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This doctor will ride the height of Mount Everest on a Kamloops hill — for 24 hours straight

Lennard Pretorius is 'climbing' for the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation
Lennard Pretorius loves to cycle during his downtime. (via Facebook)

A Kamloops doctor will attempt to climb Mount Everest next month.

But he won't be travelling to the Himalayas to do it.

Lennard Pretorius is planning to ride his bike up and down Highland Road in Valleyview 65 consecutive times on April 13. The estimated 24-hour ride — if completed — equates a distance of 8,848 m, the height of Mount Everest.

15403885_The 38-year-old has experience in ultra-distance cycling events, but has never completed a single-hill event. (via Contributed)

The challenge is known as "Everesting." Cyclists pick any hill of any distance and ride the height of the biggest mountain in the world. If they succeed, they get into the Hall of Fame. To date, 3,218 people have successfully completed the task.

For Pretorius, the challenge is more than that. He's hoping to raise funds for the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation. 

"I think it's such a great facility and a lot of great people there are doing a lot of hard work looking after us," he tells KamloopsMatters.

Pretorius, who works at the Thompson Rivers Medical Clinic on Seymour Street, says cycling is his main hobby when he's not at work. He's competed in ultra-distance cycling events, riding for 24 to 30 hours, but he's never attempted a ride on just one hill.

"I think it's going to be mentally challenging," says Pretorius, adding he intends to stop for bathroom breaks and to eat. 

It's about 1.5 km from the Valleyview Arena to the roundabout at the top of Highland Road. Pretorius anticipates he'll be going up the hill about three times an hour for a total of 215 km. 

"I'll be going extremely slow," he says, classifying the hill as "medium" in terms of difficulty.

riding-buddiesLennard Pretorius (left) and friend Andrew Cant. (via Contributed)

Since creating a Facebook event for the ambitious endeavour, Pretorius says he's received an outpouring of support from the local cycling community.

"Many of whom I don't even know have said they'll come out and ride along with me, for a few laps, to offer mental support and distraction from the mental fatigue. It's going to be a team effort," he says.

Local businesses have also offered to provide food and thirst-quenching drinks, he adds.

If you're wondering what kind of food it takes to fuel the body for a 24-hour bike ride, think pastries. Pretorius says he'll be snacking on things like donuts because they contain a lot of calories.

Oh, and chocolate milk. 

"I love my chocolate milk," he says with a laugh. (Don't worry, he plans to keep up his electrolytes up with Gatorade.)

To prepare for the ride, the 38-year-old recently climbed the height of Mount Everest via a simulation program called Zwift. He rode for 13.5 hours straight. 

"It wasn't too bad. The knees were aching a bit. It was a good trial run," he says. "I know the real thing is going to be tougher, but I'm pretty hopeful that I'll be able to finish it."

Pretorius is inviting anyone in the community to come and cheer him on. He'll be starting at noon on April 13, ride through the night and wrap up the following day.

For those who wish to donate, they can do so either in-person (there will be a tent at the bottom of Highland Road, in the parking lot at the Valleyview Arena) or online (click HERE).

As of March 18, Pretorius has raised $665 of his $1,000 goal.


Tereza Verenca

About the Author: Tereza Verenca

Tereza Verenca is a multimedia journalist who covers all things Kamloops!
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