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Cyclist completes Everesting ride

Pedals a total of 8,848 vertical on Duffey Lake Road
EVEREST CHALLENGE Kristian Manietta is shown on Duffey Lake Road as he works to complete an Everesting ride on June 6. Photo by Brian Goldstone

Kristian Manietta originally decided to do his Everesting ride to support those affected by one tragedy — the recent earthquake in Nepal.

But he kept going in solidarity with those harmed by another — those who were killed in the cycling accident on May 31 on the Duffey Lake Road.

Manietta completed the Everest ride — where riders complete a climb equivalent to Mount Everest's 8,848 metres — on the Duffey Lake Road on June 6. His first inspiration to ride was in support of those affected by the earthquake in Nepal in April. He considered cancelling the ride after Whistler Cycling Club members Ross Chafe and Kelly Blunden were killed after being struck by a vehicle while riding along that road.

"I thought 'I'm gonna do it, and I'm gonna do it in memory of these guys,'" said Manietta, adding that he didn't know the riders personally, but was touched by what happened.

"Passing their memorial (on the Duffey) every single time was sobering, but at the same time, there's no way the pains that I had in my legs would be anything like the pain that their families would be going through at their loss. It made it very easy for me. I never thought of giving up."

Manietta completed the climb, plus an extra 30 metres of ascent, in about 15 hours, taking another 20 minutes to descend back to his car. In all, Manietta rode a distance of 236 kilometres, including the descents.

"It was a long day in the saddle," he said. "I started at three in the morning and by 6:30 (p.m.), I was done."

Though conditions got hot later in the day, Manietta started off wearing a jacket and gloves and acknowledged he could "barely even type on (his) iPhone" when posting to social media after each descent.

"My hands were shaking so much," he said. "When it got warmer, it was quite a bit nicer."

Manietta said the heat eventually started to challenge him later in the day, but he managed to push on through the eight laps.

"On the seventh lap, I got a couple of pretty crazy adductor cramps in the last few Ks (kilometres) before the top," he said. "I had to get off the bike twice and then got on and got that sorted. I got to the bottom and had some magnesium.

"Then the final big climb was fine."

One virtue he discovered over the course of the ride was patience, observing that several impatient drivers travelled unsafely on the highway while he needed to keep his efforts restrained so as to not tire himself out.

Manietta also found himself appreciative of the opportunities he gets to ride.

"On my way down, I actually choked up a little bit. It wasn't that I couldn't believe I could do it, but I had a big, amazing feeling of gratitude for being able to do it," he said. "To be honest, even after sitting on the bike for 15 hours, it made me fall in love with the process of cycling.

"As I think about it, you can't have the joy without suffering and I really don't believe there's any positive in life without negatives also."

Manietta first got the idea to do the ride about a year ago as interest in completing Everest rides started to increase. He first heard about it at a riding event in Melbourne and it immediately became "an itch that needed to be scratched."

After a ride up to Pemberton, Manietta opted to check out Duffey Lake Road, found no one had officially Everested the climb and decided it would be the site of his attempt.

He rode the climb twice beforehand to get a sense of what he was tackling.

Manietta hopes to do another Everest climb again, and has a site someplace on the continent he hopes to attempt it. He did not want to reveal the location as he hopes to be the first to attempt it.