It has been four weeks since my first Everesting attempt. That attempt ended when an already sore quad was combined with cold temperatures and eight hours of biking to result in serious knee pain. It was extremely disappointing to prepare everything, get over 13K of elevation gain, and then have to quit at 3am because I rushed a bit into my first attempt because of weather concerns.
I spent a few days off the biking completely and also drugged myself with ibuprofen to get the leg and knee less cranky. I eased into some slow, short rides and after a couple weeks was back up to moderate training rides. When I pulled off a SuperJames + Ward ride, I felt I was ready to start considering another attempt.
Last weekend the conditions aligned and Tina made her Everesting attempt on Monday. Despite a couple hours of chilly rain at the end, the majority of her ride went pretty darn smoothly. I actually considered joining her so we could Everest together, but I decided that being her support crew was more important. Many things can go wrong during an Everesting but some of those are addressable with a support crew, so it made sense to have that as my focus. Even still, I joined her for 10K feet of climbing. The leg and knee were a bit sore afterwards but overall they held up without much complaint.
With Tina’s Everesting a success, it was time to start considering my own. Labor Day seemed like a reasonable day to make an attempt. I already had it off from work and it gave me roughly a week to taper.
On Friday, I drove up to Jamestown and did a subsection of my segment twice. My original segment had a third of a mile of 11-14% grade at the end and I am fairly sure that was the root cause of my knee pain. Doing that manner of grade repeatedly in the middle of the night with a sore quad is not relaxing. With my leg still not completely healed, I wanted to consider a segment without that stressful bit at the end. It means an increase in the number of laps to reach 29,029’ but a far kinder grade for my knee.
So, here we are on Sunday afternoon. And, Monday is off the table. A winter storm system is supposed to arrive tomorrow night with snowfall predicted for Tuesday. Preceding the storm, Jamestown is forecasted to have 20-30mph wind gusts starting at noon Monday and lasting for four hours. Not a deal breaker but not exactly encouraging with my leg at less than 100%.
No, what has killed this attempt is our heat wave for the past few days with high temps in the upper 90s and low 100s. Combined with some wind, the forest fires nearby have flared up and smoke has filled the skies of Boulder. We stepped outside 30 minutes ago and the smell of smoke is strong. As I look out the window right now, the mountains are no longer visible.
With the shorter days and the nighttime temperatures lowering into the 40s, my window for successfully Everesting this year is quickly disappearing. I also do not wish to lose fun, autumn bike ride for this project. There are other routes I want to do before the weather changes. We shall see what next weekend brings. I may give it two more weeks and then call it for this year.