Perhaps repenting for his middling performance at this year’s Tour de France, Richie Porte Everested the Col de la Madone last Saturday with friend and former professional triathlete Cameron Wurf.
Everesting is the name given to the (decidedly unpleasant-sounding) challenge of repeating a climb on a single hill to reach at least 8,848m of ascent in a day to match the height of the world’s highest mountain.
Deciding this was a suitably strange way to celebrate Wurf’s 36th birthday, the pair rode up and down the climb 10-and-a-half times, taking 14 hours and 22 minutes to ride just over 270km and tally up a total elevation of 9,012m.
The Madone is a legendary 12.95km climb in the Maritime Alps near Porte’s home in Monaco that rises 853m at an average gradient of 6.7 percent from the town of Menton, eventually topping out at 905m.
To put that 9,000m this into context, it’s around double the amount of climbing you would expect to see on even the most vertiginous of Grand Tour mountain stages.
Though the climb has never featured in the Tour de France, it was raised to a near-mythical status when, among others, Lance Armstrong revealed the ascent was his favourite proving-ground for testing his form ahead of the Tour.
While the Strava KOM was never going to be at stake during this particular challenge, Porte needn’t worry because he already holds the fastest time on the Madone, completing the climb in a ludicrously quick 24 minutes and 23 seconds.
As if Everesting a legendary climb after 3,365km of racing wasn’t quite enough, Porte jumped straight back onto his bike the day after the challenge to take in a cruisy 89km ride with 1,997m of climbing at an average pace of 24km/h. Madness.
Of course, the question on everyone’s lips is whether the Trek-Segafredo rider chose to complete the challenge on the Trek’s appropriately-named Madone aero bike or the more appropriate climbing-friendly Emonda?