Everesting challenge ends just short due to equipment glitch
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.