Zak Burgess a keen cyclist from Clitheroe, Lancashire has just successfully completed the epic Everesting Challenge and at just 14 years old is one of the youngest in the world to do so.
The Everesting Challenge is an activity in which cyclists ascend and descend a given hill multiple times in order to reach the altitude of Everest (29,029 ft). In the words of professional cyclist Mark Cavendish ‘I take my hat off to anyone who has completed it in whatever capacity, it was grim’.
Zak, who rides for the Green Jersey Cycling Club decided to take on Birdy Brow, Kemple End, a steep choice for this type of challenge and regarded as no mean feat to be able to climb it only once. Starting at 5.30 am on Saturday morning, cycling through the night and finishing at 9.30am on Sunday, he cycled a total of 122 miles riding up the hill 52 times cumulating a total of 31663ft.
Weather conditions were at times tough for Zak as he pedalled through the heat of Saturday afternoon and as darkness fell, so did the cold driving rain which started to take its toll on Zak. He struggled to stay warm and awake and his spirits were seriously put to the test. As dawn broke, the rain cleared and Zak gained a renewed energy as the realisation that he was within reaching distance became apparent.
Word started to spread within the local cycling community that this incredible feat by someone so young was likely to become reality and people started to gather at a social distance to clap and cheer him all the way to the summit. As it was Father’s Day, Zak’s dad Niels was delighted to accompany him on his final climb to be met by a mix of cheers, tears and disbelief that such a young person would have the stamina and drive to accomplish a near impossible challenge. With tea and cake breaks, the event took about 28 hours to complete
Zak dreamt up the challenge and took it on during lockdown. He also wanted to do something good and raise funds for the charity Re-Cycle (Bikes to Africa) a UK charity who takes used bikes and ships them to rural communities in Africa. With Zak’s passion for cycling, he knows just how powerful a bicycle can be, so choosing to enrich the lives of those less fortunate and giving individuals the gift of independence, along with completing the challenge was Zak’s focus to get through it.
Chris Boardman, Patron for the charity Re-Cycle says
Zak is a true inspiration to the cycling fraternity. The Everesting Challenge is a tough cycling event to take on. Zak should be really proud of himself for achieving this and for raising a fantastic amount of money for the charity Re-Cycle”.
Lindsay Hurrell, Fundraising & Marketing Manager, Re-Cycle say’s
“We are really proud of Zak for taking on this epic challenge and for raising the staggering amount over £3,000 for the charity. It costs the charity £28 to send a bike to our partners in Africa, so far Zak has raised enough to send 107 bikes. Each container we send has around 500 bikes and spare parts. It would be great if Zak could get a few more donations so we can send even more bikes”.