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Videos: London cyclist Everests hill with 18 per cent gradient - riding it 134 times

Mat Ilic of Regent's Park Rouleurs took on Swain's Lane in Highgate to raise awareness of charity he works for...

Two new videos follow a London cyclist as he attempts to ‘Everest’ one of the capital’s toughest climbs – Swain’s Lane in Highgate, which has a gradient that hits a leg-sapping 18 per cent.

Mat Ilic of Regent's Park Rouleurs tackled the 1.2 kilometre ascent 134 times to achieve the equivalent altitude gain as Mount Everest from sea level to its summit – 8,848 metres, to be exact.

Ahead of the ride in July last year, the charity director, then aged 29, told the Camden New Journal: “It is a hill close to where I live and our charity is Camden-based, so we thought, why not Swain’s Lane?

“It’s obviously tough but I’ve always been competitive and if you have enough grit you can get through. I have maybe done it up to 15 times in a row before but I am saving anything more for the actual day.”

One week before his attempt to Everest the Highgate climb, however, another cyclist got there first – Stanislav Cmaka, who completed it in 16 hours 31 minutes.

Ilic had just one option – he wouldn’t be the first person to achieve the feat, but he could at least try and beat the time, and supported by club mates throughout the day, that’s what he set out to do.

Produced by Gorilla Face Productions and Wodehouse Films, one video explores the cyclist’s preparations, with the other focusing on the ride itself.

Everesting Swain's 'The Ascent' from Wodehouse Films on Vimeo.

EVERESTING SWAIN'S - THE PREPARATION from Gorilla Face on Vimeo.

Ilic is a director of Only Connect, a North London-based criminal justice-focused charity that works with young people to try and reduce first-time and repeat offending.

Admitting after his ride up the repeated ascent and downhill sections that “My God, is it a dark place,“ Ilic added, “There was nothing that was going to get in the way of raising awareness for Only Connect.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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15 comments

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Talcumboy | 8 years ago
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Excellent effort and a nice edit. A lot of effort went into this both, physically and mentally and into production. A shame then that the Everest graphic reported the elevation in FT throughout.

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carlheimdal | 8 years ago
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Strava or it didn't happen. Where is the strava activity?

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xbr976 | 8 years ago
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I touched the bottom of the YMCA pool 250 times the other day. It was like diving to the Andrea Doria.

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PhilRuss | 8 years ago
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[[[[[[[[ Amazing achievement, and so well filmed my legs cramped up just watching it....and NO SILLY SLOW-MO FOOTAGE, geddit? That's why it looks so compelling.

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DrJDog | 8 years ago
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Average 6:20 per loop  2

When I do 3 loops that's roughly my time. I did 10 once and I think they were a lot slower  2

Beast. Nutty.

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harman_mogul | 8 years ago
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Congratulations Mat! As well as stamina, you have the mental strength! Five reps about enough for me before the Prince of Wales calls.

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Jem PT | 8 years ago
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Since when did one-way road rules apply to cyclists?  21

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Scoob_84 | 8 years ago
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Not wanting to detract anything from his achievement, but isn't Everesting supposed to be up and down the same road with loops not being allowed?

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kwi replied to Scoob_84 | 8 years ago
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Loops are allowed in some circumstances.

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Simon_MacMichael replied to Scoob_84 | 8 years ago
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Scoob_84 wrote:

Not wanting to detract anything from his achievement, but isn't Everesting supposed to be up and down the same road with loops not being allowed?

Good point but Swain's Lane is one way so a loop is permissible.

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Rixter replied to Scoob_84 | 8 years ago
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I don't understand why it would make any difference if it was a loop or not, as long as you reach the 8,848m. Somebody rode up and down one spot 490 times. That's mind-numbing!  38

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Blackhound | 8 years ago
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Congratulations Mat.

I always see the Everesting challenge as being almost more of a mental challenge then a physical one and have massive respect for people who undertake it. I can ride all day with some climbing but the thought of going up and down or round a small circuit for hours on end would drive me nuts. Far to easy (for me) to quit.

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crazy-legs replied to Blackhound | 8 years ago
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Blackhound wrote:

Congratulations Mat.

I always see the Everesting challenge as being almost more of a mental challenge then a physical one and have massive respect for people who undertake it. I can ride all day with some climbing but the thought of going up and down or round a small circuit for hours on end would drive me nuts. Far to easy (for me) to quit.

Yep, hats off to him. You're right, it's almost all a test of mental toughness. I did an Everest back in May and about half way through realised that I just needed to stop trying to calculate ascents to go, times, distance etc and just shut my brain down and pedal.

I also chose a hill I didn't need to ride 138 times! Well done Mat!

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Hindmost | 8 years ago
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One of the other guys in the same club is riding 500km non-stop around Regent's Park for charity:-

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/RegentsParkCyclists

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shifty27 | 8 years ago
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Chapeau!!!

This is my weekly training climb and it's lovely but not lovely enough for 140 odd goes!

Well done for raising money such a great motivation!!

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