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American cyclist Sean Gardner is the first to have broken the seven hour Everesting mark while also setting a new men’s World Record in a time of 6:59:38.
Gardner set the new record on a road called Tanners Ridge Road, Virginia with a total ride distance of 116km, over an average gradient of 15.5% with a maximum gradient of 22.6% over 51 laps. Yep…that’s steep:
Gardner who races for Philadelphia based club CS Velo and is USAC level 3 coach previously held a 07:25:59 on Reeds Gap, Virginia on 15/09/2020.
Gardner told CyclingTips after his effort, “Nothing is easy right now! So going into it I had worked out the numbers and new pretty much exactly the power needed. The first time I blew up hard the final hours so this time was pretty even pacing until the final 2 laps. I choose this steeper climb to really cut down on total distance and made it a bit more feasible for pacing.
“Didn’t really change anything to my regular uci legal bike except take a bottle cage off. Was ahead of Ronan’s pace most of the day but new it was going to be close that final lap. Was a big relief when I saw that 29029ft marker pass on the head unit. Breaking 7 hours got me pretty stoked. Did an extra bonus safety lap just to make sure which might have been the hardest thing I have ever done just to stay up right! Currently have 1000 grams of sugar swirling in my stomach and feel like I could sleep for 17 hours straight. Hyped to see more people push the limits of this challenge and get another guy under 7!”
The previous men’s World Record was set by Irishman Ronan McLaughlin on July 31, 2020 in a time of 7:04:41 beating Alberto Contador’s record by 20 minutes.
The record has been fiercely contested on the women’s side too, with Emma Pooley holding the current record of 8:53:36. Pooley’s attempt took in 10 laps of the punishingly steep Haggenegg climb (6.8km at 13%) near the town of Schwyz in central Switzerland.
Pooley is the first female rider to complete an Everesting in under nine hours. Her ride eclipsed the previous record of 9:08:31 set by fellow Englishwoman Hannah Rhodes on June 4 on Kirkstone Pass in England’s Lake District.