A Leeds cycling fan has done the extraordinary by riding up Norwood Edge a total of 53 times in a single day, conquering in the process the vertical elevation of Mount Everest. The two-wheeled slog, which took 17 hours to complete, amounted to over 8,900 metres of climbing, and a few pedal strokes over the official height of the world’s highest mountain.

Richard Banks, 32, from Leeds, achieved the epic effort on the 1.9 kilometre hill north of Otley, West Yorkshire, which features in Simon Warren’s definitive book 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs. Banks, a charity architect, operated without supplementary oxygen instead stuffed his Spokesman jersey pockets with protein goodies to set up the successful assault.

But where does an idea for such a back-breaking workout come from? As Banks explains he first heard of climbing Everest on a bike (aka Everesting) from the popular blog by hill climbing specialist, Tejvan Pettinger. Once on the radar, Banks got in to shape by competing in regular sportives before giving it his full, and undivided attention.

“I did a previous Everest attempt (official height of 8,848m) on Norwood in May 2016,” says Banks, “and only got to 18 reps, around 3,500 metres. I really wasn’t ready in terms of fitness, experience or preparation.”

Already there’s unfinished business, and under the official rules of the Hells 500 Club (can you believe there are rules for this HTTP://WWW.EVERESTING.CC/THE-RULES/ ), everything was ready for a revisit. Fast forward to June 2017, and Banks parked his car at the top of the climb, with the vehicle doubling up as a mobile gel dispenser, and began his first ascent at 6am.

Luckily, Norwood Edge is Rich Banks’ favourite hill climb or the boredom might have been too much for a single rider to handle.  Admittedly, the scenery has a woodland gloss, yet there is strategy in tackling the beast of Norwood as Banks further explains: “Every 4 or 5 reps I stopped at the top for a few minutes and had something to eat. The plan was not to have a big meal, but just keep eating little and often, and that was the key.”

“I broke the climb down into targets, and by midday had done 20 reps. By 4pm I had done another 20 so from then on it was literally uphill all the way.”


Richard Banks’ Garmin


Everesting is a new concept to cycling and has been promoted by the Strava era. Records and distances vary from climb to climb but Banks looks to have the Norwood benchmark for the moment. A previous and successful attempt by cyclist Paul Willcoxson in 2016 took two hours longer and clocked a distance of over 200km.

The slope itself may only be 1.9km in length, averaging 9.2%, yet it offers some respite following a hard 16% push from the bottom. From then on the ride allows some recovery until the next rise and a steady heave-ho to the top. Spotting the white domes of Menwith Hill in the distance will announce a full 174m of climbing all the way from base camp to summit.

So what about the future? Repeating the ride is not something Banks wants to contemplate even if another rider eclipses his time. Instead, he will concentrate on another cycling challenge such as riding 500km through five national parks, over five classic climbs, all on the same day.

This cycling Spokesman wishes Richard the best of luck.

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