These days, the word ‘Epic’ is competing directly with ‘Unprecedented’ to see who can be the most exhausted and overused. When people start referring to their new glove purchase as ‘epic’, you know we’ve gone down a linguistic rabbit hole that we should have worked hard to avoid.
So, when someone does something legitimately epic, it can really stand out. I can assure you these tales are epic as they not only forced me to do pure content regurgitation (rare), but in one instance it’s pure SRAM sponsored content at that (rare AF).
In both instances below, these feats were so VERY epic that I felt compelled to spam them straight back out. In all likelihood you’ve already seen them and uttered “Fuuuuuuck” as you calculate how hard what they did was, but if not, then get familiar.
And I swear, it’s a totally insane coincidence that both of these relate to people who just so happen to be riding Santa Cruz bikes… And to be noted, neither of them are what you would call stereotypical Banditos either, which makes it all the more impressive.
First up is Ben, who appears ready for life with a toddler by getting up at 5am every day:
If climbing 55,000m in a month doesn’t slap you about the face with it’s enormity, take a week and try to climb 1,800m per day, every day for just that one week and see how you’d feel about a month of it. But that’s not even half the story. The fact that he did this mostly on the Queenstown Bike Park access road is eye and leg watering to say the least.
To call the Queenstown Bike Park access road a bit of a cunt is unkind to real cunts who have spent years perfecting their craft. It’s a life sucking force of a climb, which while it only measures 2.65km in length, it gives you both fists with its 15% average gradient. I’ve only done it once in my life, but it took me 40 minutes at Enduro pace on Day 5 of Trans NZ… It’s hard to comprehend doing it multiple times per day, for a month, whilst also working full time.
When I watched this video, I was struck by some bipolar emotions competing head to head. First of all, I recoiled at the sheer massiveness of the task with a “Fuck that” auto response.
However, on the other hand, there was a very real appeal of the freedom and fitness that this tale represents. I think I respected it more than I craved it. To be able to get up every day like that and punch out an effort most of us seldomly do, not only takes a freedom a lot of people don’t have access to, but also a focus and perseverance that is admirable to say the least.
I also appreciated how stripped back this was, just a dude on his Hightower 2, lapping, working, lapping, sleeping and repeating. No hype, no XC bike in sight, just getting out there and smashing it on repeat. Most of us could probably shred down 55,000m in a month, but not many of us would want to earn those turns.
But what if you don’t have the focus, freedom or discipline to last a whole month of insane feats of strength & consistency? Ask the GC next to you to hold your beer for a day…
As the President of the unofficial & extremely unendorsed International Mark Scott fan club, the next story is brought to you with a weird combination of awe and creepy, uncomfortable pride.
You’ve all heard of Everesting: Ride your bike up the same hill climb, repeating it in one session until you hit 8,848m in elevation gain. Fucking insane & hard, but relatively straightforward as a concept.
Everesting was fucked when cunts started to do it virtually on turbo trainers, so it had to be replaced with something which cyborgs couldn’t replicate. Enter KTWO.
KTWO, which doesn’t have a fancy website yet, appears to be slightly more fringe at this stage, possibly because it seems to be insanely hard and logistically challenging. The concept throws the repeat zombie screaming out the window and instead invites you to climb 8,611m in vertical gain, BUT, the same road, trail or route may only be used once in each direction, repeats are not permitted.
Slap me hard across the face with your ride mapping software, as fuck that’s a hard one to think about planning for. Look out your window, do you live somewhere that would allow you to achieve such a ride and it not be like 500km’s long? The only other one I’ve seen so far was from Lachlan Morton in ColoRADo, clearly a place which lends itself to such a mission. Also appears that he did it on a road bike.
Enter Mark Scott, EWS PRO, armed with a Blur 3, who decides to smash this fucker on a Mountain Bike:
Seriously, what the FUCK? The biggest road ride elevation gain I have ever managed was 4,190m in the Pyrenees during #AT40, with the biggest MTB day, minus any form of shuttling or uplift being 2,648m of climbing, so it’s impossible to try and comprehend what the numbers posted above must have felt like. Some next level emotional, mental and physical torture going on there.
Reach around sidebar – if you were going to do that much climbing on an MTB, then the Blur 3 is indeed the bike to do it on, but holy fuck my brain hurts when I digest some of the numbers Scotty went through to nail this.
14.5 hours of ride time?! 19 hours elapsed time?!!! Two Hundred and fucking thirty kilometres?!! Most people struggle to put together these numbers in a full week of riding. Check out the weather too just quietly… FUCK. An absolute monster of a day on a bike which would be fucking hard to replicate.
Fucking chapeau to both of these machines for smashing something extraordinary, you can say it’s not for everyone as there aren’t many people that can pull these kinds of rides off. Does this inspire you to plan for something mental, epic or completely different when summer rolls around? Or does it just weird you out completely and have you running screaming into the uplift queue immediately? Either way, how fucking GREAT are bikes?
Speaking of inspirational, during lock down I wrote my first love letter in a series of two to Italy, celebrating the severe awesomeness of Aosta Valley and its rad crew. Given how smashed Italy has been, it’s both uplifting and excellent to see this video come out today, a reminder that while there is a long and cunty road to plow, there is rad shredding at the end of the tunnel. Bellissimo Lorenzo!