A bike ride through the Himalayas: a dream for many, a reality for some

Lhasa, Tibet - “Everesting” has become a popular phenomenon amongst adventure cyclists. The concept of Everesting is ‘simple’: Pick any hill, anywhere in the world and ride repeats of it in a single activity until you climb 8,848m – the equivalent height of Mt Everest. Complete the challenge, and you’ll find your name in the Hall of Fame, alongside the best climbers in the world.

Vittoria partnered up with Serk Cycling  from Beijing to assist in their quest to be the first riders to complete an Everesting on the slopes of Everest itself!

For this special ride, Vittoria developed a unique hot patch for the Tibet ride. The light blue and red on the left and right side of the hot patch on the Corsa Control represent the traditional Tibetan clothing colors from the area close to Base Camp.

Serk is a cycling company who organizes cycling trips to frontier locations. In 2016, they were the first group to cycle the newly paved road into the Tibetan Base Camp on road bikes.

Riders cruising past the Karola Glacier on the way to Everest Base Camp.

In 2017, they partnered up with CyclingTips and the founder of Everesting, Andy van Bergen, from Hells500 to attempt this audacious challenge. Three riders started the challenge but severe winds and late autumn temperatures below zero halted the attempt after 20 hours.

In 2018, Serk again journeyed to Everest Base Camp to have a crack at completing the challenge once more. With the previous years’ experience in mind, the team came in better prepared.

The warmest month of August was selected as the ideal Everesting time slot and a greater window of 3 days was set aside in case of bad weather.

In 2018 Serk journeyed back to Everest Base Camp for another crack. This short video tells the story.

Part of the preparation also revolved around finding the best equipment for the tasks. The team approached Vittoria and asked for assistance. The attempt took place close to the The North Base Camp in Tibet, which is located at 5,000 meters above sea level. Road conditions are pretty good but there are sections of gravel in the area.

Tibet has some of the highest roads in the world. The riders spent 7 days riding between 4000 and 5000m above sea level. Even though it’s the middle of summer, rain and cold snaps are always a danger.

There was also the constant threat of rain in August so the team wanted a fast tire for all conditions. One of the key components to Everesting is the descent - in this particular case there were some 200km of descending. Having a tire that inspires confidence in cornering with exceptional grip can make a huge difference to times for each descent.

The Corsa Control confidently navigates the trickiest cobbles and rougher roads. Sharing many features with the classic Corsa, the Corsa Control boasts a 320 TPI Corespun-K reinforced casing, and 4C Graphene compound.

The Corsa Control was recently used during Tiesj Benoot’s (Lotto Soudal) Strade Bianche victory.

"Having a tire that inspires confidence in cornering with exceptional grip can make a huge difference to times for each descent." - Serk Cycling

This is one of the most outstanding passes in Tibet. Just inside the gates of Everest Base Camp - 17km long and over 700m of ascent all the way up to 5200m.

The Everesting attempt had over 200km of descending. This meant that tire choice was critical for fast and effective cornering. Here one of the riders negotiates the bend at 40 km/h. If you look closely, you’ll see Everest’s peak towering above the clouds.

Travelling through the Himalayas by bike is a wonderful experience. Amazing landscapes, vast open spaces and some of the highest roads in the world.

On the way to Everest Base Camp for the challenge, the riders rode for 7 days along the spectacular Tibetan Plateau. With numerous climbs and descents over 5000m, the journey was arduous on both rider and equipment. Finally, the Everesting day rolled around and 4 riders lined up to take the challenge at 4.30am. 

The first 12 hours were relatively trouble free with riders comfortably ticking off the laps. By late afternoon a freezing rain cloud let loose on the top of the riders and after an hour expired they had retreated to the support vehicle - shivering and wet. 

The rest of the afternoon and evening was sat out at the nearby Rombok Monastery Guest House waiting for the rain to abate. One rider abandoned due to altitude issues and was taken down to a lower location to recover.

"Travelling through the Himalayas by bike is a wonderful experience. Amazing landscapes, vast open spaces and some of the highest roads in the world."

The road into Everest and the 1km segment the team selected for the Everesting attempt. Only 177 repeat laps needed to be ridden!

Early the next morning the three remaining riders were out again in dry conditions and under an amazing starlit sky. The laps ticked over and over. However, it soon became apparent that only one rider was riding fast enough to complete the challenge within the allocated time.

JJ Zhou is a Chinese rider and holds the position of Adventure Manager at Serk Cycling. Over the past 4 month he had been leading 3 other high altitude trips around China and as a result had acclimatized well.

Finally, the rain ceased and riders were back out under the stars to continue riding laps.

After 40 hours elapsed time, 26.5 riding time, 423km and 177 laps JJ finally completed the challenge. Zhou said after his successful attempt that his “legs are destroyed but heart and mind are in nirvana.” JJ and the team were very happy with the Vittoria tires. "These tires are very durable, and still have some of the best riding characteristics.

On descents, these Corsa Controls track much better than other brands that I’ve used, and feel extremely smooth while cornering. In the past, I’ve covered more than 2,000km on a Corsa Tubeless test tire on the rear and front and they have lasted twice as long as any other tire I’ve used”.

“We had no punctures during our trip and there is very little wear on the thread visible”.

“We had no punctures during our trip and there is very little wear on the thread visible” - JJ Zhou (Serk Cycling)

Please contact your nearest local authorized Vittoria dealer shop to get your hands on the Corsa Control fold or tubular. Please note that you will only be able to buy these with the standard hotpatch.

Serk run road cycling trip to Everest 4 times a year - check out there 2019 offerings here - Serk Cycling

© Photo: Mathias Magg