Non-stop Everest feat - on a bike
Christchurch cyclist Craig Tregurtha beat "full-on ironman athletes" to break a world record climbing the height of Mt Everest without stopping.
The 40-year-old Christchurch man is still "shattered" after climbing 40 metres up Heathcote's Morgans Valley 222 times in just over nine hours on Monday, eclipsing an Australian's record by more than an hour.
The ride was the second steepest attempted as part of the increasingly popular "Everesting" challenge, where cyclists have to climb the equivalent of the mountain's 8848m height without stopping.
He did not set out to break the record initially, but on his first attempt doing 66 laps on Major Aitken Drive in just over 12 hours in August, he came eighth in the world.
"I have hairy legs still. I don't fit the stereotype of the sort of road cyclist that you would expect to break the record."
There are so far 213 participants around the world. There are rules like one hill per climb, and participants had to load results on to a website using approved global positioning systems.
"A lot of them are full-on ironman athletes. You see photos of them and think, ‘I can't compete with that'."
He was a recreational cyclist before, but discovered the challenge online about the time he was recovering from a broken arm from a previous cycling accident and was ready to get fit again.
"We live in such a great city for cycling."
The father-of-two Halswell man used the Christchurch hills to prepare, hunted out the right sealed road climb, and waited for the right day to do his latest climb.
He started at 7.30am and rode until 4.30pm on the quiet cul-se-sac road. He saw neighbours leave for work and return hours later saying ‘don't tell me you have been doing this all day'.
"The whole way through the ride I knew I was on target to beat it. But it was really, really hard. It was just relentless."
When the 8848-metre mark flashed on his GPS, he was "ecstatic, but I was just so, so broken".
Afterwards, Tregurtha caught up on a lot of eating and drinking, and soaked in his first bath in years, but not before he logged his results online.
The first "Everesting" event was completed in 1998, but it only took off in 2012, catching on from Australia to the United Kingdom and South Africa, with a rising popularity in Christchurch.
"I hope I inspire some fast guys to get out there and try to take my record," said Tregurtha.
8848 metre height of Mt Everest
40 metre high Christchurch climb
222 laps cycled up and down
9 hours to complete
213 ‘Everesting' participants so far