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US mountain bike champion Swenson takes Everesting best time

US MTB cross-country national champion Keegan Swenson (Stan's No Tubes/Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis) recovers from his 'Everest Challenge' alongside his father
US MTB cross-country national champion Keegan Swenson (Stan's No Tubes/Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis) recovers from his 'Everest Challenge' alongside his father (Image credit: Cris Fox)

US national cross country mountain biking champion Keegan Swenson set the unofficial best time for the 'Everesting' challenge on Friday outside Salt Lake City, Utah. 

In his Strava post, Swenson estimates his time to be 7:42 for the Everest mark, well inside former pro Phil Gaimon's unofficial record of 7:52:12, set on Monday in the Topanga State Park, near Los Angeles, but Cyclingnews' calculations put the time just below 7:40, if the Strava segment's measurements are accurate.

The 26-year-old - presumably on his road bike - selected a section of Pine Canyon Road in the Wasatch Mountain State Park, which was part of stage 6 of the 2019 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. The segment climbs 312m with an average gradient of 11 per cent and is just shy of three kilometres long and sits at over 2100m in altitude.

Everesting - climbing 8848m, the equivalent of the height of Mt Everest on repeats of the same uphill section - has become a popular diversion during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Swenson, who races for the Stan's No Tubes/Pivot Pro Team p/b Maxxis team, cracked the 8848m mark in the middle of his 29th repeat of the section, approximately 7 hours and 40 minutes into his ride, after 165km of riding.

Swenson completed the ride with fellow mountain biker Ryan Standish, who rode a longer segment of the climb and took over 11 hours to complete the elevation gain. Standish and Swenson took on the challenge as part of a fundraiser for the MS society. Standish' father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012.

Several other riders have taken the Everesting challenge for various reasons. 

James Piccoli (Israel Start-Up Nation) raised funds for protective gear for COVID-19 frontline workers on Mont-Royal in Montréal. Kevin Vermaerke (Hagens Berman Axeon) finished the elevation in 8:19:26 as a personal challenge. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Mark Cavendish (Bahrain McLaren) and Luke Rowe (Team Ineos) did the challenge on Zwift, while Bora-Hansgrohe's Emmanuel Buchmann plans to take it on later this month to raise money for a children's charity.

Geraint Thomas completed a different epic challenge, riding three 12-hour rides on Zwift in April to raise funds for the British National Health Service (NHS), raising over £375,000.