Two of Canada’s top Para cyclists will be virtually ascending the height of Mount Everest on December 27, raising funds to support the Paralympic Foundation of Canada along the way – and cycling enthusiasts around the globe can join them.
Tristen Chernove and Ross Wilson, both multiple Paralympic Games medallists, are putting a virtual take on the popular Everesting challenge: vEveresting. The plan is they will ascend hills until they reach the equivalent height of Mount Everest – 8,848 metres.
This will see the two use a smart trainer on their stationary bikes, which will replicate outdoor riding conditions such as hills, headwinds and drafts, controlled through the Zwift app. Zwift is an interactive cycling app that allows athletes to train and race against other cyclists from the safety of their own homes.
Supporters will be able to follow and cheer Chernove and Wilson on via the group-chatting app Discord, or join in and race alongside them on Zwift.
The pair – who are preparing for next summer’s Paralympic Games – are taking on this quest to promote active living, achieve some of their own training goals, and raise money for the Paralympic Foundation of Canada to give more people with a disability the opportunity to try sport.
“An inclusive society is simply a better society for everyone and what the Paralympic Foundation of Canada does to help Canada achieve a progressive trajectory towards becoming a more inclusive society is super close to my heart,” said Chernove, who received NextGen funding through the foundation earlier in his career. “I feel great about being an assistant in that whether it’s through raising funds that can create access points for more people to get involved that might not otherwise, or just the awareness piece because awareness, discussion, and communication is where it all begins.”
For Chernove, who captured a gold, silver, and bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, it’s an extension of his summer fundraising efforts, when he set a new record for the BC Epic 1000. He raced the over 1,000-kilometre westbound route in just over three days and seven hours, raising more than $33,000.
Wilson provided support to Chernove throughout the BC Epic 1000 but is now fully in the trenches for the vEveresting. The two friends and teammates are in training to ensure they are in tip-top shape for December 27, and will be communicating with each other throughout the whole ride.
“In the summer we saw there were so many people who were fans of what Tristen did,” said Wilson, who won two silvers at Rio 2016. “This was a really cool opportunity for another event that follows up on that and builds on some of the momentum but also allows for other people to participate. If we’re talking about developing awareness around Para sport in Canada, one of those key things is getting the chance to interact with the athletes and understand what it’s like.”
Both Chernove and Wilson are hoping to see many other riders join them via Zwift throughout the day, participating in part of the challenge or even attempting the full vEveresting as well.
“I’m looking forward to not suffering alone,” Chernove said. “As much as we are physically going to be alone, we are doing this on a platform that allows it to be shared with other people. I know it will be pretty amazing to finish something that’s going to be a highlight as far as digging deep, going into the reserves, and coming out the other side stronger – but I think seeing other people achieve more than they thought they could will be a highlight for me.”
The challenge must be completed in one day, but short breaks are allowed. Chernove and Wilson expect to be on their bikes on December 27 for approximately 12-14 hours.