Hey everyone! I’ll be sharing my experience completing a virtual “Everesting” challenge (aka vEveresting) on the Alpe du Zwift in the popular program Zwift. For those who may not be familiar, “Everesting” is the challenge of climbing the equivalent elevation of Mount Everest (8849 metres or 29.029 feet) on a bike. The Alpe du Zwift is a digital replica of the famous Alpe d’Huez climb in the French Alps. It is quickly becoming a popular virtual destination for vEveresting challenges. This was my second time completing this daunting task, but this time I completed it on my Wahoo Kickr Bike. It was in fact my second vEveresting. Apart from that I also completed a 10K Everesting on Ballon d’Alsace outdoors so far. So I have got quite some Everesting experience.
I will be sharing my journey, the challenges I faced, and the lessons I learned along the way. Including the importance of proper nutrition, hydration, pacing, and mental preparation. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting out, I hope my experience can provide some inspiration and helpful tips for anyone looking to tackle their own virtual “Everesting” challenge. So, let’s get started!
Table of Content
What is virtual everesting or vEveresting?
Virtual “Everesting” is a challenge where cyclists aim to climb the equivalent elevation of Mount Everest (29,029 feet or 8849 metres) on an indoor trainer. The concept of Everesting has been around for a while, with riders attempting to conquer the feat on outdoor roads. But the virtual version has become increasingly popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for indoor training options.
The idea behind virtual Everesting is simple. Riders complete multiple laps on an indoor trainer, each lap climbing a certain elevation. The intent is to climb the same ascent or climb time after time. Once the total elevation climbed reaches 29,029 feet or 8849 metres, the rider has completed the virtual Everesting challenge.
To participate in virtual Everesting, all you need is an indoor trainer, a bike, and a way to measure your elevation gain. Many indoor trainers, such as the Wahoo KICKR, have built-in elevation sensors that can track your progress. Alternatively, you can use a power meter on your bike or a GPS device to track your elevation gain.
One of the great things about virtual Everesting is that it can be done at any time, regardless of weather conditions. This makes it a great option for those who live in areas with inclement weather. Or for those who want to participate in the challenge but are unable to travel to a location with significant elevation gain.
Another benefit of virtual Everesting is that it can be done solo or with a group. Many cyclists have formed virtual groups to complete the challenge together, providing support and encouragement throughout the process.
If you’re interested in participating in a virtual Everesting challenge, there are several organized events that you can participate in. Or you can create your own event and invite friends and family to join in.
As you can see, virtual Everesting on an indoor trainer is a fun and challenging way to push yourself physically and mentally. It’s a great way to stay motivated during the winter months or when outdoor training isn’t possible. So why not give it a try and see how high you can climb?
My Virtual Everesting Attempts in Zwift
11th of November 2022 & 28th of January 2023
Virtual Everesting in Zwift is a mental game
As I began my training, I quickly realized that virtual Everesting in Zwift is not just a physical challenge, but also a mental one. The thought of climbing the equivalent elevation of Mount Everest on an indoor trainer seemed impossible at first. But as I started to rack up the elevation gain, I realized that it was all about taking it one step at a time.
One of the biggest mental challenges for me was the monotony of indoor training. Unlike outdoor cycling, where you have the opportunity to change your scenery and enjoy the beauty of nature, indoor training can be quite boring. I found myself staring at the same four walls for hours on end, and it was easy to get mentally fatigued.
Set goals or prepare for binge watching
To combat this, I set small goals for each climb and tried to stay focused on the task at hand. Try to add 5 watts more compared to your previous climb. Try to follow that lady in red which rides in front of you. Reward yourself with some delicious cake after 4 climbs. I also made sure to take a quick break when descending. The good things is, the bike descends on its own 😊 Use this time to do some stretching to keep your body and mind fresh. Additionally, I used podcasts and Netflix Series to keep my mind engaged and distracted during the long hours on the indoor trainer. Binge watching on my bike…
The halfway barrier
Another mental challenge I faced was the fear of failure. As the elevation gain piled up, I began to doubt if I would be able to complete the challenge. I had to remind myself that it was just a matter of putting in the work and staying consistent. When I crossed that halfway barrier, things become mentally easier. Trust me!
A boost of energy
Despite these mental challenges, I found that the sense of accomplishment that came with completing the virtual Everesting challenge was immense. Not only did I push myself physically, but I also proved to myself that I was capable of achieving something that I once thought was impossible.
In conclusion, virtual Everesting is not only a physical challenge but also a mental one. It requires a lot of mental fortitude and determination to push through the monotony of indoor training and the fear of failure. But with the right mindset and approach, it is possible to conquer this daunting feat and achieve a sense of accomplishment that is truly unmatched.
Nutrition and hydration during my vEveresting challenge
Proper drinking and nutrition are crucial during a virtual “Everesting” challenge. The effort required to climb the equivalent elevation of Mount Everest on an indoor trainer is significant and can take several hours to complete. It took me 12 hours the first time and 11 hours the second time. Without proper hydration and nutrition, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated and fatigued, which can negatively impact your performance and increase the risk of injury.
Here are a few tips for ensuring adequate hydration and nutrition during a virtual Everesting challenge.
Nutrition and hydration
- Hydration: It is important to stay hydrated throughout the challenge by drinking enough water and electrolyte-rich fluids. Aim to drink at least 1-2 liters of water per hour and consider using a sports drink or electrolyte tablets to replace the electrolytes lost through sweat.
- Nutrition: Proper nutrition is essential to fueling your body and maintaining energy levels throughout the challenge. Eating a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats is important to provide energy and support muscle recovery. I often switch between salt and sweet nutrition. This makes eating mor comfortable for your stomach. A lot of people only focus on eating carbohydrates and sugar. While these are important your teeth and stomach will go through hell after eating your ninth sweet gel or seventh sweet candy bar.
Timing and Experiment
- Timing: Timing is important when it comes to drinking and eating during the challenge. Try to drink water and electrolyte fluids consistently throughout the challenge to stay hydrated. Eating a small snack every hour or two can help maintain energy levels and prevent fatigue. Try to keep on eating even when you are not hungry anymore. You will notice you will not feel hungry anymore after 6 to 7 hours on your bike. It is crucial though you keep on eating and drinking.
- Experiment: It’s important to experiment with different types of food, fluids and timing before the challenge, this way you will know what works for you during the challenge.
It’s also worth noting that, It’s also important to listen to your body and adjust your hydration and nutrition plan as needed. If you start to feel dehydrated or fatigued, take a break and replenish your fluids and energy stores.
Overall, proper drinking and nutrition are essential for successful completion of a virtual Everesting challenge. By staying hydrated and fueling your body with the right nutrients, you can ensure that you have the energy and endurance to tackle this daunting task and reach the summit of your virtual mountain.
The danger of dehydration during a vEveresting challenge in Zwift
Sweating is a natural bodily response that helps to regulate body temperature and keep us cool during physical activity. However, when it comes to indoor cycling, the increased humidity and lack of fresh air can lead to excessive sweating, which can make it even more important to stay hydrated and replace lost electrolytes. I have added this topic because I always sweat like a pig on my indoor trainer.
One of the main reasons for increased sweating on an indoor trainer is the lack of air circulation. When cycling outdoors, the wind helps to dissipate heat and keep the rider cool. However, when training indoors, the air is not moving as much, leading to a stuffy and humid environment. This can make the body feel hotter and cause an increase in sweat production.
Excessive sweating can also lead to dehydration, which can negatively impact performance and overall health. This is especially true during extreme challenges like a virtual “Everesting” (vEveresting), where the body is under a significant amount of stress and strain. It’s essential to drink enough water to keep the body hydrated and prevent dehydration. Sports drinks or electrolyte supplements can also help to replace lost electrolytes, which are essential for maintaining proper bodily functions.
The importance of a decent fan or airco
Additionally, having a fan or air conditioning in the room can also help to prevent dehydration by keeping the environment cool and circulating fresh air. This can make the rider feel more comfortable and less hot, which can reduce sweating.
In conclusion, sweating is a natural bodily response that helps to regulate body temperature and keep us cool during physical activity. However, when it comes to indoor cycling, the increased humidity and lack of fresh air can lead to excessive sweating, which can make it even more important to stay hydrated, replace lost electrolytes and cool the environment to prevent dehydration and improve performance.
Why I chose the Alpe du Zwift to do my virtual everesting?
The Alpe du Zwift on Zwift is quickly becoming a popular destination for virtual “Everesting” challenges. Here are a few reasons why the Alpe du Zwift is the perfect virtual mountain to conquer your virtual “Everesting” challenge:
- Realistic terrain: The Alpe du Zwift is a digital replica of the famous Alpe d’Huez climb in the French Alps. This means that the terrain is realistic and challenging, providing a true test of your cycling abilities. There are even more realistic apps like Rouvy for example if you really want the real stuff.
- No too heavy and not too light: If I climb I want to climb…This means ascending between 80 and 100 metres per kilometer or an average gradient between 8% and 10%. And that’s more or less the average gradient of the Alpe du Zwift.
- Steady: Besides not too heavy and not too light…steadiness is important for me. I always go for a mountain or climb with a steady gradient. It puts less stress on my body and I can maintain more or less the same pace without having to look at my screen every few seconds. There are less surprises. This also means you can use the same gear whole time through. Which Is quite interesting for a virtual everesting.
- Virtual community: One of the best things about Zwift is the virtual community of riders that you can join and interact with. This can help make the experience more fun and engaging, and also allows you to compete against other riders or even do it in a group. The last time I completed my vEveresting in Zwift there were several riders trying to complete the same challenge. People often change their profile name and add ‘everesting’ or ‘vEveresting’ to it. It gives you that ‘I am not alone’ feeling. And you can chat with the other guys and girls.
- Tracking: Zwift allows you to track your progress. You can see how close you are to reaching your goal of climbing the equivalent elevation of Mount Everest. This can be a great motivator and help you stay on track. I must admit it only becomes a motivator when you are more than halfway into the challenge.
Overall, the Alpe du Zwift on Zwift is the perfect virtual mountain to conquer your virtual “Everesting” challenge. With its realistic terrain, variety of routes, and engaging virtual community, you’ll have everything you need to push yourself to new heights.
The advantages and disadvantages of a steady gradient when doing a vEveresting challenge?
Completing an everesting challenge on a mountain with a steady gradient has both advantages and disadvantages compared to completing it on a mountain with varying gradient.
- Consistent effort: The steady gradient allows for a more consistent pace. This can be easier to maintain over a longer period of time.
- Less stress on the body: Climbing at a steady gradient can put less stress on the legs. This also lowers the risk of overuse injuries.
- Predictable ride: The steady gradient makes it easier to plan the ride and predict how long it will take to complete.
- No shifting of gears: No shifting of gears is a very important one for me. Especially when cycling indoors for a longer period of time. Imagine watching a Netflix series whereby you have to shift gears because of a changing gradient every two minutes. This is hell…trust me. You are not going to complete your vEveresting challenge.
- Boredom: Climbing the same road over and over again can become monotonous and may lead to a lack of motivation.
- Lack of variety: The lack of changes in gradient and scenery may make the challenge less enjoyable.
- Mental challenge: Maintaining focus and motivation over a long period of time on a steady climb can be more challenging than on a mountain with varying gradient.
Ultimately, the choice of mountain or gradient depends on the individual’s preference and the specific challenge they are trying to complete. Some people may prefer a steady gradient for the consistent effort and reduced stress on the body. While others may prefer a mountain with varying gradient for the added mental challenge and variety.
How to prepare for a virtual everesting challenge in Zwift?
Preparation is key! Find below some tips about how I prepare for a Zwift virtual everesting cycling challenge. But feel free to add some more to the comments of course:
- Train regularly: Increase your endurance and strength through steady rides and hill climbs. I think that sounds logic, doesn’t it? I completed my first everesting upon 1,5 years of intense training. Intense training means cycling +/- 20.000 km (+/- 12.500 miles) per year.
- Use proper equipment: Invest in a high-quality indoor trainer, bike, and comfortable clothing. The smoother the indoor trainer, the better. That’s my motto! 😊 I use a Wahoo Kickr Bike but most ‘new’ indoor trainers are smooth and silent these days. It is the sound of the old indoor trainers that annoys me the most. Proper clothing, sweating a lot, is an important one for me. I use dedicated indoor cycling clothing but I can imagine for most of you casual cycling clothing will do. As long as you have a high-quality chamois! An talking about equipment…don’t forget a decent fan or airco system.
- Set up your virtual environment: Choose a virtual cycling platform or app and make sure it’s properly set up and calibrated. For me that’s Zwift but in the past I have also enjoyed Rouvy and Bkool. I used Fulgaz too but it always crashed after one hour of riding.
- Plan your ride: Determine your desired elevation gain per ride, and schedule your rides around your availability and ability. I have chosen the Alpe du Zwift but within Zwift you could also go for the Mont Ventoux, Fox Hill or Innsbruck of course.
- Fuel and hydrate: Make sure you have enough food and drinks to sustain you through each ride. The good thing with virtual everesting is the fact you do not have to stay on your bike when descending. The indoor trainer will descend on your behalf. Thanks a lot 😊Each ascent therefore gives you some well-deserved 10 minutes time to grab a drink or some food.
- Track your progress: Keep track of your elevation gain, distance, and time for each ride to monitor your progress towards your goal.
- Rest and recover: Make sure you get enough sleep and proper nutrition before and after each ride.
- Stay motivated: Set achievable goals, listen to music or audio books, and find a virtual riding community to keep you motivated. It was my second time now completing a vEveresting challenge and my partners in crime are Netflix and Disney+. Since you will be on the indoor trainer for 10 to 15 hours look for a good series or a series of good movies. Binge wachting on your bike… there are worse things in life.