensitivity

A significant dose of humility comes with hardship. Although it may be difficult to confront the truth that we aren’t immune to terrible things, enduring hardship opens our eyes to the difficulties others face.

Limits of Control

Hardship is a powerful reminder of the limits of our own control.  By acknowledging and embracing those limits to our power, we can eliminate the burden and accept that some things are out of our hands.

Learning Experience

Hardship may be painful, but if you can learn from it, and turn it into an opportunity for growth, you receive something back that will stay with you forever.

Unity

We are not expected to go it alone.  If not for the unconditional support of my family, I fear that I would have wasted the waning hours of the attempt lying beside my bike in the fetal position weeping.  Same to be said for the selfless in-game motivation provided by teammates Pete Butler and Sarah Hreha, amongst too many others to mention.

The Most Scenic View is Atop the Greatest Climb

While we all may have a tendency to underestimate ourselves and our capabilities, tough times force us to respond in ways far beyond what we thought possible.  If never challenged in life, you deprive yourself of the opportunity to learn how to overcome adversity and risk giving up when the climb gets steep.  You will never know how amazing you can be until you put yourself in a position to be great! 

Success is not about the destination, but rather the unexpected and invaluable things we learn about ourselves and the positive personal growth realized along the ride.  

So find YOUR vEveresting and embrace it!  I know it will be special and am certain you will be the best you for it!  That is all that anyone can ask of you, and most importantly, all you can ask of yourself.  Ride On! 

What about you?

Have you ever attempted a major cycling challenge or overcome extreme adversity while on your bike?  How has the experience prepared you to face some of the challenges that life has sent your way?

About The Author

Christopher Schwenker

Chris is a semi-retired physical therapist who, following more than 25 years in solo private practice, considers himself blessed to combine a passion for cycling and creative writing in pursuit of his next life goal. He lives on the North Fork of Long Island with his beautiful wife and two university student children.

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emjayem22
emjayem22
12 days ago

Before I start, I recognise your article is about finding own own Everesting.. I see that.. But in terms of defining made up, meaningless ‘cycling’ achievements, including Everesting, I don’t really get it and never had. Essentially it’s an exercise in ascending a meaningless height in terms of cycling.. Surely the only real achievement in climbing to a height of 8000+ Metres is to actually go and climb the mountain itself…on foot. IRL everesting is bad enough, virtual seems completely pointless and the number of articles devoted to it seems completely disproportionate. If you want to target achievements on the… Read more »

emjayem22
emjayem22
12 days ago
Reply to  emjayem22

Oh, and “immortalized in the Everesting Hall of Fame. “??? Really? Immortalised?

Nick
Nick
12 days ago
Reply to  emjayem22

If you’re going to get philosophical about meaning then I hate to break it to you but arguable everything is meaningless given enough time, so why not enjoy the time you have instead of pissing on someone’s chips.

Paul Barrington
Paul Barrington
12 days ago
Reply to  emjayem22

Try doing it then maybe you’d appreciate the achievement

Ron Chatfield
Ron Chatfield (@rchatfield)
12 days ago
Reply to  emjayem22

Hi emjayem22, Just wondering what you do besides troll others for accomplishing their own goals. It’s not like you need to read or respond to anything you don’t like. If you aren’t finding enough joy in living life and riding your bicycle (inside or outside) then switch to something else. Bashing others goals and achievements doesn’t seem uplifting, or sporting, or worthy of continuing to engage…See you in Watopia (if you even ride).

Robert
Robert
12 days ago
Reply to  emjayem22

Clearly you did not read the article, or you failed to comprehend it.

Each heading of the article represents the meaning behind the attempt at the stated achievement. It isn’t about a single number. The same goes for any challenge.

I could break it down further, but the article already did that perfectly and I don’t expect some magical improvement in your ability to comprehend.

rdcyclist (Mark Crane)
rdcyclist (Mark Crane) (@rdcyclist)
12 days ago
Reply to  emjayem22

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a -25 thumbs rating here. Well done! That should get you into the Troll Hall of Fame!

MikeM
MikeM
12 days ago
Reply to  emjayem22

Well thanks all for jumping on the ‘Troll’ bandwagon. I don’t consider myself a troll and rarely post on the bottom half of the internet. I wasn’t having a go at the achievement of the author and I stated that I get that the article was about something other than the everesting aspect. My comment though was purely in relation to Everesting, about which there have been many article recently (indeed the author ironically refers to this in the title of his own post). I am merely trying to express my lack of understanding of how 11+ hours sat on… Read more »

Dan Sheremeto
Dan Sheremeto
11 days ago
Reply to  MikeM

I think the point is that you don’t need to piss in someone else’s corn flakes. It’s fine if you don’t consider it an achievement, but it’s certainly a challenge that very few people are actually capable of…I know I’m not even capable of half an Everest attempt and I consider myself to be decently fit. It’s probably more challenging than a triathlon, which is something I’d be shouting about from the rooftops (including to my grandkids) if I ever finished one. Yes, it’s an arbitrary elevation figure, but so is the distance of any endurance sport…the point is that… Read more »

Jubelina
Jubelina
11 days ago
Reply to  MikeM

Well that’s what the challenge is called to those who read and know what it is and if you don’t know you probably shouldn’t be commenting🙄

Nuno Pinto
Nuno Pinto
11 days ago
Reply to  emjayem22

useless comment…you realize this is a website dedicated to people cycling indoor…

thierry allegrucci
thierry allegrucci
12 days ago

nice set up with both tv’s 🙂

Chris
Chris
12 days ago

Good write up, and it is a worthy accomplishment. Especially since it’s a challenge you set for yourself.

Ron Chatfield
Ron Chatfield (@rchatfield)
12 days ago

Hey Chris, great article. I appreciate the thoughtful way you went about accomplishing your goal and applaud you for attempting it and finishing it too. Well Done!

Ellie
Ellie
12 days ago

“You know where to find me.”
Well done!

Liam Hudson
Liam Hudson
12 days ago

You got up the AduZ in 1:02 at 190W ? maaan, i would love to me lighter.

Eain
Eain
12 days ago
Reply to  Liam Hudson

I thought that too 😂

Jeff Kryvicky
Jeff Kryvicky
12 days ago
Reply to  Liam Hudson

190W and first 5 under an hour! Badass! Great job, and nice write up and vid. I’ll attempt this one at some point, need to lose a few lbs first 😂

rdcyclist (Mark Crane)
rdcyclist (Mark Crane) (@rdcyclist)
12 days ago

You did the first FIVE times up The Alpe in an hour or less? That in and of itself is quite notable. A remarkable achievement in any event! Hat’s off…

ChrisB200SX
ChrisB200SX
8 days ago

Also quite notable being 2.7w/kg at only 141w… But he doesn’t look like he only weighs 53kg. Certainly helps to enter a very low weight into Zwift!

Jason Long
Jason Long
11 days ago

An amazing achievement and a great introspective article to boot Chris! I was wondering if you might share your thoughts regarding your pacing plan and actual execution of it for the attempt. Did you have a specific power plan? Or was it a time goal for each ascent? Congrats!

Andy van Bergen
11 days ago

Great write-up Chris! Loved the approach you took, and it was interesting to read your take on Everesting as a teacher. Sometimes you just need to dip into the unknown to learn the most. Ride On!

Oliver Radermacher
Oliver Radermacher
11 days ago

Great article and especially great effort and achievement from your side, hats up! It comes at the right time cause I will try my attempt just tomorrow and I am really looking forward to it :-). A good preparation is always needed, but you do not know what the “day” brings on you. A lesson I learned in my many IM races so far and my rides in good and bad weather at Liege-Bastogne-Liege (274k). So I hope to see many of us Zwifters tomorrow at the Alpe and one thing I really love about zwifting is the great cameraderie… Read more »

Lee
Lee
11 days ago

Omg, sub 1-hr up the Alpe du’Zwift. I took 2 hrs to climb it just once 🤣. Amazing achievement and big congratulations. Sadly, I don’t think I’m there yet in terms of fitness to do this as much as I wanted to do this. Love, love the set-up of your pain cave, especially the twin giant flat screens. Ride on, Champ!

Kevin Hacker
Kevin Hacker
11 days ago

Great article and thank you for presenting your thoughts in such a considered way. I totally get the mentality of setting what might seem to be arbitrary aims or goals, I do it all the time. Pointless mileage goals each month, cycling coast to coast, cycling from Newcastle to London in 24 hours. They’re all ultimately pointless to other people, but to me, they’re the motivation behind keeping fit and improving myself.

Morten Jensen
Morten Jensen
11 days ago

Thanks for the write-up! A practical question: do you do a u-turn on the top rather than the roundabout – and another when the super tuck ends at the button just before the green gate? I am unsure where exactly the Strava segment begins and ends – that you need to follow

MHolden
MHolden (@holdenadventures)
9 days ago

Thanks for the article. The concept of vEveresting has been intriguing to me for a while. I had done a double AdZ and that was challenging! After reading this article and having some IRL plans canceled this weekend (thanks COVID), I was inspired to do Alpe x4!
Thanks for the inspiration! Ride On!

Trekjocky
Trekjocky (@trekjocky)
6 days ago

Terrific account of your experience and how it was completed both in the physical and mental side of the event. I made a rule long ago that I would never do something I loved so much that it made me hate doing it so this particular challenge may not be for me physically, but with the support of your family making it a “team” event likely turned it in to so much more than just a physical challenge for you and made it a success for your “team”. Congrats.

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