On 25 April 2020, I rode my indoor bike trainer from 630am in the morning to around 7pm that same evening. Over 12 hours on the bike. I got on Zwift and rode the Alpe du Zwift (ADZ), a virtual equivalent of the famous Alpe du Huez climb in France. It is a climb that has featured many times in the Tour de France. It is 12.4km long with an average gradient of 8.5%. I climbed ADZ 9x successively in a single continuous ride to finish what is known in the cycling world as an “Everesting” challenge. This version though is virtual or vEveresting. I climbed a total of about 9,478m before I decided to call it quits and have dinner.
An Everesting challenge is riding until you climb the elevation equivalent of Mt. Everest at 8,848m, on a single continuous ride, on a single hill. Simply put, you do hill reps until you reach 9,000m. It is mental. I love cycling but I don’t love it that much that I would normally ride 12 hours, especially not indoors.
Training apps such as Zwift simulate the profile and gradient or steepness of climbs such as ADZ on an indoor smart trainer. The app automatically adjusts the resistance of the trainer to match the gradient or road profile. It feels realistic in that it becomes harder to pedal when the road gets steeper and vice versa. Of course, you don’t have to deal with road conditions, weather, or other cyclists and road users.
I would prefer to ride outdoors and my longest ride on an indoor trainer prior had only been 1.5 hours. Some of you will relate to how mind-numbing or excruciating it can be to go on an indoor training session. The Zwift platform makes it much more interesting and fun. Despite all the tech and routes on Zwift, riding indoors is still not my favorite thing to do on a bike. Given the current circumstances though, riding on Zwift or other online training platforms is the safest and most efficient training we can do.
I am no record breaker though. My ride was neither the fastest, farthest or highest Everesting challenge on record. Others have done 2x and even 3x the equivalent of Mt. Everest in a single ride and some have completed a single Everest challenge much faster. So, what’s so special? And why did I do it?
The biggest motivation for me was to raise funds to support Covid Relief efforts. If I was going to suffer 12 hours on a bike during these times, I might as well do it for a good cause. And there is no cause greater and more pressing than supporting the brave men and women in the frontlines helping those who have been affected by Covid-19.
I posted about my plans to do a vEveresting Challenge for our Frontliners on social media and asked for donations and for people to ride with me in support. Thankfully, a lot of kind-hearted generous friends and friends of friends liked the idea and we were able to raise close to P99,000 in pledges.
The proceeds of the event all went to support Covid Relief Efforts organized by Xavier Batch 1996. The group is providing PPEs, N95 masks, meals, accommodations, logistics and other essential support to the frontline heroes of the Philippine General Hospital, Veterans Hospital, East ave. Medical and other hospitals in the Northern provinces of Luzon.
At the end of it all, this reminds me that we are not helpless. Staying at home is a pro-active disciplined effort. Keeping fit and healthy during these times is essential. If you’re having issues finding motivation or if you have become fearful, I have this reminder – be inspired by the sacrifice, bravery and dedication of those people at the frontlines fighting to help those affected and those struggling to keep us safe. The pain of an hour a day on a bike trainer or even 12 hours, is nothing compared to the risks and hardship that our frontliners face every day.
Keep safe and strong! Ride well!