And now for something completely Different… ‘Hells 500 – High Rouleurs Society’

Andy Jackson  19/9/16


For the past few season I have decided on an ‘end of ‘season’ epic..  2 years ago I decided to ‘Everest’.  A simple concept dreamt up by the mad people at ‘Hells 500’

Simply pick a route, and climb the height of Mt Everest, 8848m in one ride.  Piece of cake – 4.3x up Mt Teide in Tenerife should do it!  Here is the write up

Last year I went for a simpler,  circumnavigation of Tenerife (*note a theme appearing here!)

So this year, there was only really one thing for it,  it had been nagging at me for ages to go for the BIG Hells 500 challenge… the ‘High Rouleurs Society’.  Another ‘simple’ premise.  Climb 10000m in one ride ‘The limit’, or on 2 rides in 36hrs ‘The Journey’.  There was only one thing for it.  ‘The limit’ for me!


So after a mediocre few weeks due to a combination of a virus I struggled to shift,  work travel, moving and doing up a house the prep wasn’t ideal.  Also TBH I was only ever half set on the idea, so the week before saw no specific training, no taper at all.  All combined with arrival to Tenerife on Friday night followed by 2 swift pints and half a bottle of Vino Blanco all was perfect!

So Saturday we were go,  Bottles made up (OTE of course!)  countless gels and bars and kit laid out.

kit-prepI have already had countless comments (Thanks Team mates 🙂 !)about why no SSLL racing kit?  well Hells 500 ‘The keepers of the clouds’ produce limited edition kit ONLY for those completing challenges and ONLY to be worn on epic days… This had to be one.  So, for once the SSLL racing kit stays in the drawer and its time to get ‘epic’.

Alarm sounded at 4.45am… really?! Holiday?!  so I jump out of bed, quick breakfast and the obligatory can of Monster and off we go.

My plan was loose TBH,  ride straight up high a couple of times and see how we were doing, then potentially in the afternoon I’d identified a 6% gradient loop I could use to try and bag some decent climbing.  Today was about 1 thing VAM – vertical ascent in metres.  Nothing else mattered.

Everesting took me just over 14hrs, so realistically I was aiming for 15-16hrs.. LONG day!

The first 4-5hrs were honestly boring, I probably started too hard with 2.5hrs in Zone 3… Hmm I could pay for this.  After 5.5hrs I headed back to the apartment for a quick refill and solid food. then off again.  I started on my chosen loop, but soon realised it was a bad idea.  after nr 8hrs I had done 18k ft.  not bad I thought, then I switched to Metres on the Garmin.  5600m.  Bugger near double to go.  and it was HOT.  feet were overheating and hurting in my shoes and power was dropping.  I was in trouble at this point.  I got rescued via a ‘home made’ ice vest of Ice in carrier bags, stuffed in my helmet and bacon sandwiches and coke.

At this point I was honestly in debates with myself.. do I finish this, do I just make up an excuse and can it… you go through so much self talk in hrs of solitude on the bike.  The only thing keeping me going was the innate knowledge that IF I didn’t do it today, I never would, and to be that would be a failure.  After a rough 3hrs between 5-7km (*noticeable by how quiet my copious (!!) social media posts went… I was back!).  I hit 7.5k and I knew I’d make it.


I also discovered a ridiculously steep road, 3k, 15% avg gradient.  3x up there added a few Metres elevation! The pics don’t lie, I was literally weaving for Z4 power at 60-70 cadence – insane!  I checked after , 57th on Strava segs… TBH what I expected – I aint no climber!


By now it was about 5pm and I was, depressingly calculating that at the VAM I was hitting 630-650 / hr I was in for a LONG night.  The biggest issue with the whole thing is the time it takes to descend.  Its totally wasted time against the challenge so picking the balance of steepness (for VAM) but also the ability to recover was a challenge.

I decided to take a good hour run up high and managed a VAM of near 1000m.  a quick blast down and repeat and I was now over 8000m… ‘just’ 2000m to go!.  One more long trek down and then up should do it.. By about 11hrs in I actually started to feel good, anyone who has done a bit of long distance cycling will know the weird stages you go through.  for me I was average and ‘forcing it’ for hours.  by hrs 11-16 I was flowing.  Power was good,  cadence good I was supple and gliding.  mad!

I hit the ‘Everest point’ 8848m around 8.30pm, just outside Arona – deserved celebrating…


One last push. I just knuckled down, I was debating dropping to sea level and then going back up,  I was unsure on the descent in the dark (*my lights were crap and my ‘moon light’ the battery died)… I decided to just keep going, gambling that the full moon of the previous night would rise and give me a moon lit hurtle down.

Thank God it did…

So around 10pm I hit the magical 10k metres.  I was now near the top of El Ratemer (1800m) and getting cold.. so time for a quick (last!) pic

… Yes I looked tired by now…

So now for a moonlit descent – FUN FUN FUN!  15m in 33mins was epic fun.  quiet roads, follow the white line and hope.  the way I love it.

So at near 10:40pm I arrived back cold, elated, with the worst saddle sores ever and ready for a bath.  But its done and will be in the HRS ‘hall of fame’ alongside my first ever Everesting of Mt Teide.

The Ride – strava

The stats:

10019m climbed

213m total covered

16hrs 23mins

13mph avg

VAM 610m

241NP watts

13k calories burned 🙂

10 Bottles OTE Vanilla

20 OTE Gels

2 cans Monster

3 bottles coke

5L water (over me as well as in me!)

4 bacon butties

bag of haribo

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