Attitude is everything. On and off the bike, a lack of strength, endurance and skill can often be overcome with enthusiasm, motivation and positivity. But even the strongest, fittest, and most elite athlete falls short of a sharp demeanor and weakened mindset.

I grew up training and competing nationally, as a skier and track athlete. I have a fairly high basic level of fitness. And yet, I can count a number of experiences where I really felt I couldn’t continue while others that I considered my peers were able to keep pushing. I broke, cried, and hated some of the most beautiful times and environments. Why were the others happy to keep pedaling when I was mentally short of gas?

I had to prove to myself that I could keep a positive attitude, solo, through a really long endurance challenge. I wanted to develop a deeper pool of experience to tap into difficult and mentally tiring situations, both on and off the bike. If the body doesn’t stop until the mind does, I had to set a higher threshold for my mind.
“Everesting” is a fairly common challenge in the cycling community: going up and down a hill, repeatedly, until you have climbed the height of Mount Everest (8,848m or 29,028ft). road bikes. But I’m not a roadie, and what made the most sense to me was to pedal my Process 134 down the Garibaldi Park Road in Squamish, and down an efficient route of my favorite single and double black diamond tracks (a version of the 19th Hole to Angry Midget, for those who rode in Squamish.)

I started at 8:15 p.m. on July 27. I finished at 10:15 pm the next day, after 26 hours, and having covered 175km and 8913m. I had a few difficult times, but this time no tears. I struggled with the 35 degree heat, struggled to stay hydrated and nourished, and missed my arbitrary 24 hour goal. But I never considered quitting.

Going down real mountain bike trails was essential, and the weight of the suspension and DH carcass tires didn’t seem to hamper my efforts. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have risen to the challenge going up and down a road without a quick adrenaline rush on my favorite trails on each descent.

The day has come and has passed. When the Garmin read 8,848m, I was not in a party mood; I didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything. “The 10,000m doesn’t seem that far away,” I said to my friends who came to cheer me on for the last lap.

And even though I didn’t keep pedaling, I’m really proud of myself to think that I could

Video by Peter Wojnar
Zanny Venner lyrics
Photos of Joël Ducrot

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