Q&A with Extreme Cyclist Stuart Barrington
We first wrote about Stuart last Fall while he was training for his “Everesting” ride. Five months later we catch up with him and find out how it went.
Garmin: Hi Stuart, so first of all can you remind us what exactly is Everesting?
Stuart Barrington: Well the concept is amazingly simple. You find a hill and ride up and down it non-stop until you have accumulated the same elevation as the height of Everest, 29,029’
G: How did it go?
SB: Well it was a challenge for sure, the short answer was I did it, the long answer is well, pretty long! There were two main things that happened. First of all prior to the event, my wife broke her collar bone. Since she was my main support crew we had to push the event by five weeks, and I ended up starting the ride on the Sunday Morning of Thanksgiving weekend. The second was I significantly underestimated the time, I originally estimated something around 20-22 hours and in the end it took nearly 28 hours.
G: How is your wife? Wow, 28 hours! Is that nonstop riding?
SB: She’s great, all healed and back training for her fourth Ironman. As for the 28 hours, no that is not non-stop. I was stopping and the top and bottom of each ascent to grab a bite to eat and so on and that added up over time.
G: Was that the main thing that added the extra time?
SB: No the bigger contributor was the overall time it took to do a lap. I had worked on completing a lap in about 1:15 and it was taking closer to 1:30.
G: How long was a lap?
SB: Each lap was just over 14 miles and I gained 1815’, so in total I had to do 16 laps to reach the required elevation. The problem was that each 15 minutes added up and when you have sixteen of them, well, that’s another 4 hours, add a 5 or 10 minute stop every 7 miles and it was closer to 1:40 in total.
G: What was the final distance?
SB: I ended up with 227 miles and 29,050’ in total.
G: Did you have any Garmin products with you?
SB: For the data recording I used an Edge810, I was also using my Fenix3 as a backup. At night I had a Varia lighting system. As I was riding through two nights the Varia lights were recharged in my wife’s car during the day. Throughout the day I kept a close eye on my pacing, I was able to ensure that I stayed in the right Power Zones with the data from my Vector 2 pedals.
G: Did you encounter any logistical challenges, what about your nutrition and hydration?
SB: We had two cars. We parked our van in roughly the half-way point. From there I could stop and eat and fill up my bottle. I only had one bottle and only carried a little food on me. I wanted to minimize the weight I was carrying. I pretty much ate real food all day. My wife had cooked several different Skratch Portables and I drank warm Apple Skratch throughout the whole day(s). This was supplemented with some coke and coffee. From a safety standpoint my wife followed me up and down the first night until dawn, I started riding at 2am, in the second car. She cat napped during the day but she was struggling with tiredness. We were both lucky enough to have some friends turn up and follow me up and down during the second night. I finally finished around 6am the next morning. Where I was riding was pretty remote and while traffic was light there was barely any cellphone service and if I needed anything it was a good 20 minutes’ drive away and nearly an hour back home. Other than time the other thing I understated was the weather, it got pretty cold during the night with temperatures were in the low 30s, while I was nice and warm going up it got pretty cold on a 7 mile descent.
G: Well it sound like it was quite the adventure! Do you have any advice for anyone considering Everesting?
SB: There’s lots of advice I could give but the three main things are (1) Get support and use it. It’s possible to do this single handed but it makes for a lonely journey, other than my wife I was lucky to have two other friends come and support the effort and another who came and rode with me for 3 hours. (2) Find the right hill. This is easier said than done, you want one that is steep enough to gain the elevation but no so steep that it is just flat our exhausting to ride up. I looked at several and settled on the infamous Mulholland Highway in Malibu and (3) Prepare mentally. A ride like this is a head-game. You need to ride one mile, one lap, one thousand feet at a time. I you think of it like that it’s consumable, if you think you have to ride 230 miles or 29,000’ it will consume you!
G: So what’s next, what plans do you have for 2016?
SB; Well my A event is the Dirty Kanza 200 in June, that’s a 200 mile gravel race in Kansas. I have several other races working up to that and I will also be trying to join the High Rouleurs Society, for that I need to ride 250 miles and gain over 30,000’ within a 36 hour period.
G: We wish you luck!
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