Everest climb next for Alan

Everest climb next for Alan

20 May 2020

A DRUMANESS man is getting ready to cycle the height of Mount Everest —from the comfort of his living room.

Alan Campbell is taking part in the virtual reality Everest Challenge — a gruelling test of endurance — this Sunday.

Without having to leave his home, Alan will be cycling for 12 hours as attempts to ride a distance of 29,029 feet, or 8,900 metres — the height of the world’s tallest mountain.

At the same time the 43 year-old will be hoping raise much-needed funds for local mental health services.

With the world at large still in Covid-19 lockdown, virtual, or online, cycling is one sport that continues to grow in popularity.

Cyclists use their bikes, which are fixed to what is known as a ‘smart trainer’, and connected digitally through the internet to a virtual 3D world that lets them cycle, train and race together.

There are many apps that do this but by far the most popular is the online game called Zwift.

Through the magic of the internet the smart trainer knows if the virtual roads are uphill or downhill and adjusts the difficulty of the trainer to force the cyclist into making more effort.

Zwift also monitors the riders’ power output and heart rate, and works out exactly how fast the rider is going.

“The essence of the Everest Challenge is to pick a hill and cycle up and down it as many times needed to scale the equivalent height of Mount Everest, all to be done with no sleep,” Alan explained.

“I originally got the idea when I heard of some local riders who did the same challenge up Slieve Croob.

“I had originally planned to undertake this challenge outdoors and had been eyeing up the Slievenaman Road from Newcastle to Spelga Dam. But with the COVID-19 restrictions I’ve decided to take the challenge on Zwift to avoid any risk of burdening the health service.

Proceeds from the challenge will go to the mental health charities Aware and Ballynahinch Counselling Services, also known as The Hub.

“Our lives have been turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic and many people are finding it difficult to cope with the changes, health concerns and isolation of it all,” Alan continued.

“Mental health issues can affect anyone and looking after our mental health is key to our overall emotional and physical wellbeing.

“So far I’ve raised almost £500 and would really like to get to £1000. Any donation, no matter how small will be really appreciated with the proceeds being split equally between the two charities.”

With less that a week to go, Alan is making the final preparations and has the alarm clock set for early on Sunday morning.

“I am quite daunted with the thought of it now. Twelve hours on a bike is a long time and I’m just glad Monday is a public holiday,” he remarked.

“The support to date has been phenomenal and really spurred me on. I’ll be doing some live feeds on Facebook for those interested in seeing a grown man suffer.”

To support Alan and mental health you can donate at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/alan-campbell-veveresting.