If you live in the River Place neighborhood, you may have seen a cyclist pedaling up and down the bike-swallowing hill on Big View Drive last weekend.
That was Andy Coulbeck, a 51-year-old software developer originally from Leicester, England, in the midst of an “Everesting” attempt.
For the uninformed: To properly “Everest,” a cyclist must bike up and down a single hill until he or she has climbed 29,000 feet – the same as the famous mountain. A strict set of rules developed by a group of guys from Australia governs each attempt.
For Coulbeck, that meant 70 trips up and 70 trips down Big View Drive. He began at just after 5 p.m. last Saturday, rode through the night and finished about 26 hours later – at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Coulbeck says he’s not really an athlete, although he does play soccer. He started cycling after having surgery and prepared for his assault on Big View Drive by biking up and down hills around West Austin during the heat of the afternoon. He rides a basic, entry-level aluminum road bike made by Raleigh.
The hardest point came at 3 or 4 a.m., when he was about halfway done. “I was slowing down really significantly and I was alone,” he says. Happily, a trio of cyclists he rides with turned up unexpectedly and gave him a burst of motivation.
The feat was more mentally than physically daunting, he says. “Physically I knew it was possible, but it’s just persuading yourself to go,” he says.
He took breaks along the way, and fueled himself, he confesses, with a burger, fries and a milkshake from P. Terry’s, plus a frappuccino from Starbucks, delivered by a friend. “Other than that it was Powerade and all sorts of junk food.”
That last loop, he says, was brilliant. “I had a burst of energy on that final lap,” he says.
He recorded his ride via Strava and submitted the data to the folks who compile the Hall of Fame for Everesting. His name is officially on the list. You can see it here.
Coulbeck says he felt pretty good after the ride, despite a sore rear end. He’s glad he did it, although he also says, “Never again.”
Worldwide, about 600 people have completed the feat, including about 50 in the United States.
“My goal was to be first in Texas to do that and I was,” he says. “Somebody will do it faster, but no one can take that away from me.”
One other record he holds? His is the hottest successful Everesting accomplishment ever. The average temperature was 86 degrees, which was fine for Coulbeck, who says, “I would rather be hot and uncomfortable than cold and uncomfortable.”
Clearly, he chose the right way to summit Everest.