Parasports March 23, 2020
Para athlete Himanshu Kumar to attempt Everesting, world’s most epic cycling challenge
Blade runner Himanshu Kumar is gearing up to attempt the world’s toughest cycling challenge. It’s called Everesting and is he succeeds, Himanshu will enter history books as the first para athlete to achieve this.
Imagine cycling up and down a hill until you have equated 8,848 meters of ascent, which is the height of Mount Everest. It’s a tough endurance battle that pushes you to the utmost physical and mental limits. Now imagine doing this on one leg. That is what para athlete and blade runner Himanshu Kumar is attempting later this year.
World’s first para athlete to attempt Everesting
Called Everesting, this is a challenge that has become popular in the last eight years globally. Everesting can be done on any peak in the world by logging the distance on the same route in a single stint. Cyclists can take short break but not to nap. The distance has to be covered in 24-30 hours and there are physical risks. Only four Indians have succeeded until now.
I will be the world’s first para athlete to attempt this. I plan to do this on 25 April in Uttarakhand and I am working hard at this by training everyday under the guidance of my coach and mentor Manish Jayal. – Himanshu Kumar, Para athlete
The target date of 25 April has hit a snag with the coronavirus outbreak putting a stop to Himanshu’s intense preparations. This is the first time that Manish Jayal, a long-distance endurance cyclist coach, is trained a disabled person and he believes Himanshu has what it takes to achieve his goal.
Himanshu’s left leg was amputated after a road accident
“Himanshu can do this given his passion”, says Manish. This goal is especially challenging given Himanshu’s disability. “He has no left leg and uses his right leg to put force on the pedals of the cycle. For the left side, he has to use his core and oblique muscles”. Manish got to understand the scale of Himanshu’s challenge while training with him in February this year. “The cycle is at a high speed while on the slope so if has to stop suddenly he cannot use his left leg at all. This needs not just physical but immense mental strength as well and we are working on that”.
Himanshu will be Everesting along with nine cyclists at a mountain peak in Lansdowne in the Kumaon region. The site was chosen after a recce of 16 different routes. “The distance has to be such that you don’t get too tired and there are no steep elevations”, explains Manish. Traffic and wildlife are another concern as the attempt has to be done at a stretch with no breaks for sleep.
We will be covering a distance of nearly 350-km, says Manish. “Our target of 24-25 April will be delayed now because of the coronaries scare as we haven’t trained for a week”. He plans to start online workouts for Himanshu and the rest of the team to make sure they don’t lose momentum or spirit.