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Milan Brodina’s Everest Challenge


It’s 3:45 am, two days before Christmas and my alarm clock goes off. I usually don’t use it as my circadian rhythm adopted over time to 5am wake up-train-breakfast-work routine quite nicely. But this morning is different. I need that extra hour. I have set myself for a challenge – to climb on mountain bike the equivalent of the height of Mt. Everest in continues effort. 

The challenge that has its origins in another virtual conquest of the Himalayan peak; as the crux of his Mt. Everest training regime, George Mallory, grandson of the early Everest explorer, cycle-ascended its equivalent elevation on Mount Donna Buang, Victoria, Australia in 1994. Though that achievement went largely without fanfare, two decades later Australian Andy van Bergen transformed the concept into Everesting, an endeavour that would fix imaginations of cyclists the world over, daring those able to ride to an effective top of the world. 

I have roped my partner Lucy to be my part-time support. She is up early too, preparing my “fuel” for the first 6 hour, while I load the gear into the car. It’s only a 10 min drive to my “mountain” and at 5:00 I push start on my Garmin – here we go! The challenge is on. Over the last 10 years racing I have found my niche – laps. I do like multi-laps racing. Mtb XC races, solo 6, 12, 24 hr races or challenge like this one. It is maybe analogue to life – day after day / lap after lap. And every day/lap trying to improve, take better line, better my lap time or staying 100% focused and don’t let my mind drift away. 

And what prompted me to take on the challenge - and the necessary preparation? I believe, as humans, we get comfortable. We’ve got everything we need. We are so comfortable, it’s not common to get into an uncomfortable zone, but that’s the place where you appreciate the comfort more. That’s the underlying theme. 

Sun comes up. One lap = 52min, 470 vertical meters. I have all my fuel & water prepared nicely lined up on the tailgate of my car. Moving time counts. Few friends come over to ride a lap with me and cheer me up in middle of a day. I hope that my Garmin computer is not going to run out of batteries – I do have an external databank, but I don’t want to stop and muck around with it. 8000m - It is getting darker. Neighbouring farmer and his family come out on a quad bike and all four of them drive up behind me, lighting my path up. I ride the last lap up in almost complete darkness. But I am in a flow, really enjoying it and don’t want to stop. Maybe I can do it under 17hrs. I push hard and the legs are hurting. What a feeling when I see the numbers 8848 on my computer. 16hrs 59 min. 

Full of adrenalin I ride down the forestry logging track in complete darkness – I should now the way by now!

And what did I eat? 

I knew that if I want to enjoy it, solid nutrition will be important in this challenge. I have contacted Rachael from Hammer Nutrition and she helped me tune-in my fuelling plan. She is a big advocate of “less is more” strategy, when it comes to fuelling. I was trying it out during my training and I was starting to get convinced. So what did I actually eat? Nothing. I had no solid food over the 17 hrs. Liquid food only. I used one bottle of Hammer Perpetuem per hour. That took care of my water and calorie intake. On top of that every hour I took electrolytes- Hammer Endurolytes Extreme. That’s all. 

What I like about this nutrition plan was that it’s simple – there is no decision involved. I know exactly how many calories I am taking, and if I start to get little bit flat I can easily top it up with a gel or put little bit more Perpetuem in to the bottle. 

Thank you Rachael. 

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