Terence Rea of De Ronde van Cork CC has decided to take on the Everest challenge to raise money for Nepal, following on from the recent devastating earthquake there.
The challenge involves climbing the height of Everest (8,848m), from sea level to summit, on your bike. Whilst many take on the challenge over the course of a number of days, the Cork rider has decided to tackle the elevation gain on one day. This means taking on roughly twice as much climbing as there would be on a big mountain stage in the Tour de France.
He explains below what’s ahead of him.
By Terence Rea, De Ronde van Cork CC
The coincidence to have been involved in Everesting last year through Hells500 & Andy van Bergen and now for there to be a charity appeal for Nepal is too much to ignore. Andy is at it again, encouraging Everesters to tackle another event to raise money for shelter relief for those in Nepal. In conjunction with morethansport.org Hells500 are backing this global fundraiser.
I had always thought that if I were to do another Everest it would be on a nice steady climb for the ascent with smooth roads for the descent. However this Everest is to raise awareness and money for the emergency in Nepal and such a climb wouldn’t get much notice. That is why I have chosen the Priest’s Leap as my Everest for Nepal.
In a country where they make a living out of living tough you know things are bad when they get hit so hard by earthquakes that they appeal for international assistance. Not many people are venturing into the mountains and tourists have fled so their economy has also been hit by a financial earthquake. This has seriously damaged their ability to react to their current needs and start their recovery. The hardest nation in the world needs help and to symbolise this I have chosen one of the hardest climbs I know of, the Priests Leap.
The Priests Leap in West Cork, Ireland is as mean and unforgiving a climb as you can ride. Its name scares the most hardened cyclist into wishing they had a triple, or even better, a flat so they could go home. Its legend in cycling folklore is so mighty simply cresting its lofty summit is a victory after a climb which is a test of grit, tenacity, mental and physical fitness.
Atop the Priest Leap many a cyclist has been born into the sport.
With high Atlantic winds blowing in random directions the drop into the valley below is a sobering factor. The road surface is an ‘Irish motorway’ (it has grass up the centre) and more pot holes, occasional flooding, sheep droppings and random road furniture than you could shake a track pump at. The first section takes you straight above the tree line and is stepped before hitting the first knee crushing high gradient escalator. This spits you out on a roller coaster where every meter gained is robbed off you again by a series of sharp climbs and descents before hitting the final part of the climb which again is a soul destroying collection of high gradient intervals with sharp blind bends so it is easy to lose your place and expect to summit at each one, only for the climb to hit you again with another random 15% section. And there is normally fog, or rain, or sheep…
The descent in its own way is as tough as the ascent. With wildlife and free roaming farm animals crossing the road at a moments notice the unrewarding trip down has to be controlled with a good level of dedication and attention to the brake leavers. The more serious potential obsticals also include a few sheepdogs which you know are always on the look out for something to chase. Add in random traffic, which there isn’t a lot of room to work around on the high % sections and the often sheer drop into the valley below always makes for interesting cycling. So on reflection its not so much a road, more a mountain track which has a tar surface.
So on June 6th 2015 I’m going to cycle it 21 times coming home with a total of not less than 8848 meters in one ride. To be honest I don’t know if its possible, but I guess there really is only one way to find out. If anyone fancies joining me please feel free.
Coming in at 5.3km base to summit with an ascent of 421 meters per climb this whale of a spin will top out at over 220km of Leap. While it certainly be a memorable challenge it will however only be worth while through your donation (on morethansport.org or any other method of donation). In other words if I’m gonna suffer on the bike, I want you to suffer in your wallet so please please please take a few minutes to donate, no matter how insignificant an amount it is to you, it will be life saving and life changing to the hardest people in the world.
You can donate here: