Passionate cyclists prepare for Mt Everest Challenge

HIGHER LOVE: Ben Jesberg (left) and Anthony Kellen are riding in the Mt Everest Challenge for the 24/7 Cycling Safety Fund.
HIGHER LOVE: Ben Jesberg (left) and Anthony Kellen are riding in the Mt Everest Challenge for the 24/7 Cycling Safety Fund. David Nielsen

ANTHONY Kellen and Ben Jesberg say they are mad keen bike riders, but given their love of riding up hills, some might say they are just mad.

Their latest bit of fun that others would call a torture test also has a serious element, raising money for the 24/7 Cycling Safety Fund, started by Troy Dobinson.

Anthony and Ben have devised a ride that means they will climb the equivalent of the height of Mt Everest - 8848m.

The Mt Everest Challenge will be late next month and the cyclists expect to ride 320-340km with an estimated ride time of 15 hours.

"We're always looking at ways to try and raise money for Troy's 24/7 Cycling Safety Fund. Ben and I are mad keen riders and we wanted to come up with something a bit out of the ordinary," Anthony said.

"We wanted something crazy and Mt Everest is the biggest mountain in the world, so we thought of doing the equivalent of climbing Mt Everest on a bike by climbing the same amount of vertical metres on the road.

"We're going to head down to the Gold Coast and use all the climbs down there. We've got a loop mapped out that we're going to do numerous times and it will just tally up over the day.

"We'll start at 2.30-3 in the morning and just keep riding; it might be four-five in the afternoon until we're finished."

He and Ben ride a lot at the Gold Coast and started mapping out the ride going off the data from their cycle computers.

"Every loop we tried didn't get anywhere near high enough, so it dawned on us that Mt Everest is actually pretty high," he said with a laugh. "So the only way we could do it was to do all the mountains, but do them at least twice.

"So we're going to basically do the loop twice and see where that leaves us; if we're 500m or 1000m short, we'll just keep riding.

"We're going to have a couple of blokes in Troy's 24/7 car to give us food and water and whatever we need so we can just keep riding."

Asked about riding uphill such a long way, Anthony said he and Ben often joked about their shared love of climbing on their bikes.

"It probably sounds quite strange to the average person who might say, 'Why would you want to ride up a hill; we love to fly down a hill' but to be honest we like climbing them more than descending them," he said.

"Sometimes the descent is like a necessary evil to get to the next climb; we just love it.

"It's like people climbing mountains; it's just the challenge of getting up there; it's great fun testing yourself; getting higher up and thinking, 'Wow look how far I just climbed on a bike'.

"We're not saying we're the world's best at climbing; there are guys out there in the professional ranks who are so good at climbing hills; they go so fast you think, 'Wow, is the road flat?'."

Both are lean, but strong, and with forearms like Popeye's, neither was out of breath at all after riding up Clay St on Denmark Hill half a dozen times for a photo shoot. But they've got extra training planned before their big ride. The bike buddies say that Ipswich has some good hills, but when it comes to long climbs, the Gold Coast hinterland is the place.

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Topics:  24/7 cycling safety fund fundraiser

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