Two Estonian women have set a first in completing a grueling cycling challenge, climbing over 9,000 meters across a 191-kilometer course in Germany at the weekend.
Known as "Everesting" given the total height climbed is the equivalent, or in this case more, than the height of the world's tallest peak (8,848m), completing the course requires cycling up and down the same route until the height is attained, which the two cyclists, Karmen Reinpõld and Liisi Alamaa, completed in very wet conditions on Saturday, also Restoration of Estonian Independence day.
The pair, Reinpõld, a top cycling coach and European Championship bronze medal holder, and Alamaa, a former pro cyclist preparing for the triathlon world championships, took 14 hours, 36 minutes and four seconds to complete 9,072 m of ascent.
The section of road, just 1.55km in length and located near Glashütte, just south of Dresden, in Saxony, was chosen, thanks to its 9.8 percent gradient.
Alamaa said: "The idea was born at the beginning of the year, when I suggested to Karmen that after last year's 313km distance, we could take the climbing meters as a fresh challenge instead. I had heard briefly about Everesting before, and it seemed like an exciting enough, and slightly awe-inspiring, undertaking."'
"In addition, we had a great desire to do something for the very first time. This has now been ticked off the bucket list!"
Reinpõld said: "14 hours is a long time, particularly when routinely doing the same thing over and over again. We cycled uphill for 12 minutes, while coming down took about two minutes. This, 60 times over."
"We started at 6 in the morning and finished at 9:30 pm.. We had accepted that it was going to rain for the first eight hours, looking at the weather forecast. The fact that the rain almost never ended became pitiful during the ride, or in fact led to indifference."
Alamaa added that at least the rain and cool conditions, 16-18C, were easier than in 37C heat, though the wet conditions required extra care.
Reinpõld added that the first 10 laps went by quite quickly, while the low-point was around laps 51-55 (of 60), by which time she was fearing both the onset of cramps and of a lack of energy due to insufficient nutrition – neither of which materialized in fact.
Alamaa agreed that the last few hours were hardest, though added that, even though the pair did not really speak during their ordeal, it was easier together than it would have been to have completed the challenge solo.
Not only are Reinpöld and Alamaa the first Estonian women to have completed the Everisting challenge, they also outdid all the men who have finished the challenge, whose times range from just under 16 hours, to around 20 hours.
Editor: Andrew Whyte