Cardiff cyclist smashes women’s ‘Everesting’ record on Bwlch y Groes climb
Cardiff student Illi Gardner has broken one of the toughest records in cycling – climbing the height of Everest.
The 21-year-old chose a section of the Bwlch y Groes climb in Gwynedd for her ‘Everesting’ attempt which requires a rider to climb 8,848 metres, the height of Everest, in the fastest possible time.
With a brutally steep 17.4 gradient, she repeated the climb 72 times to hit the elevation target in a time of 8h 32m – knocking almost 20 minutes off the previous record.
Speaking to Cycling Tips she said: “There was a rough patch about five hours in where everything bad seemed to happen at once – the fog rolled in, my legs stopped working and two descents in a row I nearly got taken out by sheep.
“There were a few lurking on the roadside which decided to dart out right in front of me – luckily I’m quite a slow descender so managed to stay upright but it caused quite a bit of swearing.”
Bwlch y Groes was once used for vehicle testing and the climb featured throughout the 70’s and 80’s as the toughest challenge on the Milk Race round-Britain cycle race.
Illi competes as a road racer with the Cams Basso cycling team while also studying visual effects at the University of Cardiff.
She posted her record-breaking ride on the ride tracking website Strava with the message, “Everest on Bwlch y Groes — not sure I’d recommend”.
She celebrated the achievement with some homemade pizza and, ‘eating nonstop cereal bars all day!’.
The previous women’s Everesting record was held by former British National Champion, Emma Pooley, who set her time on the Haggenegg climb in central Switzerland.