With no domestic pro racing in 2020 due to ongoing pandemic concerns, CS Velo Racing climber, Sean Gardner, needed to find something to ride for. He planned an audacious attempt on the Everesting world record.
Sean’s modest note to us a month before the attempt said, “While I am an average level pro cyclist, the long tempo climbing effort is what I excel at and think I have a good shot at getting a top 10 time at least in the world at the moment.”
The hot Virginia summer wasn’t conducive to an Everesting attempt, however. September 15 was a cool day, perfect, with a bit of a chill in the air in the morning.
With the weather making for an unexpectedly perfect day for an Everesting attempt, Sean hadn’t prepared his gear for seven hours of climbing. “It kind of came up really last minute so I didn’t have much on the marginal gains side of things. I just used my regular disc brake road bike without any modifications.”
It wasn’t just his gear that was unprepared. He’d never attempted an Everesting before, nor a time trial of this length. “Going into the challenge I really had no idea what to expect.” It was to be an entirely new experience.
But although it was an adventure into the unexpected, Sean had done his homework. “I had worked out the numbers ahead of time and thought the world record pace might be in the realm of possibility. I chose a climb that was .8 miles long and about 12.5% gradient. I would have to do 49 laps in just over 7 hours.”
“I went out at that pace expecting to blow up pretty early on, but I was able to hold World Record pace for about the first four hours.”
Seven hours of climbing takes its toll though. In the fifth hour, Sean began to suffer. He bled time as he tried to ride through the pain, and saw the record slipping away from him.
After riding through this rough spot Sean put in a strong finish. It wasn’t quite enough to make up the time lost on the World Record, but his final results are worthy of celebration: he comfortably set a new American record, and finished second place in the World Record standings.
“Overall happy with the effort and one of the hardest things I have done both mentally and physically. Big thanks to the parents for coming out to help support and hand me pop tarts and bottles at the top.”
He’s already planning a second attempt, using his new experience and marginal gains to hopefully set a new world record. And this time he’ll have a Karoo 2, of course.
“The competition put on by @hells500 is super cool. Just an awesome experience and allows people from across the world to compete against each other in these socially distanced times and keep the inner competitive spirit alive.”
Incredible ride, Sean, and good luck for the next attempt.