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Update: Buchmann’s Everesting attempt deemed not a new record

Update: Hells 500 rules that Emanuel Buchmann's Everesting attempt in Austria has come up short of Keegan Swenson's record from May 16.

Bora-Hansgrohe’s German climbing ace Emanuel Buchmann made a strong attempt at setting the new Everesting world record on Friday, completing 8,848 meters on a climb in Austria.

Buchmann’s Bora-Hansgrohe team initially believed he had set a new record, however the group that oversees the unofficial Everesting record has deemed Buchmann’s attempt to be close but no cigar.

“An amazing ride, truly amazing – but unfortunately, no record falls today!” wrote the group Hells 500 on its Facebook page. The Hells 500 group, which oversees the Everesting record, posted on its Facebook page the reasons why Buchmann’s attempt fell short.

1) Unfortunately the first climb was on the other side of the mountain, which means these were not repeats of the same climb
2) The quoted time of 07:28 is moving, not elapsed time
3) Putting aside the ‘Everesting’ component of it, for interests sake the moment the 8848m/29029ft was hit was actually 07:51:42

The 27-year-old Buchmann completed the challenge to raise funds for the German Children’s Fund charity.

“That was one of the hardest things I have ever done,” Buchmann said. “I didn’t think it would hurt so much toward the end.”

Thus, the current Eversting record still is held by U.S. mountain bike champion Keegan Swenson, who set the mark on May 16 in Utah.

Buchmann taking on the Everesting challenge. Photo: Rudi Wyhlidal

Buchmann completed the challenge on the Heimlerberg, a soaring 3,281-foot climb in the Tyrolean Alps just west of Innsbruck. According to Strava, the section of the Heimlerberg that Buchmann rode is 9.4 kilometers in length and averages 11 percent. In an initial release from Bora-Hansgrohe, the team listed his completion time at 7:28.

But according to Buchmann’s Strava profile, that time was simply his moving time, not his elapsed time, which was listed as 7:53.

There was another flaw in his attempt. Buchmann hit the climb from one direction and then completed eight ascents of the climb from another direction, and the nature of his ride stands in contrast to the unofficial rules for Everesting.

According to the rules riders must complete the Everesting challenge on the same stretch of road.

“Rides must only focus on one hill or mountain per ride (e.g. you can’t base yourself in one location and ride multiple hills),” reads a section of rules on the Everesting.cc website. “You cannot ride different routes on the same mountain. If there are 4 routes, that means there are 4 possible ‘everestings’ (think of it like the North and South face of Everest).”

The long nature of Buchmann’s chosen climb stands in contrast to previous records set by Swenson and retired pro Phil Gaimon, both of whom opted for shorter climbs. According to his Strava file, Buchmann completed nine ascents of the Heimelerberg to achieve the required elevation gain.

Buchmann said the final push to the line was extremely painful.

“At the beginning I found a good rhythm and then decided to push hard,” he said. “After 7000 meters of climbing completed, I started feeling my muscles. I am not used to this amount of workload and it started to hurt a lot. The last 1000 meters have been cruel.”

Multiple pro and amateur riders have tackled the Everesting challenge in recent weeks amid the coronavirus shutdown. Recently U.S. champion Ruth Winder took on the challenge in Boulder, Colorado, and then Katie Hall set a new women’s record on Bonny Doon Road outside Santa Cruz, California.

Thus far Buchmann is the first WorldTour star rider to take on the challenge this year. Last year Buchmann finished fourth place overall at the Tour de France and he is hoping for another top finish at the Tour this year.

Buchmann said the shutdown gave him the time to take on such a big challenge, even if the effort was not comparable to racing.

“This is not comparable to racing at all, but I think it was still a strong performance and it definitely shows we are on track for the Tour. But it is also important to me that people don’t forget why I did this – the charity.”