By Jake Beleski
Everest was a step too far for three Wellington cyclists who attempted to ascend Admiral Hill in Wairarapa 26 consecutive times on Saturday.
“Everesting” has become a global phenomenon in which people choose to ride a single hill with 8848 metres being the total elevation gain.
Ian Huckstepp, Victor Charles and Mike James attempted the challenge, but all fell short of the 26 ascents needed to reach the magic mark.
Mr Charles was the closest to glory, ascending 24 times over a 22-hour period to get agonisingly close to the target.
Mr Huckstepp managed 21 ascents, while Mr James fought through severe cramps and vomiting to log 14.
They started their quest at 3am on Saturday, with Mr Charles the last to give it up in the early hours of Sunday morning.
For Mr Huckstepp, it was the culmination of an intense 12 months of preparation and training.
“It was a fail in the end — essentially three attempts and three misses,” he said.
“Victor is our better rider and got really close, but at about 1am he reached the end of his tether and called it quits.”
Saturday’s warm weather may have worked against the riders, with hydration becoming a crucial factor throughout the day.
“I don’t know if it was a factor in the end result or not but certainly it made hydration vital.”
Despite not reaching their target, he described the day as a good experience and learning curve where a lot of lessons had been taken on board.
“It was an unusual ride because when you’re in a race you’re trying to ride hard and get a good time and beat people, but in this we were trying to ride as easily as we could because we were constantly trying to preserve energy.
“Physically I got tired and mentally it was becoming tougher, and it got to the point where I got back on the bike for another ascent, pedalled about 10 strokes, and something in my head said that was the end.
“Five or six more was just going to be beyond me.”
Mr Huckstepp praised the local people for their involvement and support throughout the day, and said they may give it another shot in the future.
“Funnily enough straight afterwards my partner said there was no way I was doing it again, but we talked some more and she’s sort of come around to it.
“Hypothetically we’re thinking of a second attempt, not just for myself but for Victor who got so close.
“If he wants to do it again I’d like to support him.”