Giulio’s Everest Challenge

Over 11 hours on the bike and 10 thousand meters of climbing went into Giulio Ciccone's challenge. And he never left his balcony!

Let’s call it a challenge, maybe even madness, but what Giulio Ciccone achieved deserves to be told.

For 11 hours and 19 minutes, the Italian Trek-Segafredo rider took to his Saris home trainer and, on the balcony of his house, pedaled his Trek Emonda until he reached his goal of climbing 10,000 meters in elevation on the virtual platform Zwift – more than Everest!

At the end of the ride, which started at 8 am Sunday and ended at 7:20 pm, Ciccone accumulated 254 kilometers and a total elevation of 10,397 meters, pedaling up and down the virtual ascent of the Alpe di Zwift.

It was a tough, almost extreme challenge, but in a situation like the one we are experiencing now, it was also nice to do.

“I wanted to do something stimulating and, at the same time, entertain all the people who are forced to stay at home,” said Ciccone. “Getting a great performance was not the goal. The goal was to achieve the 10,000 meters of elevation gain by cycling and spending a day together online with friends and guests. That’s why I wanted, together with the team, to organize a live virtual ride* and, at the same time, a live Instagram.”

“To be honest, several times in my head I said to myself ‘who made me do this?’ because the effort was so much! But thanks to all those who kept me company, these phases passed quickly. Now I’ll recover a few days and then hopefully get back to training.

“A dedication? As I said during the live broadcast, I dedicate this to Italy, to all those who have suffered and lost someone, and to our rebirth,” added Giulio.

A challenge like this has to be done with a measured plan. The body will reach the limit, not the usual limit of intensity as happens during races, but the limit of endurance, physical and mental."

“A challenge like this has to be done with a measured plan,” explained Josu Larrazabal, performance manager of Trek-Segafredo, who helped Giulio set a detailed ride plan. “The body will reach the limit, not the usual limit of intensity as happens during races, but the limit of endurance, physical and mental.

“The intensity is never high, but you can have a sugar flat any time. You are your only rival, but that does not mean it’s easier than fighting against others; the lactate will never create pain in the legs, but it will be the hours on a stationary trainer which will be painful for the lower back, saddle sores, knees, feet, and so on.”

Thanks to Josu’s analysis, we have the opportunity to view all the data and details behind Giulio’s Everest challenge.

Giulio’s Planned Ride 

  • Climbing pace                         230 w
  • Time per climb                        56 min
  • Downhill pace                         130 w
  • Time per downhill                  11 min
  • Final time expected                11 hr 9 min (to 10k meters)


Giulio’s Actual Ride

  • Riding time*                          11:19:47   *warm-up included
  • Distance                                 254.9 km
  • Average power                     209 w
  • Norm power                          219 w
  • Peak power                            366 w
  • Average cadence                 78 rpm
  • Average speed                     22.5 km/h
  • Climbing meters                  10,359
  • Work                                       8,514 kj
  • Climb                                     12.5km@8.2%   *1028 m elevation repeated 10x
  • Total climbing                       9:17:44    *82% of total time
  • Total descending                 1:42:21   *15.1 % of total time

The longest race in pro cycling is the Milano Sanremo, with almost 300km with the winner’s time just under the 7 hours. We are talking about a quite flat race ridden at speeds over 40km/h (fastest edition 44,8km/h). But Giulio’s ride yesterday was something different, it was about repeating the same climb up and down until he accumulated 10,000 ascent meters, a goal set-up a few days ago – a crazy inspiration!

It was no doubt an extreme mountain stage, something Giulio enjoys the most. The longest mountain stage remembered in the last years was Stage 15 of the 2011 Giro from Conegliano to Gardeccia, where Mikel Nieve won in a time of 7 hours and 27 minutes at an average of 30.7km/h. That epic climbing stage had around 6000 ascent meters – Giulio almost doubled that.


Climbing Analysis

  • Total time                         9:17:44     *82 % of the total time
  • Average per climb          00:55:46
  • Average speed                 13.4 km/h
  • Average power                 229 w
  • Average cadence              76 rpm
  • Fastest                                 54:03  10th climb
  • Slowest                                57:42   9th climb

“Giulio was very precise with the pacing. The second-to-last climb was surprisingly slow, it was the moment he was busy attending some social media requests, which could have affected his focus on the pace for that climb, but on the other side, the support from the fans and friends was the key to keeping the effort until the very end. Actually, the last climb was the fastest, showing that he kept the energy and the motivation high until the end,” explained Larrazabal.

 “The first four hours were not the best, Giulio was not feeling super, but he was still on his planned time schedule. After that, he started to feel better, and he began to gain time to the schedule.”


Planned Time Schedule

  • Total time:     11h09
  • 5-hour:           11h05
  • 6-hour:           10h54
  • 8-hour:           10h57
  • 9-hour:           10h48


Giulio reached 10,000 meters in a time of 10 hours and 47 minutes, 22 minutes ahead of schedule. He was still feeling good and continued riding to complete the climb and the downhill to finish the massive effort by spinning his legs a little bit.

Ciccone was free to choose his cadence, and it was not something he paid attention to during the challenge. As a result, his cadence had a natural drop as a consequence of the neuromuscular fatigue – a measured decline of 1 rpm per climb. Even if the energy sources were not depleted and the intensity not high, the legs’ muscular pain makes you find a comfortable cadence to perform with a better feeling.


Downhill analysis

  • Total time                              01:42:21        *15.1% of the total time
  • Average time                         00:10:14
  • Average speed                       71.2 km/h
  • Average power                      115 w
  • Average cadence                   75 rpm
  • Fastest                                    9:40   *8th descent
  • Slowest                                   10:49   *6th descent


During the downhills, Giulio pushed fewer watts than expected because of the large group following him (obviously, more people could hold his pace on the downhills) and this drafting effect aided him a little.


Same as pacing, there was a nutrition plan for Giulio created by Trek-Segafredo nutritionist Stephanie Scheirlynck.

“The ride was so demanding that even with the amount of planned kcal ingested, it was not possible to maintain weight. Of course, Giulio could never compensate the total amount of calories lost, so that is why he loaded up before and made sure to have a good recovery after the ride,” explained Scheirlynck.

“Giulio was able to stabilize his weight loss very well for a long time due to fluid intake, and only near the end, he went to 3% of total body weight loss. With a 2% of body weight loss the thermoregulatory capacity begins to be impaired, and from 3% of weight loss the performance can be reduced. Giulio managed very well the day,” added Stephanie.


Initial plan:

  • 2 bottles of 500 ml per hour mixing water, electrolytes, and carbohydrates.
  • Paninis, fruit, bars, and gels.
  • Combo of drinks and food providing 90 g/h of carbohydrates.

Giulio consumed:

  • 13 liters in total
  • 26 bottles of 500ml total, averaging 2-3 bottles per hour
  • 5 liters water
  • 3 liters Enervit maltodextrin and electrolytes
  • 5 liters Enervit isotonic
  • 8 small panini jam/Nutella
  • 1 large ham panini 
  • 6 Enervit bars
  • 9 Enervit isotonic gels
  • 2 bananas 

Total calories: 5,150 kcal

Total carbohydrates: 1,115 g = 98 g per hour

Equipment Giulio used during the challenge:


*1,100 average viewers during the entire 11 hours.

*The temperature of the body increases when riding stationary as it eliminates the ventilation, which helps with sweat evaporation and convection. As a result, the skin can’t benefit from the wind to cool down the body, and the thermal regulation of the body begins to fail much earlier than it does outdoors. A very wet jersey does not help with sweat evaporation, so it was needed for Giulio to change his jersey regularly.

**After around seven hours, it was even necessary for Giulio to change his Bontrager shoes because the sweat drops soaked his feet. 


Thank you to all who participated. 1,100 average viewers watched Giulio during the entire 11 hours.