So, what I know (or think I know) is that I’m going to have a go at everesting in July, using the climb between Les Carroz and the Col de Pierre Carree in the Haute Savoie. It’s about 11.5 km with a 725 m ascent at a fairly steady gradient in the order of 6.5%. It will take 12 and a bit reps to climb the necessary 8848 m. The distance to be cycled will be about 280 km (175 miles).
What I don’t know is how long it will take me – assuming I complete the ride – both on the bike and for rest and meals.
When I did the climb last summer (just once) it took about 54 minutes on the way up and 13 on the way back down. With no fall off of performance (which is completely unrealistic), that would indicate around 14 hours on the bike.
In 2015, the Cingle du Mont Ventoux (about 4500 m of climbing and 130 km so almost exactly half of an everesting) took 8 hours on the bike and 10.5 hours total time elapsed. Clearly double the climbing will mean even more extreme tiredness but that might be a bit offset by a friendlier gradient, less wind and no time being spent at the top (there is nothing but a col marker at the top of Pierre Carree although, to be fair, there is little of any merit at the top of Ventoux!).
All that seems to suggest being out for somewhere between 18 to 22 hours in total. Looking at the Hells 500 website, that fits reasonably well with the bulk of the elapsed times achieved by previous ‘everesters’, although the range is huge – between 9 and 40 hours.
Daylight hours in the alps at that time of year should be around 6 am to 21.15. I may be badly out but if 18 to 22 hours is realistic, it might make sense to start in the early hours to do the cycling in the dark while fresh, in the hope of finishing without too much riding in the dark at the end. It may be that starting like that also has a benefit from the normal boost sunrise can give.
Frankly, it’s just guesswork but it’s all I have to go on.
I’m with 5 friends on the trip to France – 3 of us are driving out together, one is driving from Germany where he lives and works and 2 are flying out to join us. I don’t want to mess up their cycling and none of them are mad enough to want to join me other than for a bit of company on a rep here and there.
My current thinking is that if the 3 of us drove out taking a shuttle in the early hours of the Saturday, we would arrive early afternoon. I could then try to catch up on some sleep while they got in an afternoon ride (if they want), eat with everyone in the evening and leave to do my attempt in the early hours on the Sunday.
God alone knows what shape I might be in for the rest of the week but that will have to take care of itself.
Does that sound like a plan?