Tech by VICE

Are You #Everesting or Just Riding a Stupid Bike?

Frank Garcia is poised to be the first cyclist to have climbed virtual Mount Everest on a virtual bicycle.

by Michael Byrne
Jun 13 2015, 11:00am

Image: Michael Goodine/Flickr

There's no road to the top of Mount Everest—though a nice paved highway sometimes seems like the logical conclusion of Everest culture—but cyclists are climbing it anyway. The trend is called #everesting and it involves finding some hill or mountain and then riding up and down it again and again and again and again and again ... until the cyclist has climbed and descended a total of 29,029 feet, e.g. the elevation of Mount Everest.

Huh.

This actually makes sense to me as a fan of and participant in grueling and unreasonable outdoor activities, and I'm not even completely turned off by the emergence of "virtual" #everesting, or vEveresting. vEveresting even has its own set of stringent rules, "to ensure the closest approximation of conditions knowingly possible," in the words of Hells 500, the nascent sub-sport's apparent governing body.

And to be sure, vEveresting is grueling and unreasonable, however indoors. First of all, riders are required to use the social training-app/game/virtual reality software Zwift (image below), which will "ensure the physical effort of vEveresting is in line with that of a traditional Everesting attempt." The indoor bike/trainer must also have its gradient settings set to 100 percent—simulating as best as possible a continuous non-stop 7 percent climb up a virtual Mount Everest.

More rules:

Additional sensors should be used. Heart Rate, cadence, power meter. These will be used to verify the physical effort matches that of a traditional Everesting attempt.

It does not matter how long the ride takes, but it must be ridden in one attempt (i.e. no sleeping in between). Breaks for meals etc. are fine. You can break for as long or as little as you like. Bear in mind break times add up quickly, and can add significantly to your elapsed time.

Record your set up, your cycle cave, your experience in photographs. Receiving data files is good, but we want to see the effort, the emotion, and your story.

So, no one has actually done this yet. But if all goes as plan, cyclist Frank Garcia will be the first one in the world to have completed a vEveresting climb as of sometime tomorrow morning. Garcia was slated to begin his ride at about 4:00 AM PST and the whole thing should last about 20 hours. It's also a charity ride, raising money for the victims of the Nepalese earthquake. Worthy cause, worthy effort. The whole virtual ordeal can be watched in real-time using Zwift, which you might have to download.

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