Grand Junction, COLO. We all know Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth, but what you probably haven't heard of is the term, "Everesting”.
Everesting consists of choosing a spot to cycle up and down enough times to gain the vertical height of Mount Everest—in a single day.
Very few people in the United States have been able to complete the challenge, and so far no one in Colorado has done it. A Grand Junction man hopes to be the first, by riding up and down 8 times on Lands End Road on the side of the Grand Mesa.
"I've kind of always raised the bar a little bit with long rides and kind of crazy stuff, but everything else pales in comparison," said Todd Mallow, who attempts to be the first person to successfully “everest” in Colorado.
Mallow belongs to a social media cycling group called Strava, which does monthly climbing challenges. This month's is dedicated to help the victims of the Nepal earthquake.
"Not only am I able to challenge myself, but I can also help out a great cause, a worthy cause. People that really do need our help and will benefit from the donation".
The challenge requires cyclists to climb 29,029 feet in a month, which is the equivalent to the height of Mount Everest. However, Mallow is taking it a step further and is doing it all in one day.
His friends and family think it’s crazy and inspirational. At first, Mallow thought he was only going to help the Nepal victims by becoming eligible to purchase a jersey for completing the challenge, but little did he know how quickly things would escalate.
"In the last 48 hours – literally -- this whole thing -- on Facebook and social media, it's just really blown up and I've got a lot of people that want to do a lap or two with me which is amazing," he said.
Mallow's dad is one of those supporters who will not only ride a lap with his son, but plans to stick around to cheer him on until the very end—which could take up to 20 hours.
"To be able to share something like this with your son means a lot to me, and I’m sure it means a lot to him," said John Mallow.
Mallow says his father’s support is priceless. "He's been really instrumental in inspiring me. He suffered a pretty bad mountain biking accident himself a few years ago, and he came back from it and continued to mountain bike— and I was really impressed by that."
The outpour of support from the cycling community is something Mallow doesn't take for granted. Those who know him are particularly proud for the twist he's put on the already difficult test.
"Climbing on a road bike, you can get a lot of elevation real quick— on a mountain bike you got to earn it a little more, and I think it’s neat he's taking on a challenge this big," said Chris Morstad, who accompanied Mallow during a lap today.
Most people do the challenge on bicycles on paved roads. While Mallow trained on a road bike, he preferred to use his mountain bike.
"For a mountain bike racer to do it on a dirt road, and for it to be a big climb like Lands End -- I take a lot of personal pride, and I think that it really has a lot of satisfaction that it's going to be here in the Western Slope," said Mallow.
Todd hopes to not only give back to the victims in Nepal, but wants to inspire our community to get outdoors and enjoy the unique cycling opportunities that we have in the Grand Valley.
Unfortunately, halfway through completing his mission, he was caught in a rainstorm where lightning surrounded him. Mallow says he’s not giving up, and will take on the challenge at a later time.