Illi Gardner breaks Everesting record in 8 hours 33 minutes
Illi Gardner has broken the Everesting World Record, besting Emma Pooley’s time by twenty minutes with a 8:33:47. The women’s record previously stood at 8:53:36.
Gardner is a 21-year-old British rider who racers for continental team CAMS-Basso. She completed the attempt on .69 km climbing averaging 17.4% in Wales. Her complete ride is viewable on Strava and has been validated by Integrated Informatics.
CyclingTips’ Andy van Bergen caught up with Gardner after the event.
CyclingTips: How does it feel to have set a new Everesting record?
Gardner: Really great, was thinking it would be difficult to even complete the Everest for a large portion of the ride — I knew Emma”;s time would be very tough to get close to so I was very happy to finish, then it was amazing to get the confirmation!
CT: Can you talk us through the bike/special prep that you made for this attempt?
IG: It was my regular training bike setup but with a 34 chainring and a Shimano M7000 SLX 11-46 Cassette and a Wolf Tooth Roadlink hanger extension to get things to work. I did a half everesting on the same hill a month ago where I soon realised that a lot more gearing was needed if I was going to survive a full one!
CT: What was your strategy for the ride?
IG: The hill I rode was so steep that my strategy was just to find a sustainable rhythm/cadence and just plough through, trying to fuel constantly – I roughly knew the kind of times I”;d need to be going to get close to the record, but with the steep gradient it kind of forces you to go hard just to get up the hill.
CT: Why this hill, what did you like about it?
IG: I tried to find the steepest localish hill that wasn”;t too technical – one section kicks up above 20% for a while which became mentally difficult as I was crawling along at barely 4mph. But in terms of efficiency it was ideal and also quite straight/exposed with decent visibility
CT: Looks like you had great support from your dad, can you talk about that?
IG: I wouldn”;t have been able to do even a portion of it without my dad – he helped get my bike set up and was at the top of the hill handing me food and drink in small portions almost every lap. He also woke up at 4:30 and drove us the three hours to the climb!!
CT: How did you celebrate?
IG: We celebrated with some great homemade pizza which was absolutely delicious after eating nonstop cereal bars all day!– What happened with the sheep!?There was a rough patch about 5 hours in where everything bad seemed to happen at once – the fog rolled in, my legs stopped working and two descents in a row I nearly got taken out by sheep. There were a few lurking on the roadside which decided to dart out right in front of me…luckily I”;m quite a slow descender so managed to stay upright but it caused quite a bit of swearing.
More to come.
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