Introducing Louise Gibson
Louise Gibson is well-known to RGT. Louise started cycling just six years ago, since then she has represented Team GB twice at the Gran Fondo World Championships and cofounded the InternationElles.
In 2019, the InternationElles completed the Tour De France one day ahead of the male professional race to shine a light on equity and equality in the sport.
In 2020 this the team of women were set to repeat this but due to the pandemic were forced to consider other options. In a typically innovative fashion, they create their Plan-B Project.
Plan B saw the team ride the cumulative length of the 2020 male tour and complete a real-world Everesting challenge.
The First Female to Everest on RGT
Back in 2020, RGT confirmed official attempt status with Hells 500 and everesting.cc. This meant that for the first time since Zwift, there was an opportunity to be the first ascender of a new virtual platform.
Louise seized the opportunity and became the first person to cycle the cumulative altitude of mount Everest (8,848m) of RGT Cycling, in just one ride, in just one day.
To celebrate the launch of the Everest on Everest Challenge on RGT Cycling that has been developed in partnership with WKG and everesting.cc we caught up with Louise to understand more about how she undertook the mammoth ride.
Ina RGT: Hey Louise, thanks for joining us. The first question we all want an answer to is, how long did your vEverest take?
Louise: I chose Mont Ventoux to vEverest on RGT. I had to do 6 repetitions. I rode a bit extra than the 8848 meters needed (just in case!) and stopped riding at 11hrs 49 mins. I was delighted to get it done in under 12 hours.
Ina RGT: You’ve been crazy enough to do both vEveresting and in real life Everesting, how would you say they differ?
Louise: They are both very challenging and amazing achievements to tick off but are very different. With a vEveresting you have your home comforts available which makes a big difference. Being able to have whatever food and drinks I wanted was great, so was being able to change into fresh kit whenever I wanted. I was also able to get off the bike whilst my avatar was descending, you can’t do that in real life!!!
Ina RGT: Preparation for something like this is critical to success. How did you preparing for your virtual Everesting challenge?
Louise: I didn’t do much extra training, I was lucky to already be fit and ready to take on the vEveresting challenge as I’d done an Everest in real life only a couple of months previously and had stayed fit in training since then. I just made sure I had a fairly easy week leading up to the attempt to make sure I was well-rested and ready for a long day on my turbo!
Ina RGT: Keeping on the planning theme, how did you plan your day?
I didn’t plan on getting up too early as I wanted to be fresh and have a good sleep going into it, but I woke quite early with nervous apprehension so ended up getting up and ready anyway!
I ate a nice carbohydrate-rich breakfast and let it settle as I got all my kit and bottles ready. I always had carbohydrate mix in my water bottles and I made sure I kept fueled and hydrated all-day. I was careful not to overdo this by drinking or eating too much though, this can be a fine balance.
I had a power output in mind that would ensure I got the job done in a good time but didn’t overcook it – I needed to stick to about 3 w/kg. My first ascent was actually my slowest, I was being way too cautious. I was nervous about energy expenditure and barely broke a sweat. The 5 ascents after that were much better and took me about 90 minutes each time. and kept an eye on consistent sustainable power as that was something I struggled with on my real life Everesting.
Ina RGT: Do you have any other preparation tips?
Louise: I had made sure my di2 was fully charged as I knew I’d be using my gears a lot and had everything I needed to hand (snacks, plenty of fluids, phone charger, laptop cable, and Netflix on the ready!) I also made sure I had plenty of chamois cream on. I was going to spend double the amount of time I’d ever spent on my turbo and wasn’t sure how it would go!
Ina RGT: Mentally something like this can be a serious challenge, how did you deal with that?
Louise: I had told lots of people I was making the attempt and that fuelled me on. I don’t quit easily and I’m very determined! I also knew I was the first female to vEverest on RGT and that was my biggest motivation! I watched Netflix to distract me and pass the time and just concentrated on each ascent at a time instead of thinking about the whole lot in one go. A few friends joined me on RGT for an ascent and that was great too!
Ina RGT: If you’re mad enough to have another go at this, what would you do differently?
Louise: If I was to vEverest again (which I probably will!) I wouldn’t be so cautious on the first ascent. I think it would be fun to do it with others too. Unfortunately, lockdown stopped me from being able to meet up with my InternationElles teammates and vEverest together!
If I picked a different route I would have been able to get off for the full descent too and that would have given me a bigger break in between reps. Ventoux had a flattish section that I had to pedal on the descent so it wasn’t a complete break. I was happy to tick it off as an vEverest though, Ventoux is very special – I can’t wait to ride it in real life!
Ina RGT: What advice would you give someone who has made the decision to vEverest?
- Use your gears and pace yourself
- It’s a very long amount of time on a turbo. You’ve got to stay comfortable if you want to stay motivated
- Distractions such as TV / music is great and fuelling properly is critical
- You’ll need to have a good breakfast and keep on top of your carbs and fluids all-day
- Stay focussed on the goal of being able to join the Hells500 club, you’re in a small group of badass people who’ve Everested / vEverested on a bicycle! Good luck
Ina RGT: Thanks, Louise! It has been a pleasure as always
You can check out Louise’s epic on here STRAVA account.