Cyclist is ‘up for’ Everest challenge

By Mark Elson in Local People

A CYCLIST will be reaching for the skies when he undertakes a daunting ‘Everest’ challenge for charity this weekend.

Triathlete Tom Cooling from St Briavels won the King of the Hill title at this month’s seven-mile Kymin Dash in Monmouth, but admits that riding 23 times up Abergavenny’s notorious Tumble in one day is of a different scale entirely.

The 31-year-old will be joined on Saturday’s ride (April 29) by Mike Walsh, 25, from Winscombe, in the bid to ride the height of Everest, 8,848m, for Cancer Research UK.

Tom said: “We know this ride will hurt, but we want it to, we want this ride to embody the strength and courage that cancer patients show every day.

“We hope that when people see what we’ve done, they feel the strength to continue even when it hurts.”

If anyone feels “up to the challenge” of joining them, even for a small part of the ride, the duo would love their support.

“If people fancy coming along and giving the climb a go themselves then please do,” said Tom. “The more the merrier. And we’d love people to come along to give us a cheer when times get bleak towards the end of the day.”

‘Everesting’ began as an invite-only ride into a secret world of bike-related suffering for a select few road cyclists in February 2014, but has now blossomed into an underground cycling phenomenon. It requires a cyclist to acquire a vertical ascent in a single ride equivalent to the height of Mount Everest.

The Tumble is an infamous three-mile long, eight percent incline, climb from Abergavenny to the top of the Blorenge mountain, and has tested some of the best cyclists in the world, including Bradley Wiggins, on the Tour of Britain and the British Road Race Championship.

The total elevation for one climb is 385m which means they will need to complete the climb 23 times to equal the height of Everest, riding in the region of 141 miles.

Tom and Mike will be climbing onto their bikes at 4am to do most of the riding in daylight, and expect to take between 15 and 20 hours.

Both men have been touched by cancer and wanted to show their support for all who are fighting the disease, or supporting and caring for people suffering from it.

Mike Walsh said: “When my granny was diagnosed with cancer last year it shook us to the core. I think it’s so important that we do everything we can to improve our chances against cancer and I hope this ride shows how much this means to me.”

Tom and Mike have set up a Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ MICHAEL-WALSH17 and are hoping to raise at least £1,000 for Cancer Research.

Both riders will also be recording the ride on Strava using accurate GPS tracking devices so it can be verified.

See www.strava.com/segments/12315655?hl=en-GB for more information.

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