Indoor cycling is already known for its high intensity, ultra-aerobic, “leave it all on the bike” sensibility. So what happens when Spinning® International Master Instructor and former professional cyclist Josh Taylor decides to really push the limits? You get his signature rides, with names like Warrior, Cheetah, Fighter Pilot, and this: His two- (or three-, or four-) hour-long Everest Ride. “It’s extreme because it’s so long, not just in duration but in premise—you’re climbing the tallest mountain in the world!” Taylor says. “It’s not just about the physical challenge but the mental challenge as well.” Normally, he hosts these rides as special events and conferences around the world, complete with imagery, sound effects, and perfectly matched music. And, of course, he’s also there cheering, cajoling, and pushing you on. That said, if you want to take it on yourself, strap on your heart rate monitor, put on your favorite motivating soundtrack, and follow this cheat sheet.
Two-Hour Everest Ride
10 min. warmup: Pedal easy at 50-60% of Max Heart Rate (MHR) with light to moderate resistance.
20 min. long hard climb with efforts: Base Camp to Camp 1, “The Khumbu Icefall.” Get up to 80% MHR with heavy resistance and pedal at 65-70 RPM (revolutions per minute). Within the last five minutes, do five 10-sec. high-intensity intervals (85-90% MHR) at 80 RPM to simulate climbing quickly through this dangerous section on the mountain.
5 min. recovery: Camp 1. Come down to light resistance and easy pedaling to get back to baseline HR. Drink water.
20 min. long steady climb: Camp 1 to Camp 2. Get up to 80-85% MHR at moderate resistance maintaining 60-80 RPM. Coach yourself with motivational words—you will want to back off as the climb starts to wear on.
5 min. recovery: Camp 2. Light resistance, easy pedaling to get back to baseline HR. Drink water and refuel with gels if needed. You’re going to be a little tired at this point, and you still have an hour to go!
20 min. intensifying climb: Camp 2 to Camp 3. To mimic the reduced of oxygen levels high on the mountain, start at 80 RPM with moderate resistance and 80% MHR (should feel hard to breath). Every few minutes, add a small amount of resistance, so you are at 60 RPM and 85% MHR for the final five minutes. You can be seated and/or standing during this section.
5 min. recovery: Camp 3. Go light and easy. Stretch upper body if needed. Your goal during the camps is to fully recover, so do whatever that takes.
15 min. standing climb: Camp 3 to 4. A storm is coming in, it’s getting colder, windy, and steeper. Heavy resistance, out-of-the-saddle climbing at 60-65 RPM and 80-85% MHR for the full 15 minutes. In the last minute, do a full-on 30-second effort and sprint for camp!
10 min. recovery: Camp 4. You’re preparing for the summit push and will need all the recovery you can get. Rehydrate, sit up, stretch. Get your composure back because the last 10 minutes of this thing are gonna be brutal.
10 min. hardest climb of your life: Camp 4 to Summit. Start with 1 minute of moderate climbing. Then do a 5 minutes out-of-the-saddle, heavy-resistance effort at 60-65 RPM and 80-85% MHR; really crank up the resistance and effort here to simulate climbing over Everest’s Hillary Step. Then take a 1-minute break at light-resistance, recover as much as you can, and start the last 3 minutes of the ride. Dig deep—this is it! Do a seated hard effort with very heavy resistance at 60 RPM and 85% MHR for 2 minutes, 30 seconds, and then with 30 seconds to go, do an out-of-the-saddle, all out sprint to the top!
Don’t try this if:
- You don’t have a good base of several hour-long cycling classes a week. This kind of ride is something people train for!
- You have lower back issues.