Cyclists are indeed something else and a class above all others in terms of physical and mental strength. More of the latter, always more. When cyclist take themselves to that tough spot, they always rough it out and find that second wind to go it again.
British photographer and writer, David Lloyd proved that he was a cyclist time and time again last weekend when he became the first person whom successfully attempted ‘Everesting’ in the Vietnam.
‘Everesting‘ is the latest craze in endurance sports which requires a cyclist to climb the height of Mt Everest i.e. 8,848 meter via numerous ascents of the same climb.
After a gruelling 14 hours, 9 ascents and 195 kilometres, Lloyd hit the sweet number of 8,848 metres, 50km outside of Hanoi, Vietnam on the Ba Vi Mountain.
Ba Vi mountain is reputedly tougher than some of the Alp’s legendary categorized climbs. It’s a brutal climb with some truly punishing gradients.
“Having climbed more than a few of the most famous climbs in France I can say with conviction that David picked some of the hardest ascent metres I have yet encountered. When I climbed it I could not believe we only covered 1,000 metres – it felt more like 2,000+ on most of the big cols in France. Mount Ventoux has nothing on Ba Vi!” said local rider, David Knight.
Ba Vi truly brought Lloyd through tough mental highs and lows, tougher than the ‘torture’ his legs had to endure on punishing gradient, riding through tunnel of trees for kilometers on end. The toughest sections saw Llyod pushing himself to crest over the 25% gradient which would make the 10% sections look like peanuts.
Fortunately, Lloyd had tremendous support from his loyal wife whom dutifully rode on her motorbike to carry warm clothing and hand out at feeding points. Before the sun could rise through the thick clouds, Llyod started out at 3am with a fellow Vietnamese cyclist from the Thanh Long Cycling Club. Other fellow members joined him for the first half of the 8000m, with Lloyd still in good spirits.
“I went to the bad place at the 5,000m point!”
Lloyd said, “The pace was probably a bit too high and I was running low on energy and felt quite sick about half way up. However, at the top I got some pasta and Vietnamese nut bars down and on ascent number 6 with Claudio Dordi, things came good – he was a truly massive help.”
As the meters increased on his Garmin bike computer, it grew colder as daylight was fading too. However, Lloyd’s core strength was burning within his body, keeping him going with one mental focal point in mind. The Finish Line is not too far away. Many supporters had turned up from the embassy and he would not let them down.
And the going got tough, nearly too tough when Lloyd was brought down in an accident involving motorcycles which descended on the wrong side of the road around the switchbacks. Lloyd skidded and the other support riders fell too, but he gathered his nerves, recomposed himself for the last mile, and gave it all that he had left in his tank.
On the final gruelling section, Garmin recorded the 8,848th meter.
Cheers rang out from everyone around Lloyd as he was swamped by Vietnamese press and TV as Lloyd celebrated with a drink.
“This is an incredible challenge. I joined it for two reasons. First to show my support (and raise funds) for Newborns Vietnam’s brilliant work, which is making a real difference to the health of newborns and their mothers in Vietnam; and second, to highlight the incredible efforts of the British and international cycling community in Vietnam to raise funds for this work.”, said Lloyd.
Newborns Vietnam is a British-based charity which aims to reduce infant morality in Vietnam by providing specialist training for nurses and doctors, as well as life-saving equipment. Cycle a Difference Challenge rides contributes largely to their fund. They are all about ordinary people doing quite extraordinary challenges to make a difference to the life chances of thousands of newborns.
More info on Everesting. #everesting