WEEK #79 HOW ARE WE DOING? Back to San Francisco..?

One bike, one hill and a few determined men…

It’s called Everesting, or #everesting if you prefer. It started on Strava, the website and app that lets you analyse your cycling performance and that of others. Sort of a social media for (competitive) athletes.

Back home in Amsterdam the cycling team I ride with, Team HBH, and I use it to get more KOM’s, or King of the Mountains. A KOM is a segment from A to B, whoever is the fastest, is the King. And there are quite a few segments to win in Amsterdam, but even more in San Francisco, home of Strava.

San Francisco, California. A beautiful city with enough hills and segments to make the average Strava user go crazy. And some guys have really gone crazy…


The view fro Hawk Hill

During my time in San Francisco last year, I was there for about two months for fundraising & cycling; I had the opportunity to meet a lot of great people. Most of them are avid athletes, whether it is running or cycling, they are all fanatic and love the sports the practise. Some people maybe even a bit too much. But how much is too much?

Don’t get me wrong, I love to exercise, train and go beyond my limits occasionally. 99%RIDE is also about the sport of cycling, and it’s something I love. Sometimes you get some really good days; long distances, high elevations and fast descents. But it’s in the elevation that gets me going.
See, I’m from The Netherlands, one of the flattest countries in the world. The highest elevation we get in the vicinity of Amsterdam is about 50 meters. Yes, you read it, 50 meters high. As in 164 feet, for those who don’t use the metric system 😉 When I’m in the mountains, I’m happier.

Cycling up a mountain is hard. All your weight and the weight of the bicycle need to fight gravity. Constantly. Most of the time at different ascents, too, making it heavier and more strenuous. So why do it? For me it’s the reward, the view, the satisfaction afterwards and the overall challenge. Pushing myself physically and mentally. It’s a suffering that just… Tastes good.

Before 99%RIDE my longest climb was probably the famous Alpe d’Huez in France. 14 kilometers and 21 hairpin turns take you to an altitude of around 1800 meters (6070 ft.). Now, in the Andes Mountains, things are different. I’m cycling up hills that go on for 90 kilometers, which take me to 4000 meters (13120 ft.). Different story. Oh yeah, I’m not on a road bike but on a fully loaded tour bike weighing in at 55-60 kg (110 lbs.).

Now, back to #everesting. Mount Everest is 8850 meters high. That’s a lot of elevation to cover, even on a bike. Strava started an online challenge, The Climbing Challenge, to see if you can climb the equal amount of elevation as Mt. Everest in 20 days. Some people do it one (1) day. That’s called #everesting. And it’s crazy.

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a friend of mine (Chris) in San Francisco, he’s planning to do a charity event for 99%RIDE, something I really appreciate. Yet he’s thought of something quite insane (sorry Chris).


Hawk Hill seen from Crissy Field

Hawk Hill, the beautiful mountain overlooking The Golden Gate Bridge, is a favourite amongst San Francisco cyclists. It’s got it all, the elevation, the turns, the ascent and finally, the awesome view.
It’s also a Strava segment. Over 100,00 attempts by more than 12,000 cyclists have been made in the last few years. The climb isn’t too difficult, but that’s not the point. You want to set a Personal Record, beat a friend and beat an enemy. You want to be that King of the Mountain.


Elevation profile Hawk Hill

How many times do you have to cycle up Hawk Hill to be #everesting? Chris did the math and it turns out you need to climb Hawk Hill 49 times to reach the equal amount of elevation as Mt. Everest. That’s a distance of 235 kilometers (146 miles). All that packed in one day. And some people say I’m crazy…

Chris has set up a crowdfunding campaign along with some other athletes to help raise awareness and funds for 99%RIDE. All of the proceeds made by anyone interested in, supporting or even joining them on their outrageous mission will be going to the 99%RIDE Foundation. In turn, these funds will be used to support projects I will be visiting in South America, all concerning children & education.

If you love to cycle, live in or near San Francisco, please mark January 10th 2015 in your agenda. It’s the biggest cycling event the Bay Area will see the coming year. I dare you to join them…

From Abancay, Peru,

Dirk Spits

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One Thought on “WEEK #79 HOW ARE WE DOING? Back to San Francisco..?

  1. Best of luck! FYI it started at Hells 500. Group down in Melbourne, Australia. They’re the ‘Keepers of the Cloud’. See: http://www.everesting.cc/ .

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