Everesting on a Rally Bike: Not Just for Fancy Road Bikes

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Conquering the Peak Off-Road

Have you ever heard of “Everesting”? It’s a cycling challenge where you climb the equivalent elevation of Mount Everest (8,848 meters) in one go, but with a twist: you can choose any route you like, repeating it as many times as needed.

Now, imagine doing this challenge on a rally bike! There are no smooth tarmac roads, supportive crowds, just you, your bike, and miles of unforgiving terrain.

This might sound insane, but for adventure seekers with a thirst for unique challenges, Everesting on a rally bike is the ultimate test of endurance, skill, and resilience. Believe it or not, it’s not just a pipe dream – there are already a handful of intrepid cyclists who have conquered this epic feat.

Why a Rally Bike, You Ask?

So why choose a rally bike for such a grueling challenge? After all, wouldn’t a road bike or even a mountain bike be more efficient? The answer lies in the very essence of Everesting and the spirit of rally racing: pushing boundaries, embracing the unexpected, and conquering challenges that seem impossible. Here’s what makes a rally bike the perfect tool for this unconventional Everesting attempt:

Versatility: 

Rally bikes are built to handle a variety of terrains, from dirt tracks and gravel roads to technical climbs and descents. Their wider tires offer better traction on loose surfaces, making them ideal for tackling the off-road sections of your chosen route.

Durability: 

Unlike their road bike counterparts, rally bikes are designed to withstand the rigors of off-road riding. They have sturdier frames, stronger wheels, and components that can handle bumps, jumps, and rough terrain without breaking down.

Adventure factor: 

Let’s face it, riding a rally bike adds a whole new level of excitement to the Everesting challenge. It’s not just about climbing the elevation; it’s about exploring, navigating, and adapting to the ever-changing conditions of the off-road environment.

The “Up, Down, and Dirty” Approach: A Different Climb

Unlike traditional Everesting routes, which typically involve repeated climbs of the same hill, rally bike Everesters often choose undulating terrain or looped courses. 

Examples of Rally Bike Everesting Adventures:

Lael Wilcox’s Alaskan Odyssey: 

In 2020, endurance cyclist Lael Wilcox attempted an Everesting on the infamous Iditarod Trail in Alaska, conquering the elevation gain on her trusty Salsa Fargo gravel bike (essentially a rally bike). Her 38-hour journey through freezing temperatures, snow, and challenging terrain inspired cyclists worldwide. You can read about her experience here: 

Lachlan Morton’s Epic Everesting: 

Australian cyclist Lachlan Morton took on the Everesting challenge on his terms, choosing a remote gravel route in the Sierra Nevada mountains. His 52-hour adventure, documented on his Instagram (@lachlanmorton), showcased the raw beauty and challenges of Everesting on a rally bike.

Gearing Up for Glory: Conquering Everesting the Rally Way

Forget conquering Mount Everest itself – the true adventurer challenges themself with Everesting on a rally bike. This isn’t a leisurely Sunday ride; it’s an off-road odyssey demanding meticulous preparation. Buckle up, because we’re diving into the essential gear and training you need to conquer this epic challenge.

Your Steed: A Rally Worthy of Everest

Leave the sleek road machines behind. Your weapon of choice is a battle-hardened rally bike, built to withstand punishing terrain and countless climbs. Comfort is paramount, so choose a geometry that fits your riding style like a second skin. Look for reliable components, like Shimano Deore or SRAM GX, that won’t flinch under miles of abuse.

rally bike

Tailor it to your battlefield:

  • Rolling hills and moderate terrain: A hardtail might suffice, offering lightweight efficiency and direct power transfer. Consider the Specialized Stumpjumper HT or Trek Stache.
  • Rocky switchbacks and technical climbs: Full suspension becomes your friend, absorbing bumps and soaking up impacts. Explore options like the Giant Trance X or Santa Cruz Hightower LT.

Gears: Low and Slow (But Ready to Go)

Forget sprinting – this is about grinding up those climbs. Ensure your bike boasts a wide range of low gears, like a 1×12 drivetrain with a large cassette. Imagine crawling up a rock garden with legs screaming – you’ll thank those granny gears then! Don’t underestimate the importance of a solid cassette and derailleur – smooth shifting becomes your mantra. Consider brands like Shimano XT or SRAM X01 for reliable performance.

Tread for the Terrain: Tires that Bite

Grip, glorious grip! Your tires are your connection to the earth, so choose wisely. Puncture-resistant rubber is a must, with tread patterns optimized for your chosen landscape:

  • Loose gravel: Go chunky with aggressive knobs like the Maxxis Minion DHF or WTB Riddler.
  • Rocky climbs: Bitey knobs provide traction on technical terrain. Explore options like the Schwalbe Magic Mary or Continental Mountain King II.
  • Mixed terrain: Versatile all-rounders like the Specialized Butcher or Vittoria Terreno Zero offer a balance between grip and efficiency.

Remember, flats can derail your Everest dream, so invest in quality rubber and consider tubeless setups if your bike allows.

Navigating the Climb: Find Your Way to 8,848m

Lost? Not on your Everesting watch! A GPS device or app becomes your lifeline, tracking your progress and reminding you when to turn around for that next ascent. Familiarize yourself with features like elevation profiles and route creation beforehand. Popular options include Garmin Edge 530 or Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt.

Safety First: Essentials for the Journey

Everesting isn’t about tempting fate. Pack a helmet, a comfortable one like the Giro Montaro MIPS or Bell Super 3R, and wear it religiously. Stay hydrated with a hydration pack like the Osprey Raptor or Camelbak Mule and refill regularly, especially in hot weather. Pack spare tubes, tools, like the Topeak Alien II multi-tool, and emergency supplies, including a whistle and first-aid kit. For low-light riding, consider reflective gear to stay visible. Let someone know your planned route and estimated return time for peace of mind.

Conquering Everesting on a rally bike isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a grueling test of physical and mental fortitude, demanding meticulous preparation. But fear not, intrepid adventurer! Here’s a training roadmap to transform you into an off-road Everest slayer:

Base Building: Laying the Foundation (6-12 weeks before)

  • Endurance Rides: Think long and slow. Gradually increase ride duration and distance, focusing on sustained efforts that mimic your chosen terrain. Aim for 2-3 rides per week, starting with 2-3 hours and progressing to 5-6 hours closer to your attempt. Imagine repeatedly grinding up that local hill – that’s the kind of stamina you’re building.
  • Brick Work: Combine running or swimming with shorter cycling sessions to simulate the demands of transitioning between climbing and descending. This cross-training builds overall fitness and improves recovery.

Hill Mastery: Conquering Your Local Everest (4-8 weeks before)

  • Hill Repeats: Find a local climb resembling your Everesting route’s incline and difficulty. Attack it repeatedly, gradually increasing reps and reducing rest periods. This trains your leg muscles for sustained climbing power. Think 5-8 repeats at first, working your way up to 10-12 as your legs adapt.
  • Climbing Intervals: On flat terrain, practice high-intensity climbing efforts followed by recovery periods. Start with 30-second bursts, building to 2-minute intervals as your fitness improves. This mimics the intensity of steeper sections you’ll encounter.

Technical Prowess: Dancing with Rocks and Roots (2-4 weeks before)

  • Skills Park: Hone your bike handling on challenging terrain. Practice switchbacks with tight turns, navigate rock gardens with confidence and master descents with control. Remember, technical skills save energy and prevent crashes on those technical sections. Think bunny hops, track stands, and controlled slides.
  • Group Rides: Join experienced off-road groups for guided rides or skills clinics. Learn from the experts and gain valuable insights on handling your rally bike in diverse terrain.

Mental Fortitude: Conquering the Inner Everest (Throughout your training)

  • Visualization: Close your eyes and picture yourself tackling the climbs, navigating descents, and savoring the finish line. Imagine overcoming moments of doubt and visualize success. This mental rehearsal builds confidence and resilience.
  • Positive Self-Talk: Silence the inner critic with positive affirmations. Believe in your ability to conquer the challenge and remind yourself of your training efforts. “I am strong,” “I can do this,” and “One climb at a time” become your mantras.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Meditation or deep breathing exercises can help manage stress and anxiety during long rides. Stay present in the moment, focus on your breath, and clear your mind of negativity.

The Final Push: Conquering the Challenge, One Pedal Stroke at a Time

Everesting on a rally bike isn’t just a challenge – it’s a full-blown odyssey pushing you to the edge of your physical and mental capabilities. It’s a journey filled with moments of pure exhilaration, bone-crushing fatigue, and unexpected roadblocks. But fear not, intrepid adventurer! 

The final pedal stroke might be the hardest, but the feeling of accomplishment will be unmatched. You’ve pushed your boundaries, discovered your inner strength, and proven that with determination and the right preparation, anything is possible. So, get out there, conquer your Everesting adventure, and remember – the greatest victory is the journey itself.

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