Laurence Lacey’s Everesting Cycling Challenge
On 5th July, Laurence Lacey took on an incredible Everesting Cycling Challenge in memory of his Mum, Vanessa.
Here, Laurence tells us what prompted him to take on this special challenge:
Since the winter of 2019, I have been training for a sportive in Italy on Sunday 5th July - the ‘Maratona dles Dolomitis’ (a one hundred mile ride with over 4000m of climbing). As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, this sportive was postponed in March 2020 to July 2021. As I had at that point already been training for three or four months, I was keen to find another challenge so that my training did not go to waste. Having read about the concept of Everesting (riding up and down the same hill non-stop until you have reached 8,848m of vertical ascent - the same height as Everest) I was keen to try this endurance challenge
I continued training with a view to completing the ride on 5th July, in place of the Maratona. As the time ticked away in the last six weeks or so, I decided that combining this challenge with fundraising for PKD would be a great tribute to my wonderful late Mum, Vanessa Lacey, who died suddenly in June 2018. She suffered from PKD and the disease contributed to her death. I cannot adequately describe what a loving, kind, astonishing mother she was to my sisters and me, nor what an incredible "Yaya" (Greek for grandmother - she was half-Greek) she was to her five grandchildren, nor how much of a loving wife, nor how much she gave to others during her life, which was so cruelly cut short.
After I set up my fundraising page on JustGiving, I was blown away by the support I received and also by the incredible extra drive I got from fundraising for PKD in memory of my Mum. I love cycling and have done plenty of these kind of events, challenges and races, so I am never short of motivation, but the support gave me an extra gear. The training over the remaining three months or so went well; I struggled a bit with a couple of niggling injuries, but they didn't hinder me.
When Sunday 5th July finally arrived, I was ready - I had done all the maths as to what and how often I would need to eat and drink, my training had gone well, my family were taking on the role of my support team for the day - everything was in place. I woke up at 4.30 am and started the ride at 5.30am on my bike which was hooked up to my turbotrainer on Zwift in my garage. The first four hours or so went very well and then some friends of mine, Ben Cook and Oliver Smedley, joined me for a bit and so I went up and down the hill I had chosen with them several more times. I needed to do 20.1 repetitions of the same hill to get to the height of Everest, a distance of 256km.
At about the 6th hour, I had a real problem with not being able to take in any more energy drinks and bars and feeling very sick. I managed to get through this with some flat coke and marmite sandwiches. I was doing all my eating and drinking on the downhill section after each ascent and ticking off each ascent on a whiteboard next to me. The last few hours are a blur of pain, elation, and nausea. Some of our neighbours came into the garage (appropriately socially-distanced!) to cheer me on for the last stretch and I finally got to 8848m just before 5.30pm, so it had taken me 11 hours and 52 minutes. There were cheers and a countdown for the final 10m of ascent. I then carried on to just over 9150m to make sure that I had got to the correct height, so that my ride would be officially accredited by Hells500, who administer the Everesting challenge and check riders have complied with the rules. You can see my entry here.
It was an intensely emotional experience to finish this ride in memory of my Mum. Sorrow and happiness go hand in hand sometimes. I am delighted to have finished and I think she would be proud (she would never have wanted me to put myself through it in the first place, however!).
Thank you to my wonderful family, my friends and the PKD Charity for their amazing support.
That one was for you Mum."
Thank you so, so much to Laurence for his amazing support in taking on this very special challenge in memory of his Mum. ;It is an absolute honour to have you cycle for Team PKD, and your Mum’s legacy will help support anyone affected by PKD whenever and however they need us and help fund vital research into finding treatments and a cure for polycystic kidney disease.
If you would like to support Laurence’s fundraising please visit his JustGiving page.