I wrote this almost 2 years ago now, after a bit of a mad end of season ‘challenge’… thought it may be worth sharing! (*apologies for the shots in Team Swift kit – its where I was then!)
What is it? I read about this via the Hells 500 website Hells500 website
and thought I got to give that a try! Its quite a simple premise, pick a hill, any hill, no matter how long or short, but ride up and down until you have ridden the equivalent height of Everest… 8848m. Piece of cake.
As i was due on my end of season break, doing it up Mt Tiede seemed to be the option. I planned a route from Los Abrigos to San Miguel (the windy bit, 8m / 700m ascent), San Miguel – Vilaflor (the steep bit, 6m / 700m), San Miguel to the Crater ridge near Boca Tauce (the smooth bit, 8m, 700m). So 22m per lap (climb) and 2100m ascent…. And on checking the ‘leader-board’ I realised no one else had ever done it. Perfect 🙂
I reckoned on around 13hrs all in, about 175m or so… a Bloody long way how ever you say it!
It turned out to be 4 full climbs (Each climb taking between 2hrs 34 – 2hrs 42, remarkably consistent) and almost one full addition of stage one (the windy bit) to hit 9003m (I wanted some to spare in case Garmin under called it), 183m and 13hrs 59. Whichever way you cut it – one word – EPIC! #Everesting
I decided to do it on day 2 of the Holiday as a perfect way to round off the season… Seems a strange idea for a short distance specialist who weighs 80kg, but I thought I’d give it a shot. Having not done the BBAR this year I wanted to see if I really still had some endurance.
-Strava Elevation graph. Nice
9003 metres climbed
190m total covered (*includes drop back to the start)
14:13 total ride time (13:59 to 9003m)
246 avg watts (*slighlty higher than I did in last years 12hr event)
143 avg HR (*Both towards the top end of Z2 for me, as planned)
20 OTE lime gels consumed
5 OTE caffeine gels
10 bottles OTE orange energy
3 OTE choc duo bars
3 cans relentless (that stuff is rocket fuel!)
2 bottles Powerade (from the garage)
1 can of coke
1 Kit Kat Chunky
1 200g bag peanuts
1 x potato salad
1 bowl of chocolate (of course!) Muesli.
Washed down after by a bottle of ‘Dubois’ – cheap Spanish Fizz
– Team Swift champsys White race kit (gloves / socks / bib shorts / ss jersey)
– Shimano shoes – which were gret hardly any ‘hot foot’ problems.
– Giro helmet
– Oakley razors
– Castelli wind proof (a must)
I woke early at 5.30am on the planned day, feeling crap. I had just come off a mega busy week following Duo Normand, that included, Too much to drink on 2 nights, eating crap all week, 2 x 4am starts, 110m ridden of mainly fast interval stuff, finalising a new job and handing in my notice after 18 years in my current role… pretty standard fare for me!
Anyway, Twitter is a great motivator! I had ‘announced’ I was doing this… not one to go back on what I had said I knew I had to do it.
A bowl of cereal, can of Relentless (normal breakfast for me) and I left the apartment for a short 10min spin to the sea front at Los Abrigos to start lap 1. The legs felt stiff, sore and not up for it… But I just told myself its a Zone 2 ride… fuel well, use the gears it’ll be fine…
The bike… BMC Gran Frondo GF01, 50/36 and 11-28t 11 spd Ultegra.
The selfie before set off…
The 1st lap was mentally tough, its a long way and knowing I had 4.3x to do this only made it harder… The middle (steep) section is a killer, some ramps of well over 10% make it horrible. I knew I just had to get up and spin (grind) where I could. Starting in the dark and seeing the sunrise over San Miguel was pretty decent and lead me to post on Twitter that I hoped I wouldnt see sunset… Especially as my ‘ace’ Moon front light had just run out of battery…. Little did I know.
Working on the way up!
I flew back down, That descent was epic, Hitting over 50mph om the steep sections and dead quiet roads as it was before 9am meant I could go for it… It was the only way I’d trouble the Strava Leader board today! I ended round 1, 44m, 2150 odd metres (some very small rises on the way down) in 3hrs 15… Hmm its gonna be longer than I thought. This meant a quick detour to recharge the light for later! I stopped at the garage in Vilaflor for fill ups, the attendant as helpful as ever… little did he know how many time she’d see me that day!
Lap 2 felt the worst, but was actually quickest up (just) by 1min in 2hrs 34, although the decsent was slowed by a changing wind and busier roads. So 4300m climbed, 88m ridden, 6hrs 29 on the clock. Role on. I had another relentless and some salad at the start of lap 3 and raided my (hidden) stash of energy products. The relentless gave me a huge boost and I floated up sections windy and steep feeling good. The main issue I had was really painful back, shoulders and chest muscles… partly from all the gripping of the bars pulling up and getting into aero tuck coming down… and the fact that I (stupidly) did 200+ Press ups and 100 pulls ups on Sunday…. lesson learned there! I had to stop for the miracle Spanish painkiller – Espedifen, 600mg Ibuprofen – numbs all pain! Despite feeling good the climb was 5mins slower in 2.40, with the descent pretty even. So lap 3 done, 9hrs 55 odd riding time on the clock, 6450m climbed, 132m covered.
By now I knew it was ‘in the bag’ I could make another lap and a bit and after yet more relentless (which is probably why after 2.5hrs broken sleep I am up writing this…), salad and energy bars I hit it. I was now religously on a gel every 30m and it was working. the first sectionw as fast, Big ring almost all the way up to San Miguel. the steep section was horrible. I just sat down, grinding out the watts at silly low cadence, and the last section was great… watching the sun start to set over a bank of cloud carpeting the island was pretty epic. I made the top as dusk approached… 2hrs 42, the slowest climb but still within 8min of the best showed good pacing. It was a full moon – I needed it as I was dead scared of starting the other ‘moon lights’ too early incase they died on me again. The best part of the day was descending San Miguel – Vilaflor by moon light, and going no slower !
So on 13hrs 20 or so I started the last portion, and knowing it was the last I Big ringed it, watts the best they had been all day and made it to San Miguel in 13hrs 59. It was quite a feeling to have ‘made it’…. almost as good as some PB’s this season in a different way…. I’d proved to me, that I could have ridden a good 12hr… or even 24hr… or even longer…? We’ll see……..
On riding down I started to collate a list of all I had ‘learned’ on the day… this is what I came up with…
1. The speed work this season hasn’t scrubbed any endurance
2. You need a bloody long day for this lark!
3. A helper / following car would have saved me loads of time, I used an hour up on stops, fill ups etc etc.
4. ‘Moon lights’ are great – but on full power have about 1hrs light
5. The real Moon was a big help
6. I love that BMC its a fab bike
7. OTE stuff is ace… Joel said he used it all the 12hr with no stomach problems, that I think we have all had trying to use other energy products continually, I found it the same here and was vey impressed in its ability to sustain my performance.
8. I drink too much Relentless and should be a brand rep…. I think I was up about 3 days after this!
9. I like chocolate
10. My Ipod music collection is dated (1990’s)
11. My Ipod Nano battery is ace!
12. I LOVE descending out in Tenerife
13. That ride is even more EPIC than our Robby’s Monday rides!
14. My bib shorts are slightly too small as they pulled on my shoulders
15. DO NOT do loads of upper body exercising the day before something like this!
16. I need to lose about 10kg if I am ever gonna climb well (can I be arsed too??)
17. Twitter is a great motivator… announce you are going to do something and you know you have to do it!!!
18. Mental strength is key… I m a stubborn bugger
19. No matter how hard a ‘work’ day I have if i know I can ride up Mt Tiede 4x and be out over 15hrs I can get through any work day.
20. I need to plan next years end of season epic….
The route facts (for the challenge!)
- Start Los Abrigos roundabout
- ascend via Las Chafiras, San Miguel, San Miguel (the steep climb) to Vilaflor, the Crater road.
- End climb at the 2110m sign at the carter rim.
- After lap 4 ride the windy section (section 1) all the way past the sign for San Miguel (I made it 3 lamp posts past)
– I made 8848m (Everest hieght) on my Garmin at the Reposl Garage above Aldea Blanca but put in another 150m+ to be sure.
And the reward?
admittance to a very exclusive club and the very cool kit