When you hear a fellow club member say, “I fancy a hilly ride”, your imagination turns to rolling green hills, drystone walls, quiet undulating roads, and everything else that the splendour of the Peak District has to offer. That is unless the member in question is called Andrew Ebbage.
For some time now an itch inside his mind has needed a scratch, as he has been quietly contemplating completing an Everesting challenge on Carr Lane in Palterton. For those of you that are not quite sure what this entails, it’s to complete the equivalent height of Mt Everest (8848m) in a single ride within a 24-hour timeframe and on the same hill repeatedly. The first person to complete the challenge on that hill is the only person who can claim the title. In this case the magic number of ascents of Carr Lane needed was 89. Most of us that have climbed it over the years agree that once is enough for anyone!
Well, after a few months of detailed reconnaissance and gauging the effort required, Andrew finally stepped up to the plate at 5.30am on Saturday 17th June 2017. A date that will live long in his memory for a variety of reasons. Joining him at such an early hour was Michael Jervis, who would act as early pacesetter and motivational support until the time came for further support of other members who were to wake at a more reasonable time.
The sun rose in the sky and very soon into the challenge the heat was rising. Additional support from other riders came and went as the hours slowly passed by. At 11am when he was climbing at around 7 minutes per repetition he had around 33 climbs in the bag and the heat was bearable. His plan was to do so many ascents, then take a short refuelling break before a longer stop for lunch. As mid-afternoon approached, on now what was the hottest day of the year so far with temperatures up around 30 degrees Celsius, the heat and enormity of the challenge ahead was proving difficult for Andrew to see a way of completing his dream. With each energy sapping ascent and at around the 50 laps completed mark came more and more doubt in his mind. That was until Shaun and Libby Clark arrived with an impromptu Ice Bucket Challenge!!
This one act was the turning point in Andrew’s belief. With his core temperature vastly reduced, and the endless stream of additional support riders, the afternoon soon gave way to the evening and the number of repetitions left to complete were tumbling, not as fast as I’m sure Andrew would’ve liked, but the outstanding balance had certainly tipped in his favour. Throughout the day the unerring support from his wife, Janey, and daughter, Lizzie, is to be commended. Bringing food and drinks of all manner, from iced coffees to the chippy tea, he certainly married a diamond there.
Andrew had an idea at 5.30am that by 10 o’clock that night the pain would be over, everyone would be singing his praises and much deserved sleep would be looming. The reality was starkly different. With an ever-growing crowd at the top of the hill, and a good supportive bunch still accompanying him on every lap, what he’d imagined would be the finish time saw him complete only his 77th ascent mainly because of fatigue causing climb time to reach over the 8.5 minute mark. That dark cloud of misery had also once again descended to darken his mood. That was until Dave Martin turned up at the bottom of the hill with his mobile refreshment van! A quick cup of Yorkshire’s finest and a slice of malt loaf later Andrew was invigorated once again with his energy levels topped up in line with someone ticking off an insane number of laps on a hill in the dark of night time.
Then finally, at 12.34am, some 19 hours after he’s crossed the start line, the triumphant Mr Ebbage approached the finish line with a final burst of speed, heading the pack that couldn’t quite keep his wheel, to a huge round of applause in admiration of the man that had conquered Everest.
A feat of this magnitude is hard to imagine. The support of the club riders that turned up to ride with him, whether it be one rep or tens of reps, was quite overwhelming. Each and every one happy to give their time to spur Andrew on to his long-held dream, to be the first man to Everest Carr Lane.
Well done Andrew…. You flaming nutter!