On the same weekend, another group of courageous cyclists attempted the Everesting Challenge (when cyclists climb and descend a given hill multiple times cumulatively to the elevation of Mount Everest) in Malaysia. The weather was a little kinder there, with bouts of rain but no heavy thunderstorms like that of Singapore.

Amir Zaki bin Amran made quick work of it, completing the challenge in just 12 hours and 43 minutes of moving time (elapsed time of 16 hours 16 minutes). “This is my first time attempting the Everesting challenge and I did it only for the PURPOSE Everesting jersey,” said the 34-year-old engineer.

“My motivation was the jersey. I want to earn it and then wear it with pride – it has a lot of sentimental value. Plus I love how it feels like I’m not wearing the jersey. Sometimes I forget that I am wearing it! It’s so lightweight and breathable, and great that it’s reflective during the night too.”

The other thing that kept him going through the monotony was the Nasi Ayam Pak Gembus that he wanted to eat at the base camp. “It was more boring than painful, as it is a repeated activity on the same route. I just wanted to finish early so I can eat. And nope, I will not do this again; crazy thing!” he added.

Challenge welcomed

The best kind of challenges are those that combine both physical and mental, according to Dzulkifly. That was what pushed the 49-year-old banker to attempt this Everesting challenge.

Experienced in ultra distance audax events riding solo, Dzul felt good – until the last 10 to 15 laps. “I had lost track of the number of laps to qualify for the Everesting elevation and distance. At that point I also had some pain in my back so I stopped every 10 laps for 10 to 15 minutes to ease the pain,” he recalled.

“The hardest laps are the first lap after the restart and the last one before the rest stop. I was playing mind games just to make the laps go by; counting in sets like 3+3+3+1 or 5+5. I also made sure I was disciplined in refuelling each time I stopped and I did not sleep or even lie down.”

Femme power

Of the eight finishers of this Malaysia Everesting Challenge, two ladies that deserve credit are Nursya Jasoh and Faherina (Ryna).

Without knowing what she was getting herself into, Ryna enthusiastically agreed to accompany Nursya on her Everesting attempt. “I just wanted to support my friend and I didn’t even know what Everesting is actually,” said the 38-year-old manager. “It was quite simple really – so long as Nursya is still cycling, I will keep cycling since my objective is to support her and finish together!”

In the end, Ryna not only achieved the elevation of Everest (8,848m), she continued cycling until she hit an elevation of 10,285m. “When things got hard, I started to recall tough times from before and through my tears, I reminded myself how I got through those times. These kept me motivated to finish! I also sang to myself, tried to keep smiling and just follow the rhythm of my cadence.

“The biggest challenge was having my body refuse to work with my mental and feeling so sleepy, yet needing to convince my mind and body to work together till the finish,” she added.

Ryna took 17 hours to achieve an elevation of 10,285m over an elapsed time of 24 hours 22 minutes and 42 seconds.

Bitten by the Everesting bug, Nursya was determined to complete this with her training partner Ryna. Fighting the lack of sleep was her biggest battle, as she struggled with fatigue physically and mentally.

“I started to feel really empty and sluggish after 210km, where I had already been cycling for 18 hours. This is where the mental strength came in. My husband showed up during my last 20km and I really wanted him to cycle for me because I was so tired! But in the end I was able to finish strong and I was so happy that I finally did it!!” Nursya shared.

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