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Zak Burgess, 14, spent lockdown II Everesting on his bike

The teenager from Clitheroe ticked off the 8,848m of elevation in a solid 28-hour ride

Joe Robinson
20 Nov 2020

Most 14-year-olds spent their downtime in this latest lockdown playing Playstation and swiping through TikTok. Zak Burgess spent his becoming one of the youngest person to ever complete an Everesting challenge on his bike.

The teenager from Clitheroe in Lancashire managed to tick off the gruelling feat of climbing 8,848m of elevation – the height of Everest – by completing 52 repetitions of the Birdy Brow climb in one, continuous ride.

Starting bright and early at 4am, Burgess took to the 2km, 9.1% climb to begin his day of riding. After a mighty 28 hours in the saddle and 196km of constant ascending and descending, he reached the mythical figure of 8,848m of elevation.

Burgess’s ride has since been given the seal of approval by the Everesting gatekeepers, Hells 500, with the teenager already featuring on the official Everesting hall of fame alongside the likes of Emma Pooley, Lachlan Morton and Alberto Contador.

Riding on his Ridley road bike with junior gearing and rear mudguard, Burgess said on completion that riding at night was the hardest part and he got emotional despite not being an emotional person.

‘There were some extreme highs and lows as part of the ride,’ he explained. ‘I don’t really get emotional about things but the extreme tiredness brought a flood of emotion at the end. When you’ve been dreaming of that final moment and then it hits you, and it’s big. I’ve never felt anything like it. Crying was my only option – I was speechless,’ he added.

‘Riding through the night was the toughest. It started to rain about 3am and it got cold. I thought I wasn’t going to make it but people stayed out through the night and some rode with me to keep me going – shout outs to them all, I wouldn’t have made it without the support.’

The reason this 14-year-old decided to spend 28 hours climbing one hill over and over was simply to do ‘something for charity’, the initial plan being to get Zak to raise a bit of money while his dad Niels filmed him for a school project.

As of Friday 20th November, Burgess has raised over £3,000 for the UK charity Re-Cycle, an organisation that recycles unwanted bikes in the UK for communities in Africa, and you can cough up a quid or two here.

Burgess was also happy to take on the selfless task with just his dad but it did not quite pan out that way.

‘People kept appearing. Dudes I didn’t know but that had heard what I was trying to do,’ said Burgess.

‘I was trying to sustain myself on gels and energy bars but in true British community-style, they were bringing me cake and flapjacks, fish and chips from the local chippy and cups of tea! I couldn’t have got through it without their support.’

Following his efforts, Chris Boardman also offered his congratulations saying, ‘Zak is a true inspiration to the cycling fraternity. The Everesting Challenge is a tough cycling event to take on and Zak should be proud for achieving this and for raising a fantastic amount of money for the charity Re-cycle.’ That’s nice of Chris.

Oh, and that film that Zak’s dad shot for the school project will be showing online at the Kendal Mountain Festival – all virtual this year of course – and can be found here.

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