Jeff’s Everest charity cycling challenge halted by torrential rain and freezing conditions

A brave attempt to cycle the height of Mount Everest in one day, non-stop, has fallen at the final hurdle due to torrential rain and freezing conditions.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 10:20 am
Jeff Thorley, Josh Watson, and supporters during the Everest attempt.

Jeff Thorley who hails from Kilham, was hoping to complete the 29,032ft challenge.

Mr Thorley, 67, and his friend Josh Watson, 29, gallantly battled the weather on Givendale Hill, near Millington.

Showing true grit, cycling for 18 hours and eight minutes, the height climbed totalled 24,990 feet (distance 150 miles) before the attempt was called off.

Jeff Thorley, Josh Watson, and supporters during the Everest attempt.

Due to the horrendous conditions they decided it was too dangerous to continue with only eight repetitions to finish the challenge and 4,000ft of climbing left to complete.

Mr Thorley said after the challenge that this was unfinished business and intended to try again in the future.

He is now recovering before cycling a 16-hour route to Spalding and back in just over four weeks’ time as he continues his charity campaign.

Mr Thorley is aiming to cover 5,000 miles this year in memory of his 20-year-old niece Zara, who took her own life last year.

He has set up a Virgin Money Giving page so people can donate to Hull and East Yorkshire Mind, and Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, and South Lincolnshire Mind.

His initial fundraising target was £2,000. However, he has already beaten that total, accruing £3,123.93 (total plus Gift Aid: £3,742.06).

Five weeks after the Spalding challenge, on Saturday, July 31, Mr Thorley will be cycling non-stop for 20 hours, an hour for each year of Zara’s life (300 miles and an 8,400ft climb around a 15-mile circuit from his home).

Mr Thorley said: “The temperature forecast for the evening was four degrees Celsius with a light south wind.

“In reality the temperature dropped to minus two degrees for most of the night.

“My legs got so cold, even with three layers of clothing on them, that they started to cramp up which caused me great pain and discomfort.

“Because of this I had to pedal using only one leg and try and relax the other whilst cycling. When it got too bad I had to stop periodically.

“With having so many clothes on we sweated on the uphill, but still froze on downhill – my whole body shook with the cold.

“The weather improved as the sun came up, but we still had a cold south westerly wind which made every descent cold to our energy depleted bodies.

“We had many cycling supporters including the co-ordinator from MIND East Yorkshire during the day which was a real pleasure, and we started to gather momentum.

“After midday the wind started to increase making us colder, but because we were wearing enough clothes to stay warm on the downhills we overheated on the uphill sections, making life uncomfortable.

“As dusk arrived the wind had increased to near gale force. The rain was torrential making the road like a river of water with debris being washed onto it.

“This made descending very tricky, and as darkness fell, the wind was so strong it was blowing us across the road at times on the descents.

“This coupled with our bodies not able to cope with the persistent cold, it was difficult to pull our brake levers.

“At 10pm we decided it was to dangerous to continue with only eight repetitions to complete the challenge and 4,000 feet of climbing left to do.

“I would like to thank my sponsors Ken Ellecker Cycles, Rutland Cycles, Viva Le Velo Cycles, Morrisons, Tesco, and Boyes Garage in Kilham for their support.”

Go to Mr Thorley’s Virgin Money Giving page at tinyurl.com/mudw5tdd to donate to the Mind campaign.