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Emma Pooley breaks Everesting women's record by 15 minutes

'I did that ride I said I would never do... Never ever again' says former world champion

Emma Pooley (Image credit: Getty Images)

Emma Pooley has broken the women's record for the Everesting Challenge by more than 15 minutes, and is the first woman to finish the 8,848 metres of climbing in under nine hours. The now-retired former time trial world champion completed 10 repeats of the Haggenegg climb in Switzerland in a time of 8 hours and 53 minutes.

"I did that ride I said I would never do…" Pooley wrote on Instagram on Wednesday. "It was both terrible and fantastic. Sometimes simultaneously. And apparently it was an #everesting record. Never ever, ever again!" 

Pooley said she will be donating to Kate's Home Nursing Centre in memory of Sharon Laws, the former British champion who died after battling cervical cancer in 2017. 

Riders have been Everesting, officially run by Hells 500 out of Australia, by riding 8,848 vertical metres – the height of Mount Everest – as fast as possible using just one climb.

There have been a series of Everesting Challenge women's record breakers recently, including Katie Hall, who completed the vertical metres in 10 hours and one minute on the Bonny Doon ascent outside of Santa Cruz, California. Lauren De Crescenzo broke that record with a time of 9 hours and 57 minutes on Hogpen Gap in Georgia. Just days later, Hannah Rhodes-Patterson smashed that record by nearly 50 minutes in a time of 9 hours and eight minutes on the short side of Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District in Penrith, UK.

Covering 130km, Pooley did 10 repeats up Haggenegg that is 6.7km with an average gradient of 13 per cent. She wrote on Strava that she was "close to puking near the top of the last three laps" but that "nonetheless, somehow, it was a glorious day ... and I genuinely enjoyed it."

Pooley, who won the time trial at the 2010 World Championships, said that if she could do it over again there were some adjustments she would make to her Everesting strategy.

"But if I were to do another one... I'd do it a bit differently," she wrote on Instagram.

"Some of my not-genius planning included: 13.5% average with insufficient gearing; Totally exposed climb on a hot sunny day; Twisty technical descent with blind corners, gravel, and grass cuttings; Picking the day when every farmer on Haggenegg chose to mow their meadows and collect the hay: 6 tractors & hay carts were also doing reps of the climb all day; Running out of food and water on every climb from 5 onwards (I just didn't plan for enough); Being a magnet for horseflies... I don't know what this says about how badly I stink!

"But it was a happy day despite a few discomforts. I wanted a challenge, and to find my limits... and I did. Or maybe my limits found me."

Pooley thanked Rhodes-Patterson for setting the previous bar so high, along with her support crew, Liz Romanov and coach Tim Pigott.


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