Thursday, July 16, 2015

Man Completes Virtual Bike Ride Up Everest

So here's an odd, but interesting story. On Sunday, cyclist Frank Garcia became the first person to complete a bike ride to the summit of Mt. Everest, although he did so without ever stepping foot in Nepal. Garcia completed his monumental task onboard a stationary bike that had been programmed using Zwift to recreate similar slopes and distances he would encounter had he been on the mountain – minus the incredibly low levels of oxygen of course. The ride was than verified by an organization called Hells 500, which has created a new activity called "Everesting."

It took Garcia 17 hours and 18 minutes to complete his virtual ride to the summit, as he faced an average grade of the slope of 7% along the way. He burned approximately 18,000 calories en route as well, which should give you an idea of just how difficult this undertaking was, even if it didn't take place on the real mountain.

Everesting is apparently a relatively new phenomenon amongst cyclists who are picking a mountain road to ride anywhere in the world, and continually doing it over and over again until they rack up 8848 meters (29,029 ft), the exact height of Everest. The rules say that they are allowed to take breaks along the way, but they can't sleep. Several people have successfully done it already, including a man by the name of George Mallory (I can't make this stuff up!) who completed his attempt by cycling Mt. Donna Buang in Australia. Garcia's version of Everesting is the first to do so in the virtual realm.

Obviously this is nothing like climbing the real Everest, but it is still a pretty tough feat to accomplish. Gaining 29,000 feet of vertical in a single go is always going to be a challenge, no matter when and where it is done. According to the Everesting Hall of Fame however, it has been done on a number of occasions already.

This is pretty crazy stuff, and interesting to think about. I guess no matter how many people summit the real Everest, it will always remain the standard by which endurance activities are measured.

Everesting Mt Donna Buang from Simon Atkinson on Vimeo.


wilberfan said...

"The rules say that they are allowed to take brakes along the way..."

I can imagine even virtual rides would require braking, yes. (Especially on the way back down!)


Kraig Becker said...

Ah... yes. I'm not sure he got to use those brakes all that much. Thanks for kindly pointing this out! :)