Ronan McLaughlin has broken the world Everesting record for the second time after reclaiming his crown from American Sean Gardner by a big margin.
McLaughlin climbed the needed 8,848 metres in a startling time of 6-40-54, which is very nearly 20 minutes faster than the record set by Gardner back in July 2020, which was a 6-59-38.
The Irishman’s time was also over 20 minutes faster than a previous record set by Alberto Contador with an impressive 7-04-41.
The new record was set last Tuesday (March 23) on the same climb as his first record-breaking ride, Mamore Gap in the Republic of Ireland. The climb has a hellish 14.2 per cent average gradient over 810 metres according to the Strava segment. McLaughlin had to take on 76 laps of the climb to get to the height of Mt. Everest but did 78 just in case.
In total, he rode 125.96km up and down Mamore Gap averaging 296 Watts over the entire ride and maxing out at 688w for one second. Averaging 3.65 w/kg.
His times did start to slow dramatically towards the end after averaging around 4-35 per climb his last was at 5-50 clearly showing the fatigue of the challenge.
McLaughlin told CyclingTips after his effort: “I have been lucky enough to do a lot on a bike, and get a lot in life from bikes. Undoubtedly though, getting this record again is right at the very top. I am usually my own harshest critic in terms of the achievement, but I am already super proud of this one.
“To work all the way through winter and then finally take another 19 minutes off the record on the very first chance I’ve got this year is special.”
The original plan was that he would try and break his own record and go under seven hours before anyone else in Autumn of 2020 but the Covid-19 pandemic meant that he wasn’t able to attempt it. Gardner did his in the Autumn of 2020 and broke the seven-hour mark with it.
So the former pro rider, who rode for the Irish An Post team that was owned by the great Sean Kelly for six years, trained through the winter and waited for the weather to improve as well as lockdown restrictions to be lifted before attempting to reclaim his crown.
The weather on the day was favourable with the temperature around 10 degrees centigrade as well as a tailwind up the climb.
McLaughlin continued: “The ride was tough as you’d expect and I didn’t feel super as I hadn’t got my full taper due to weather forecast changes.
“But considering the challenge that it is and the pace I was riding, it was never going to feel super for the whole ride and something was sure to go wrong at some point.”
It did at one point wrong for him, but it was the bike that failed as he got a rear puncture with 10 laps to go, switching to his spare bike for two laps while his mechanic fitted a new wheel to his main steed.
“It happened on the descent as I was accelerating away from the top turnaround, while I was super-tucking,
“For a second I thought I was a goner but I somehow held it up. The bike was like a bucking bull as I was fighting to get it slowed down. At one point I considered crashing myself into the ditch rather than risking hitting the tar. But ultimately I limped it down the remainder of the descent to the bottom turn where I had a spare bike sitting.
“I was doing 5-20-something laps right up until the puncture,” he said. “The puncture lap took 6-32 and the laps on the spare bikes were high 5-30s so the puncture cost me 1-30, if not more.”