Road

Emma Pooley sets new Everesting record

British former pro beats previous women's record time by 15 minutes on leg-breaking Swiss climb.

Retired British star Emma Pooley has convincingly broken the women’s Everesting record, becoming the first to better the nine-hour benchmark.

Pooley, 37, rode repeats of the Haggenegg climb in Schwyz, Switzerland, Wednesday, clocking up the required 8,848 meters ascent in eight hours, 53 minutes, 36 seconds. Her time beats the previous mark set by Hannah Rhodes, whose effort clocked in 15 minutes slower.

Pooley chose to Everest a leg-breaker, riding the 6.7-kilometer, 13 percent Swiss climb 10 times, setting a Strava “Queen of the Mountain” with her second repeat. With each ascent clocking up 877m of gain, Pooley only rode a total of 136.8km during the feat. And it wasn’t just the climb that proved difficult, with Pooley describing her bike as under-geared and the climb as “exposed, on a hot sunny day.”

Pooley, who took silver in the 2008 Olympic time trial and won the 2010 world time trial championships, described her effort as “that ride I said I would never do” – and it sounds like she may not relish the thought of going back to better her record any time soon.

“I blew up on the eighth ascent and no amount of gels and water stops would revitalize my legs. Close to puking near the top of the last three laps,” Pooley wrote on Strava. “And yet nonetheless, somehow, a glorious day. The whole point was to challenge myself: find my limits, and push them. Well OK, it felt more like my limits found me and punched me into a ditch but still: It was tough, I genuinely enjoyed it, and there was plenty of time to think.”

While both Lachlan Morton and Emanuel Buchmann have seen their Everesting efforts go down the drain after failing to meet all the required criteria set by administrators the Hells 500, Pooley’s ride has been recognized by the organization on their social media pages.

The pint-size Brit celebrated her achievement in true style with her first trip to McDonald’s in 20 years.

Pooley rode to raise money for UK-based Kate’s Home Nursing Center in memory of Sharon Laws, the former British road race champion who died in 2017 having been diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Pooley’s full Strava file can be seen here.