Ever­est­ing chal­lenge ends just short due to equip­ment glitch

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - BURLING­TON POST

BURLING­TON — The first Hal­ton Ever­est­ing chal­lenge Satur­day along Kerns Road didn’t end the way or­ga­niz­ers had hoped, dev­as­tat­ing the cy­clists in­volved.

Af­ter be­gin­ning the one-day ver­ti­cal “climb” of Mount Ever­est at 4:30 a.m. Satur­day, re­main­ing rid­ers Ge­orge Or­fanogian­nis and Matt Zielin­ski had to call the event at lap 69 (just short of 73 laps of the 4.9-kilo­me­tre loop) due to mal­func­tion­ing equip­ment.

At that point, af­ter ap­prox­i­mately 315 kilo­me­tres, they were “feel­ing good and ready to go the dis­tance” said Or­fanogian­nis.

When some­thing didn’t seem right, the rid­ers “did a quick re­cal­cu­la­tion” and found that the de­vice that mea­sured al­ti­tude had been af­fected by the day’s air pres­sure, and had “robbed us of 60 feet for ev­ery climb we did.”

“That would have taken the ride to 88 laps and pushed us to 6 a.m. We were ready to go to 6 a.m., but the is­sue be­came it was go­ing to rain again and we thought if we get to 6 a.m., what hap­pens if the rain robs us of more laps; does it be­come too dan­ger­ous to fin­ish?”

Or­fanogian­nis came up with Hal­ton’s first Ever­est­ing at­tempt, not just as a chal­lenge for him­self, but to raise funds and aware­ness in sup­port of re­search into pe­di­atric on­col­ogy; his son Joey, 7, was di­ag­nosed with acute lym­phoblas­tic leukemia in Jan­uary of 2016.

“When my son was go­ing through treat­ment I al­ways told him I wouldn’t ask him to do what I wouldn’t do. I asked him to climb a moun­tain so I owe him a moun­tain,” said Or­fanogian­nis, a mem­ber of Oakville’s Morn­ing Glory Cy­cling Club.

Or­fanogian­nis said the event was in­cred­i­ble nonethe­less based on the hun­dreds of peo­ple who came out to sup­port the cy­clists.

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