Etac R82 employee Mark Travers completes 22-hour ultra-extreme 'Everesting' cycle challenge on hottest day for Newlife charity
Mark ascended and descended a 1.75-mile, 6.7% incline hill, 46 times within 21 hours 41 minutes which accumulated the same attitude as the cruising height of most airliners. This altitude matched the height of the highest mountain in the world, Everest, which is a feat only completed by very few individuals around the world. His challenge took place between The Lamb Inn, Holymoorside, Derbyshire S42 7EU and Beeley Moor in the Peak District.
Mark, an Etac R82 UK Paediatric Product Advisor, began his ultra-extreme challenge at 23:00 on Friday 28th June and completed his epic journey at 20:30 on Saturday 29th June. He rode a rare limited edition, Pantani anniversary, Bianchi Specialissima bike which is the only one of its kind in the UK and was manufactured in celebration of the achievements of Mark's cycling hero, Marco Pantani.
Mark has been a keen and proficient road cyclist since an early age. He has completed several endurance ‘sportive’ events including La Marmotte in the Alps which includes famous climbs from the Tour de France. Mark is a member of the Chesterfield Spire Cycling Club and cycles 3-4 times a week. His connections with the club led to discovery of the 'Everesting Challenge', established by George Mallory, grandson of the legendary English mountain climber by the same name. This online community supports and records individuals seeking to cycle or run the equivalent altitude of Everest along a designated Strava segment.
Many proficient amateur and professional riders have unfortunately failed the 'Everesting Challenge' whereas Mark's pure grit and determination shone through as he faced unprecedented temperatures and humidity. He fought against fatigue and hay fever during the ride and has subsequently contracted bronchitis due to the cold conditions he experienced during the night. He accrued an altitude of 29,501ft (8,992m) and hence claimed his official position in the 'Everesting Hall of Fame'. Mark hopes to add further donations to his £2,000 total so that more assistive equipment can be provided to disabled children through the Newlife charity.
On completion of his awe-inspiring challenge Mark said: "I normally like riding in the heat but last weekend was too intense. The support of everyone during the challenge made all the difference, I would never have managed it on my own. My colleague Colin Williams rode with me through the night achieving 19,000ft of altitude himself! Plus, my friend Katie Marsden supported me as I 'hit the wall' on Saturday afternoon. 1–4pm was by far the hardest and at one point all my strength had drained away, I became very emotional on one repetition for no apparent reason, perhaps the enormity of the challenge was finally hitting home – just how difficult it is to complete an Everesting Challenge. I'm not sure how I managed to keep going but Katie was amazing, she kept me mentally focused and strong. Failure was not an option... I could not stop and let anyone down including most importantly Newlife and the disabled children they help. I think giving up would have felt worse that my lowest emotional point during the ride."
Mark continues: "It was a ride of extremes. It was bitterly cold at night so had to wear many layers which all had to be removed for the searing heat of the day. I was drinking so much liquid to remain hydrated I had no space for food, it was only Katie's clever carbohydrate and electrolytes drink mixture that kept my energy levels up. Nearing the end, I was joined by members of my cycling club who were fantastic as they helped me focus on one rep at a time. Without this approach reaching the finishing line seemed impossible. With Andy Hicklin, Ian Johnson, Bryan Harrison and Stuart Knight beside me I was motivated to romp up the last two climbs without issue. The sense of achievement at the end was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. I do hope more people can add to my fundraising total as Newlife do such an amazing job and I'm delighted to have raised awareness of their essential services."
Jon Preater, Etac R82 Managing Director, concludes: "Congratulations to Mark for completing this epic challenge. His determination to continue whilst facing extreme conditions is thoroughly commendable. Our business is proud to be associated with his cause and the outstanding support Newlife provides for families and disabled children across the UK. Well done again."