Vail area locals Josiah Middaugh, Mike Brumbaugh climb 29,000 feet in Everesting challenge
Proceeds from charity ride will be split with Starting Hearts and Vail Valley Partnership’s community fund
Raising money for locals suffering financially from the COVID-19 pandemic, Josiah Middaugh and Mike Brumbaugh suffered through 29,029 feet of climbing on Saturday.
Brumbaugh said he had been thinking about Everesting for a while, and when he heard that Middaugh was also going to make an attempt at the Everesting challenge of climbing 29,029 feet in a single session, he saw the solidarity in attempting his initiation with Middaugh.
“I called him and said do you mind if I steal your thunder and do it with you, and we can do it for a fundraiser,” Brumbaugh said.
Brumbaugh said he has been impressed with the work being done by the Vail Valley Foundation to help locals with rent relief and food. Brumbaugh owns Venture Sports in Avon and saw the effects of the abrupt halt to business first hand. He said he had been using the time to get on his bike more often.
“I had been riding more in April and May than the last four April and Mays combined,” he said.
That gave him some confidence in joining Middaugh, an XTERRA world champion who is among the most accomplished bike riders living in Eagle County.
Middaugh said Brumbaugh seemed ready for the challenge.
“There’s a lot of people who I would say no, this is not a good idea,” Middaugh said. “You need somebody who has the experience, and has the miles, and (Brumbaugh) did.”
Those seeking admission into the Everesting Hall of Fame can select a route to accomplish their climb.
Middaugh picked a steep section of nearly 400 vertical feet on the north side of I-70. He did 80 laps, and said he found it quite difficult.
“The mental challenge of it was pretty rough,” he said. “My wheelhouse is events that are under three hours. I like to extend beyond that once and a while, but sometimes I’ll really suffer, and this was one of those cases.”
Brumbaugh sought out a route on the south side of I-70. He had originally intended to climb Daybreak Ridge in Bachelor Gulch, but then learned that the road was under construction.
“At the 11th hour I changed my plan because the road was all torn up, so I ended up riding Horizon Pass, which added 20 miles to my ride,” Brumbaugh said.
Brumbaugh’s route was 25 laps, 170 miles in total.
“Josiah is stronger so he went with a harder and shorter segment, his was probably 50 miles shorter than mine,” Brumbaugh said.
Middaugh finished in time to cross the highway and catch Brumbaugh for his last few laps.
“He held up surprisingly well,” Middaugh said of Brumbaugh.
Brumbaugh said even he was surprised by how well it went.
“The weather was perfect, the traffic was perfect, nothing could have been better,” Burmbaugh said.
Middaugh said at one point, he thought he might need a Starting Hearts defibrillator.
“The ambulance crew had stopped halfway up to cheer me on,” he said. “They were in the middle of the road and I thought they could just open the back doors and have me ride right in.”
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