Everesting Smyer




It may have taken over 25 miles longer than we had planned, but Luke Caldwell and I successfully completed an everesting of what may arguably be the most scenic and iconic climb in the Birmingham area – Smyer Road. Here’s a quick look at the numbers:

Distance:250.0 mi
Total elevation gain:30,102 ft
Total elapsed time:19:20:35
Total moving time:17:32:48
Total stopped time:1:47:47
Number of laps:87
Elevation gain per lap:346 ft
Distance per lap:2.87 mi
Average time per lap:12′ 6″
Fastest lap:11′ 05″
Slowest lap:14′ 40″
Friends who rode laps with us:TOO MANY TO COUNT!
Statistics from our everesting of Smyer Road on 9/4/2020

Thanks so much to everyone who came out and rode with us. We started out at midnight by ourselves and rode for 5 hours without seeing a single soul. Then starting from about 5am, we started seeing cyclists, walkers, joggers, and a few cars. It wasn’t until much later in the morning that the number of cars we saw started to catch up with the number of people, but I’m not sure if it ever did fully catch up. In other words, we saw either the same or more people on bikes or walking than cars driving during our entire everesting! Our Strava “fly-by” list has 170 people on it. Not all of those people rode with us, but I’d guesstimate we saw 150 people and rode with maybe 75 or more?

Thank you again to each and EVERY person who came out to see us and support us and bring us food and drinks. So awesome!!!! I cannot possibly thank or remember every single person who came out, but I did want to thank some people specifically with big shout outs – Greg Caldwell (Luke’s dad) rode with us for exactly half of the laps completing his first half-everesting – 14,600 feet! And he also supported us with food and sausage, egg, and cheese mcgriddle hand-ups.

Stuart Roberts came out super early and was the first person to join us for quite a few laps. Then he came back later and brought us some much needed Starbucks drinks. Also, joining us early were my TNGA / Skyway brothers (and sister) Josh Waldrop, Jason Bierley, and Audrey Tangey riding with us for a few early morning laps with Jason coming back later for a couple more laps. Then we had group after group rolling through on their way to different morning group rides … it was soooo awesome. But I don’t know about Luke, but I was really struggling by late afternoon as it was getting hotter and there weren’t many cyclists out at all. There weren’t any specific pains for me, but my legs were just tired. I think the weight of the Salsa Cutthroat and the rolling resistance of 2.2″ tires was really starting to catch up to me.

So big shout out to the last two people who joined us and turned what would have been two hours of miserable slogging into a much quicker two hours of chatting and joking and having fun again. First, Rick Swagler surprised us catching up to us from behind after we passed his driveway. He and his family had been out on their porch almost all morning ringing cowbells and cheering at us from 75 feet above the road (it’s a VERY steep hill – thankfully our road snaked up it instead of going straight up it). We joked with him that we were thinking he was waiting until he saw us walking our bikes by his house (instead of riding) to join us. And he did in fact join us at just the right time when we were going quite a bit slower compared to the earlier laps when we were flying by. We were fading quickly so that was a great boost.

And then maybe three or four laps later, William Seitz came flying down the descent and immediately turned around to join us for many laps. It was great talking about racing and bikes and remembering back to specific races that we’ve all done. Plus, William can fly down descents like no other so we stepped it up a notch on the descents. And going fast always makes everything better. William had to head out on our next-to-last lap though as the sun had set a lap earlier. So Luke and I started out together in the dark and we finished in the dark after sunset … it was a full sunrise-sunset ride…it was epic!!!

A big kudos to Luke completing his first everesting having come so close once before!

Smyer Road in context of my life … I was born in Montclair Hospital a long time ago, live at the other end of the map in Hoover, work in the middle at Samford University, with my son also born in the middle at Brookwood Baptist, and Smyer Road climbing up to the long ridge line overlooking it all … now everested completely for the first time. To put the everesting in perspective, the tracking markers on this website are only recorded once every 10 minutes. That means that in order to get that many tracking markers to completely line the entire road we everested, we had to spend a LOT of time on that road!!! It was worth it. It was epic. View and zoom in on an interactive map here: https://pickuta.com/album/191


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