Vietnam’s First ‘Everesting’ – David’s Ride
Ba Vi mountain lies 50km outside of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. It’s a brutal climb with some truly punishing gradients. The lack of views makes it even tougher – Ba Vi is a 12 km tunnel of trees on a punishing gradient. Ba Vi rises at an average gradient of just over 8% but there are plenty of 10% sections and a few kicks toward the top that deliver 25%.
David started his Everesting on 13th December at 3 am with Vietnamese cyclist, Nghiem Thanh Hai from the Thanh Long Cycling Club and his wife, Rebecca, carrying warm clothing and food on her motorbike.The first 4,000m was the warm-up – David was in great shape and in high spirits when the bulk of the support team rolled in for ascent five which proved to be by far the hardest repeat. “I went to the bad place at the 5,000m point!” David said. “The pace was probably a bit too high and I was running low on energy and felt quite sick about half way up. However, at the top I got some pasta and Vietnamese nut bars down and on ascent number 6 with Claudio Dordi, things came good – he was a truly massive help.”
Claudio stayed strong and helped David on ascent seven together with more of his regular riding mates. For the eighth repeat the British Ambassador to Vietnam, Giles Lever joinedDavid and a large group from the embassy turned out in support.
David’s eight descent was very fast and he turned straight around for the final climb because the light was fading fast and the temperature was dropping. Newborns Vietnam followedDavid up in the car on the ninth ascent and witnessed him almost come to grief when three motorbikes came down very fast on the wrong side of the road, heskidded as the support riders got tangled and then he summoned all his reserves straightened up, kicked down on the pedals and gave one big push forward. Garmin called the 8,848 m in the middle of the final punishing section. David hit the magic 8,848 metres after 14 hours, almost nine ascents and 195 kilometres.
It was a very emotional moment with great contingent of Vietnamese press and TV all clamouring for photos of David and the Garmin read out as David sucked down a Hoegaarden beer handed to him by a fellow Brit.