THE chief engineer of a super yacht that’s been in Greenock for much of the summer has claimed the town’s Lyle Hill as one of his ‘Everests’ after cycling up it 100 times in a day.
Joris van der Tang, who has enjoyed taking part in events run by local club Inverclyde Velo, completed the feat of endurance last month, taking just over 17 hours, covering a distance of nearly 200 miles. He said: “I like doing things that people will say’that’s crazy’.”
The Everest challenge is completed by riding up a hill until the rider has accumulated the same elevation as Mount Everest (8,848 metres). The rider has to ride down the same way as they came up. Only one person can claim to have ‘Everested’ a particular climb and this is logged on a website — www.everesting.cc — where the rules are also set out.
Joris, who grew up in the Netherlands but now lives in Australia, had set himself the challenge of ‘Everesting’ a climb in Scotland during his stay. Earlier this year, he completed an Everest in Antigua, up to Shirley Heights, although the heat and the bad road surface made it very difficult. This accomplishment made him the first person to do an Everesting challenge in the Caribbean.
Joris on The Rest and be Thankful climb
Not content with the height of Everest, Joris decided he wanted to reach 10,000 metres of elevation in one ride — “I like round numbers” he explained. For this he chose The Rest And Be Thankful (Hell’s Glen) near Arrochar and completed 40 repeats of the climb which took just under 16 hours. This should have given the required elevation but when he checked his bike computer later he discovered he was 200 metres short at 9,800.
A new plan was devised in the form of 100 repeats of Lyle Hill. Joris said: “At first I thought ‘why not do 90 Lyle Hills?’ as that would have been enough elevation. Then I decided to make it a round number. What’s another 10?”
On 21 August at 4:30am, Joris began the second attempt of his 10,000-metre challenge. Residents of Lyle Road were perhaps bewildered as to why the Dutchman was cycling up and down the hill when they left for work– and was still cycling up and down the hill when they returned.
Inverclyde Velo stalwart Alex Hunter, who lives on Lyle Road, was out giving Joris encouragement, in between his breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper. Joris had a car with supplies parked at the top and stopped every 10 ascents to take on food and liquid. He completed his epic challenge just before 10’clock that night.
Since the beginning of August, Joris along with Rémon Tromp and Nathan Mischewski, two other crew members of the luxury yacht which has been berthed at James Watt Dock, have been training and racing with Inverclyde Velo on weekend club runs and evening time trials.
During their stay, they have also covered hundreds of miles locally around Greenock, Largs, Dunoon and Tighnabruaich. They have also ridden round Arran and Loch Ness and climbed the most spectacular pass in Scotland, the Bealach na Ba on the Applecross Peninsula, which ascends 2,053 ft in around four miles.
Another endurance challenge that Joris previously set himself was to see how far he could ride in 24 hours. He did this last year when he was in Florida for a few months. Starting from Miami, Joris set off on his challenge, with a support team of crewmate Remon and the ship’s captain who followed him in a car keeping him hydrated and fuelled for the duration. Joris arrived in Georgia at midnight after cycling for 23 hours and 52 minutes, covering 500 miles.
With their stay in Scotland almost over, Joris, Rémon and Nathan said they would have loved to have spent more time here and covered more miles in the Scottish countryside. Joris, who has managed to acquire an Inverclyde Velo Jersey, said: “The club has been great. Everyone has been so friendly.”