Looking for some inspiration to hit your cycling goal for 2023? Well, maybe the story of UltraCyclist Jack Thompson being the first cyclist to ride one million meters of vertical elevation in a calendar year will help.
It’s a pretty amazing feat, to say the least. So, just to be clear on how monstrous this effort is and give it some perspective; the top climbers of the Tour De France climbed a total of 48,530 meters in the 2022 Tour, take that number and multiply it twenty times over…which is still shy of Jack’s total. Crazy.
Back in December 2022, Jack “UltraCyclist” Thompson had a mission to become the first cyclist to ride one million meters in a calendar year, which he accomplished, as well as setting a world record for the most elevation ridden in a single year and the most Everests completed in a calendar year.
Jack pulled this amazing task off to help raise awareness and funds for global mental health issues.
To accomplish the goal, Jack had to climb one “Everest” every week for 52 weeks in a row, and then supplement that with 2,068 meters of elevation on his “off days”.
The amount of focus on staying on top of nutrition, rest and recovery, on keeping a positive outlook would be absolutely essential to completing the goal. He’s done it by riding for 261 “active” days with 52 cumulative days of rest.
UltraCyclist Jack Thompson’s “Everesting” Explained
As you may’ve guessed, an “Everest” is completed when a cyclist climbs the equivalent of the elevation of Mt. Everest in one single effort, with no sleep. It has to be done on the same hill or mountain requiring the cyclist to do hill repeats for hours on end.
A typical Everest attempt is said to take around 12-14 hours… for a cyclist in “incredible shape”. Just so you know, there are a select few cyclists that are said to have completed the Everest goal in under 10 hours.
As you can imagine (I can’t), Everesting is considered “a journey into pain and thought impossible by most”. It has also been said that some have found that accomplishing an Everest to be a “near-religious” event, pushing themselves past all perceived physical limitations… Jack is one of those few.
Striving for inclusion and awareness in an “almost post Covid-19” world, the mission wasn’t just to climb one million meters. It was an attempt to also drive awareness and raise funds for mental health issues. This was done by supporting three major global charities that support youth and empowerment for those that don’t have access to these resources otherwise.
The Press Release says: “Through his incredible cycling endeavors and numerous world records and world firsts, Jack has used his platform as a professional sportsperson to raise awareness and shine a light on those suffering from mental health issues. Although the Mission to Space is complete, the desire to make the world a better place with his voice and platform continues into and beyond the new year“.
More on the Charities
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free (even from a mobile), confidential, 24/7 online and phone counseling service for young people aged 5 to 25. A child reaches out for help every 60 seconds and at least 15 times a day, a child is in immediate harm or danger.
Since launching in 1991, Australia’s kids and young people have been turning to their professional, specialized counselors, no matter who they are, where they live, or what they want to talk about.
Outride is an anti-racist cycling organization that works with schools, community partners, coaches, teams, and cyclists to advance more equitable, inclusive, and healthy futures for youth.
With the belief that bicycles have the ability to improve the well-being of youth. Bicycles also bring opportunity, agency, freedom, and joy to those who have access to the power of two wheels. Outride is committed to breaking down barriers so that all kids can access bikes and safe places to ride.
StrongMinds is a social enterprise that treats depression in women and adolescents in low-income communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Their rigorously tested group talk therapy model is delivered by trained lay community members, enabling them to reach tens of thousands of people each year.
Since its founding in 2013, they have restored mental health to over 100,000 women and adolescents. The only organization scaling a proven, cost-effective solution to the depression epidemic in Africa.
Read more about Jack’s efforts to raise money and awareness for mental health by hitting the link below.