Being on the road for almost a decade now, my life has been one big ride to say. I cannot hold myself to the four corners of my house and just want to break the shackles and do those free rides on the highways.
But the current lockdown during the last 3 months meant that I stay indoors, no group activity, no hotels and travel. Taking care of mental and physical health of family plus keeping Vit D meters up and always maintaining positivity became a challenge. Watching flight on Kolar highway like small kids made me realize how much I miss traveling and how important it was for me to attend few international cycling events I missed. However, the current lockdown in the country had opened a plethora of avenues for people to explore and the term ‘virtual ‘is the new mantra nowadays. We are now living in a virtual world. ‘Virtual’ to me was something like a tour that we take during hotel bookings or a virtual ride that we take in malls to experience mountains and rain etc. And when I heard of this concept of virtual cycling from within my comfort zone, I was both excited and paranoid. Virtual cycling by all means is an expensive affair but as it promised me the freedom of exploring the countryside and getting out of my comfort zone virtually right inside my home, I was ready to accept and enjoy the unknown.
I prepared myself for this ultimate test of endurance and with an even chance of becoming the first Indian woman to attempt such a feat. Just to give a small brief, the virtual event is named EVERESTING. As the name suggests, it is a climbing challenge, where one picks up any hill, anywhere in the world and ride repeats of it in a single activity until you climb 8878 meters and I was attempting a Half Everesting challenge of 4696 meters elevation gain u nder single activity.
I chose my home as my base and got about to set the virtual world. This is done on dual smart trainer, and I was fortunate to have Amaresh and Narayana, two generous souls, who agreed to give their direct drive trainer (Elite Direto) and semi smart trainer for this attempt. I also arranged for a road bike Merida Scultra 500, a mean bike, which would come very handy in a real ride situation due to its ultra-light weight. I profusely thank Nirav from my community for lending his bike. Setting up the space at home along with the display screen and with a table fan to keep me cool, my virtual space was ready for the grand event.
At this point I would like to thank Sumit Patil, who has done this in 2015 on actual climb and is the first Indian to do Everesting, for being a mentor and supporting me throughout this journey, I appreciate his knowledge on Zwift and Virtual climbing and I was reassured that the climb was achievable from day one. We also did many simulation climbs and other technical brainstorming to ensure that we are well set to reach this goal. I also had an assist in Nasreen, who acted as a masseuse and ensured that my body could take the load to the distance.
Last but not the least a big thanks to my family, who were able to bear all my antics during the course of this journey and it was their constant encouragement and cheering that ultimately led me to the finish line literally in about 17 hours’ time.
Why is this event so important to me? The pandemic has got all of us confined with less travel and virtually no events. I was feeling anxious and pushed to the wall with the current situation and with all these many restrictions around. This was my way, of reassuring myself that human endeavors always have a way of reaching success and all will be well with the world very soon.
I prepared myself for this ultimate test of endurance and with an even chance of becoming the first Indian woman to attempt such a feat.