A data-driven approach to the “Everesting” cycling challenge


A data-driven approach to the “Everesting” cycling challenge


Citation HERE.


All keen cyclists might sensibly guess that the “Everesting” challenge involves cycling up a hill repeatedly until an elevation gain equal to Mount Everest’s height is achieved.

Apparently, interest surged during the COVID-19 pandemic and I can anecdotally vouch to seeing several people repeatedly cycling up the relatively smooth and gently inclined tarmac of Box hill. I suspect these cyclists were simply out to complete the challenge rather than to break a world record.

Had they been seeking some kind of record they would have chosen a different hill. Unsurprisingly, the time to complete the challenge depends on fitness, plus the length and gradient of the hill. Other factors come into play too and a serious attempt requires preparation and an understanding of the relationship between the rider’s strengths and the environment.

A new Study in Nature by Raeymaekers & Seo [Feb 2023], used machine learning algorithms to segment cyclists into groups based on their characteristics and performance.  Here’s what they found


The study found that a cyclist’s power per unit body mass and the tradeoff between gradient and distance are the main factors that determine the time to complete an Everesting challenge, rather than the number of hill repeats. Cyclists with a high power per unit body mass should choose a steep hill to minimize distance and time, while those with lower power should choose a hill with a gradient of less than 10%. The study recommends elite cyclists with a power per unit body mass of 2.5-3.0 watts/kg to select a steep hill and minimize distance and time.

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3 thoughts on “A data-driven approach to the “Everesting” cycling challenge

    1. i looked at that when i quoted it and wondered the same.
      3w/kg obviously isn’t the definition of an elite cyclist
      i think it’s saying that an elite athlete weighing 70kg should target 210watts as their climbing power. (maybe average that, idk)

      i translated “Everesting” to ascents of Box Hill and decided that Ben Nevising might be easier

  1. Ha ha – I “half Everested” (16000’+) on foot at a ski slope a few years ago, when the lifts were open I used those for my descents. That took me 10 hours. I *could* have continued into the night for the remaining 11k’ I suppose but that was my limit that day in training.

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