GCN’s Everesting Challenge | Ollie VS The Passo Valparola

GCN’s Everesting Challenge | Ollie VS The Passo Valparola


(upbeat music) – I’m here in the ridiculously beautiful Alta Badia because I’m going
to attempt an Everesting. And, what is an Everesting? I hear some of you ask. Well, the concept is fiendishly simple. It basically involves
picking a hill, any hill, let’s face it, there’s a
lot of ’em around here, and riding up and down it
continuously until you reach the cumulative elevation gain of Everest, which is 8,848 meters above
sea level or 29,028 feet. The concept of Everesting was devised by a chap called George Mallory. No, not that one,
although they are related. This George Mallory is
actually the grandson of George Mallory who,
sadly, died while trying to become the first person
to summit Everest in 1924. And he was actually training for climbing Mount Everest himself and
as part of his training, he devised the idea of
Everesting on a bike. So, why take on a ridiculous
challenge like Everesting? Well, when the original
George Mallory was planning on climbing up Mount Everest,
he was asked famously by journalists at the time, why? And his simple reply, uh, was “Because it’s there.” And the same kind of
rings true to me, really. I think as cyclists, we’re
obsessed with riding up mountains and seeing what we’re capable of. And, you know, I really like to do that, I like to push myself to the limit and you know, experience that. Which climb am I going to Everest? Well, the answer is
the Passo di Valparola, and it’s over there. It’s absolutely beautiful. It’s 14 kilometers long with
an average gradient of 5.8%. Although this is sort of 4.5% in the bottom half and
about 8% in the second half, so that’s going to make
things interesting. The elevation gain for one ascent of this climb is just under 800 meters, meaning I’m going to have to do 11.5 reps, let’s say 12 reps, just to be sure. The main reason you
need to be aware of now, as to why I’ve chosen it, is because there’s a
thing with Everesting, and that is, if you are the first person to successfully Everest a climb, then you get your name put in the Everesting Hall of Fame, forever. And that can never be taken away. So, if I’m successful, I will be on the Everesting Hall of Fame, because no one has ever been up this climb doing an Everesting before. Now, I’ll never be the first
person to climb Mount Everest or walk on the moon or go on a date with Kate Upton but I can be the first person to ride 12 ascents of the Passo di Valparola in a row within a 24 hour period, and I mean, it’s right up there. This challenge scares me. It’s gunna be further than
I’ve ever ridden before with more elevation than
I’ve ever ridden before, and to be quite honest, I’m
not sure that I can do it, and, but I kind of like that,
because it means that, you know, nothing worth achieving is easy, and if I do do this, I
will just feel elated. Got my kit ready for tomorrow, so. There’s, uh, quite a few important things, so I’m gunna go through
what I’m planning to use. The first thing is that
the weather tomorrow is not looking the warmest. Um, it could be around
five degrees on the top, which is quite chilly, and also it’s going to be quite chilly when we set off in the morning and
there could be some rain in the afternoon, so my kit reflects that. I’ve got so, a quite
medium-weight base layer, I’ve got the standard jersey and shorts. Wearing knee warmers and arm warmers. Which, I’m also going to
take this nice sheer layer as well which gives a bit of warmth, and also some toe covers and a cap. Now, I’ve also got a load of
food here that you can see. Now, the thing is, I’m
not taking all this food, that would be loads of weight to carry up the mountain every time. My plan is to store a load of this food at the hotel we’re staying at, which is the Hotel Fedora, which, conveniently, is located on the climb. So that’s awesome because it means it can be my Everesting base camp, or as I like to call it Ammo Dump. Other things I’ve got, the shoes, got the nice Kask Valegro
helmet which is super lite, got the Roka shades, probably
the most important piece of equipment, the Wahoo bolt. Key piece of kit, we’ll
make sure that’s charged. Got the heart rate monitor as well to sort of help pace myself. Little things as well, running
tubular tires on the Canyon. So, I’ve got some sealant and a pump. If I do get a puncture that doesn’t seal, I’ve got a spare set of
wheels that are located in my Ammo Dump at the hotel, so I’ll just come down
and switch out the wheels. Also got some lights. The other thing I should point out quickly is I’ve also got a load
of other kit over here. Kit that I don’t think
I’ll need but I might need. Things like big heavy waterproof jacket. I hope I don’t need this. Spare set of socks. And this, which is, if it
does get really bad weather, this is like the new ASOS Mille jacket. Also got some suntan cream. And with regards to food,
I’ve a got a load of gels, some caffeine gels, some
little caffeine bars from SIS. Also got a load of, sort
of, cold-pressed date bars, but I’m probably going
to grab some strudel or something along the way as well. There’s lots of strudel
stops on this climb, so, be ready. (meditative music) Just in the hotel room now, bedding down before,
the challenge tomorrow, and yeah, it’s daunting, definitely. You know, I’m not a pro, I’m
genetically unremarkable, distinctly average in the genetic stakes. (laughs) Um, I could, depressingly,
probably take all the drugs in the world and still never be able to win the Tour de France. (laughs) But, um, I think this is a challenge that’s all about mental
strength, you know? I could never be as physically strong as a professional, but can
I be as mentally strong? And I think this will, without a doubt, push me to that limit. But, I’m definitely nervous. I mean, I’m more nervous than a tiny nun attending a penguin shoot. (laughs) It’s about 6 a.m. right now,
still dark, the sun’s not up. Hopefully, the sun will be up when we get, finish the first rep, which would be nice. So, I just wanna get going, I guess. Oh, my, all right. – [Camera Guy] See you down there. – See you down there. (motivational music) – [Emma] Ollie, it’s basically dark. Why do we have to start so early? – [Ollie] Well, it’s all a part of my ingenious pacing strategy. – [Emma] Okay. – [Ollie] Well, the
thing is, is we only have about 13 hours of daylight. – [Emma] Uh-huh. – [Ollie] And I think this is going to take me longer than 13 hours. – [Emma] Have you thought of just riding faster so you don’t have to
do as many reps in the dark? (Ollie laughing) – [Ollie] Ah, well I think I’m going to be going as fast as
I can, to be honest. – [Emma] So, another question. – [Ollie] Yeah? – [Emma] Why have you chosen this climb? It feels like it has a lot of flat in it. Is it just ’cause you wanted
to be in the Hall of Fame and this was the last climb left? (Ollie laughs) – [Ollie] Well, there’s lots of climbs, but, yeah the negative against this climb is there is a middle section
with quite a bit of flat. – [Emma] Yeah. – [Ollie] So, you’ve got
aerodynamics to contend with. – [Emma] Yeah. – [Ollie] Um, which is right, but it does have a lot going for it. The road surface is really good. – [Emma] Yeah. – [Ollie] It’s our hotel’s on it. – [Emma] That’s a good point. – [Ollie] Which is good,
so that acts as base camp. – [Emma] Yep. – [Ollie] And also, the descent is rapid, not very technical. – [Emma] Yep. – [Ollie] There’s loads, you know, there’s not many turns on
it, it’s very straight, so I can do a descent very quickly. But if you can’t really see it right now, but it is absolutely stunning. (upbeat music) So, one of the bits of advice that all the Everest veterans I
spoke to gave me was, when you do one of these things, try and get as much support
on the road as you can. So, fortunately, I’ve got
some world-class friends. – Aw thanks, mate. – I meant, like, in your
cycling ability, right? – Yeah, that’s what I though you meant. (Ollie laughing) – But, it’s not every day
that you get a tow and domestiqued by a World Champion. – See, I’m only actually now
bronze in World Champion. (Ollie laughing) Should’ve brought the bronze in, really. (upbeat music) – Mate, you’re spinning so fast, you’re actually making me feel like I’m in the wrong gear the whole time. What ratio have you got on that Canyon? – I’m going full-on Chris
Froome gearin’ today, 34, 32. Yes, you’ve got to spin to win, you know? – Yeah. – Like, make life easy as possible. – [Emma] Don’t over-tax your muscles. – Well, yeah, save, save the muscles and avoid grinding as much as possible. – You always want to avoid grinding, yeah. – Yeah, yeah, I’m not
a big fan of grinding. Doing all right, feels good, still zone two heart
rate, so, it’s going well. – I just feel like I really,
really want a coffee. (upbeat music) – People ask, like,
why, why do an Everest? And there’s lots of reasons,
and that’s gotta be one of ’em. (upbeat music) – That’s first rep, I
feel good, pace is good. Just going to keep crackin’ on now, so I’m gonna smash it down the descent. Just go as quick but as safe as I can. The views around, look
at this, it’s amazing! This is like paradise. All right, see ya in a bit! (upbeat music) Rep two. I’m just trying to hold the
same pace I did on rep one, which is kind of like
a zone two heart rate for me and about 250 watts. So, just stick to the pacing. Don’t get too carried away. There’s a long way to go. But, I’m going to do my
Peter Sagan impression, which is, for me, is a very good climb, it’s, eh, not too steep. (electronic music) I’m feeling all right. But when you get to the top section, the altitude’s noticeable and, you know, about 2,100 meters, so it has an effect, but (panting) all good. I wanna keep stopping and
taking Instagram photos, but that’ll probably be
my undoing, look at that! (laughs) (upbeat music) All right, gonna crack on now. Don’t want it to be dark. (upbeat music) – Quick, quick pit stop. – Is one croissant going to be enough? – Yeah. – That is, I’ve never seen anyone eat a croissant in one mouthful. (laughing) That’s ridiculous! That is absolutely rank. (laughing) Don’t choke now, don’t choke. That could ruin it. (upbeat music) – Ollie, I’m sorry I
abandoned you for a few reps. So, we did rep one together and then you’ve done eight since and now you’re on lap
number 10 of the Valparola. How’re you feeling? – Tired, I’m absolutely crawlin’. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. – No, no, you’re not crawling, mate. You’re pacing economically. (Ollie laughs) And, uh, well, you’re really,
I mean, you’re almost there. It’s only two and a half to go now. – Yeah, yeah, this is true. Just home stretch now, but I don’t think there’s going to be a sprint finish, Em. – Really, well, you’re not
racing anyone, so that’s fine. (laughing) I think you’re going to be,
you’re going to make it. And it was supposed to be tough, right? – Yeah. – Supposed to be a challenge. And, uh, I have to say, you’re not quite as cheerful as you were this morning. (laughing) – Oh, man. (upbeat music) – Feeling like I’m just completely empty. I’m crawlin’, but like I’ll keep going. I won’t stop. I mean, if I don’t complete this, then I’ll be ex-communicated
from Yorkshire. I’ll never be able to return
and show my face there again. So, I mean, not finishing
it is not an option. All I’m thinkin’ about right now is just- – Shower. – Well, more, just like
loads of gelato and, I think if you’re going to do
an Everesting, come to Italy, because it’s the best place
for the food afterwards. – Yeah. – Gelato, pasta, pizza. – Yeah, but you don’t want
anything sweet, do you? I always crave, like, salty,
non-carbohydrate food. – Salted caramel gelato. – Yeah. (laughs) (upbeat music) – I feel like I’m going
embarrassingly slowly now. – Just pacing, Ollie, just pacing. (upbeat music) – Only two reps to go. I know I can do it. It’s going to be really hard. It’s going to be, it’s
not going to be pretty, but I know I can do it. I knew this challenge
was going to be hard, but I never imagined it
was going to be this hard. This is ridiculous,
I’m finding this tough. This is, like, this is easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Look at the state of this
climb, it’s outrageous. (upbeat music) – [Crowd] Ollie! All right, Ollie!
(clapping) – Last one. – And I don’t feel good. – Oh, like you’ve got snot, sorry. You’ve got runny nose. (laughing) – Oh, God. I’m just about to start my last rep now and I can’t wait to finish. (laughs) I think in about an
hour, I’ll feel amazing. I’m just going to get it done. I’m gunna do it, I’m gunna do it. (upbeat music) – [Man] Do it for Yorkshire, Yorkshire! (upbeat music) – Whew, I’ve completed it! Twelve reps of the Valparola done. I’ve actually spent about
9,200 meters of altitude in the end and there’s
something quite romantic and poetic and very
humbling about finishing such a mammoth task alone,
in the dark, in the cold. Up at the top here. But, I mean, this is something that I’m gunna remember
for the rest of my life. I apologize about the lack of quality on this video right now. All my batteries are dead. But, yeah, this has been epic. All right. I’m gonna ride down now, in the dark. Because the guys have got beers waiting. So, all right, let’s do it. (crowd cheering) – [Man] Yehay, nice work, mate! (laughing) – Thanks, man. (laughing) – Don’t spill it. – That is a big day, man. – [Man] You looked remarkably
happier when we saw you. I’m quite impressed. – That’s the greatest pint in the world. I mean, it’s not Tetley’s, but it’ll do. I feel, um, yeah, like, um, well, relief, really, finally finishing it, um, yeah. Big sense of achievement, and that’s the hardest ride I’ve
ever done in my life. I (blows out air) without a doubt. I think, in general, like, for me, a large part of cycling is, like, setting yourself a
challenge and achieving it. And whether that challenge is
being in the Tour de France, winning the Tour de France,
riding around the world, riding just 50 miles, and like, set yourself a challenge
and try and do it. I’ve set myself a
ridiculous challenge today, but I have managed to
do it, which is good. All right. – Good work, mate. Enjoy the beer. (cameraman whooping) Get ya some dinner. – Yeah. I hope you’ve enjoyed watching this video. It has been ridiculously hard. And, if you have, please
give it a thumbs up. And, if you’d like to see
a video about the equipment and about the bike I used to do this, which has been absolutely
amazing, then click here.