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Emma Pooley sets new Everesting record

Joe Robinson
9 Jul 2020

Former pro chips 15 minutes off previous best time held by fellow Brit Hannah Rhodes

Emma Polley, the former British National Champion, has taken the record for the fastest Everesting by a woman, setting a new time of 8 hours, 53 minutes 36 seconds.

Pooley took to the Haggenegg climb in central Switzerland to attempt the record on Wednesday. Averaging 13% for 6.8km, the climb required the 37-year-old to complete 10 repetitions to reach the necessary 8,848m of elevation, with her total ride distance coming in at 129.8km.

The Hells 500, the organising committee behind Everesting, pre-verified the climb before Pooley's attempt.

Pooley's efforts saw her take the women's Everesting record from fellow Brit Hannah Rhodes by 15 minutes. Rhodes set a time 9 hours, 8 minutes, 31 seconds on Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District in early June.

Diving into Pooley's stats further, we can see she averaged 15.2kmh, maxing out at an impressive 106.9kmh on one of the nine descents. She also rode through 24 degree heat and admits that she used 'insufficient gearing' in her Strava post.

Interestingly in the light of Pooley's choice of climb averaging 13%, talking to the Cyclist Magazine Podcast recently, fellow Everester Phil Gaimon sad that this would be the optimum gradient as it would be the steepest climb that you could repeat without having to ride out of the saddle. 

En route, Pooley also managed to bag the Haggenegg Queen of the Mountains on her second ascent with a climbing time of 41 minutes, 35 seconds.

Pooley provided a detailed account of her efforts on her Strava post, explaining that she 'blew up on the eighth ascent and no amount of gels and water stops would revitalise my legs'.

She added that '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.'

To celebrate her new record, and just a big day out in the saddle generally, Pooley treated herself to her first McDonalds in 20 years (and if you're wondering, she got a McChicken Sandwich and large chips).

Bagging the record is no surprise for Pooley who was one of the most accomplished time-triallists and climbers of her generation – two traits that come in handy while Everesting – counting wins at Fleche Wallonne, Trofeo Alfredo Binda and four time-trial National Championships on her palmares.

Pooley now joins Education First rider Lachlan Morton who holds the men's Everesting record in a time of 7 hours, 29 minutes, 57 seconds.

Pooley also took on the task of setting a new Everesting record in memory of her late friend and former pro Sharon Laws, raising money for Kate's Home Nursing.

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