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Everesting Hearst Experience

By: Kayak Cambria

Last updated on: June 29, 2021

The raindrops are hitting the windshield as I pull onto the property. Not what I was hoping for on this day. Both of my pups, GU and CHOMPS, are behind the passenger seat in the sleeping bag wondering why we were up so early and especially so since it was wet outside. It’s 4am and I am running a little behind my start time as I still need to set up all my food on my pit stop table and get my lights hooked up.

Today is the day I’d been waiting and trying to train for. Today is my EVERESTING attempt of Hearst Road, the road the buses take up the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. I wanted to do a fundraiser for the local dog rescue (Rescue Alliance – Short ‘n Sweet Dog Rescue) where I adopted my oldest dog GU 13 years ago. It is Thanksgiving Day and this year I wanted to do something to thank Debby Sweet for rescuing GU and to raise money to help her rescue more dogs in the future.

First of all, EVERESTING, what is it? Everesting has become an endurance event that became popular in 2013 that has some simple rules. One, you ride your bicycle up and down one hill until your elevation gained is equivalent to the height of Mount Everest, 29,029 feet (8848 meters).

Two, this must be done on one ride, so basically no sleeping during the event. Three, you can’t walk up any of the hill. And an original rule that has changed a bit, was that you were supposed to be the first to accomplish it on the chosen hill (this was designed so people would be creative in their attempts but is not an official rule, but first ascender is noted on the Wall of Fame).

The distance or time really isn’t important, it’s the total height climbed, so I was planning on 15-20 hours or maybe hoping. It’s hard to believe a month ago I injured myself at work straining my psoas (muscle in hip region) and most of the muscles in my quad. I couldn’t walk and have been going to physical therapy and a chiropractor to try to allow me to ride. Up to this point in the year, I haven’t ridden more than 130 miles in a week and only ridden over 1 hour 10 times this year. If I finish, I will have ridden over 160 miles. This should be interesting.

Sweat is pouring down my face as the thin Voler raincoat is on over my jersey. It’s drying up on the bottom of the 3.7 mile hill, but the rain and fog mix at the top surrounding the Pergola is making my body temperature question what it’s supposed to do. I’m overheating unless I unzip the jersey and jacket but then on the descent I am shivering and having a hard time gripping the brakes.

I’m only on my third ascent, and it is still pitch dark, but the light Lezyne supplied is not giving me any reason to slow down. So no excuses there. I remember one of my favorite climbs, Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. I can still picture the old red tour buses passing us slowly as waterfalls are dripping on the road, and hearing the bus driver announce to his passengers, “Look at the dog with sunglasses in that guy’s backpack.”

People were fascinated with GU, aka THE GREAT CHIWEENIE, in my Camelbak as we rode up the climb. People handing us Coke, taking our picture, even having a SUV offer to drive behind us with their lights on during the descent (as we ascended at sunset), which we gladly accepted. GU does garner people’s attention. Oh no! Grabbing my brakes and skidding along the road as I just started the descent. My raincoat I had put under my jersey as I was way too hot fell into my wheel. At least I didn’t wreck.

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