The EF Pro Cycling rider rode 42 repeats of the 1.9-kilometer, 11-percent grade Rist Canyon climb outside Fort Collins, Colorado. Morton’s 8,848m ascent ride totaled just under 170 kilometers. The Australian’s effort breaks the previous record time set by U.S. national mountain bike champion Keegan Swenson. Swenson had set a time of seven hours, 40 minutes, five seconds in May.
The arrow-straight Rist Canyon climb allowed Morton a straightforward descent for rest and recovery, however, rising from 2,200 meters altitude to 2,400m added a whole new level to the challenge. Swenson’s effort in May was in similarly thin air, set at around 1,800m altitude.
Swenson took the loss of his title with good humor, saying on his Instagram Stories feed, “Lachlan Morton just raised the Everesting bar… and he did it at altitude as it should be done.” Swenson added a poll to his post, saying “Maybe we’ll need to have a head to head Everest race,” inviting people to vote for or against the idea.
Morton’s ride is part of a wave of popularity of Everesting in recent months as both pros and amateurs alike look to new ways to challenge themselves. Just two weeks ago, Bora-Hansgrohe’s Emanuel Buchmann looked to have set a new record time in Austria, only to have later found himself to have violated the rules implemented by Everesting overseers Hells 500 and have his effort discounted.
Morton has made endurance and adventure riding his forte through his career, and has fully embraced the opportunity to indulge his passion through EF Pro Cycling’s “alternative calendar.” Last year the 28-year-old finished fourth in the Dirty Kanza, third in the Leadville 100, and dominated the GB Duro bike packing event. This May he set a new fastest time for completing the Utah-Colorado Kokopelli Trail.
EF Pro Cycling team boss Jonathan Vaughters took to Instagram to congratulate his rider, saying “Mt. Everest is yours. New nickname: Sherpa.” Both Swenson and junior road world champion Quinn Simmons also congratulated Morton in the comments on the post.
You can geek out on all the details of Morton’s ride, which he described as “like hell,” on Strava, here.