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“I took the risk”: 17-year-old Jacob Rubuliak on how he broke the Canadian Everesting record

The teen rode up (and down) Knox Mountain 38.5 times

Jacob Rubuliak Canadian Everesting Record

Jacob Rubuliak has made the most of this year’s unexpected off-season. Earlier this summer, the 17-yea-old Kelowna B.C. cyclist rode 500kms from Kelowna to Victoria, B.C. (an especially impressive feat considering he had to get to Victoria early enough to catch the last ferry, which left at 9 p.m.)

After that ride, Rubuliak, who is the 2019 Jr. Men’s Time Trial and Cyclocross champion decided to take on another challenge. The Canadian Everesting record.

Everesting has taken the cycling world by storm. To complete the challenge, rider climb 8,848m in one ride (the height of Mount Everest). Many Canadian cyclists have been riding this shocking amount of elevation this summer and pushing themselves to the limit to complete the challenge. Less than a month ago, on June 14, Ontario cyclist Jeremy Rae broke the previous Canadian Everesting record, finishing with a time of 10 hours 27 minutes.

RELATED: How community support, McDonald’s salt packages and the motivation of a good cause helped Jeremy Rae break the Canadian Everesting record

On July 5, Rubuliak got on his bike, eyeing down the record he knew he had a chance of taking. He rode up (and down) Knox Mountain 38.5 times—adding a little extra elevation at the end of his ride to be safe.

Jacob Rubuliak Canadian Everesting Record
Jacob Rubuliak: Deon Nel Photography.

Rubuliak succeeded and ended up breaking the previous Canadian record and finished with a time of 9 hours and 33 minutes.

The young cyclist was proud of his accomplishment, and is already planning his next big ride. Here’s what he had to say about his new national record:

Just completing the Everesting challenge is hard. What made you go for the Canadian record?
I figured the Canadian record was an attainable goal, I had done long hard rides a few times in the past. I felt I should give it a shot and if I didn’t get the record it wouldn’t be a huge deal.

There’s no shortage of big climbs in Kelowna. What made you choose Knox for your Everesting?
I felt it would be pretty cool to do the Everest in town at Knox. There are plenty of climbs around town, however most people will recognize Knox and can relate. It was super nice to have it easily accessible and super nice to have lots of people out cheering me on!

Did you have a general plan for the day? (pacing, nutrition, etc.) Or just start and see how it goes?
I had planned for 17:00 [minute] full laps, I started out much faster, I really had good legs on the day. I did about 15:00 [minute] laps for the first 20. Then slipped a bit into 16-16:20 [minute] laps. Still much faster than planned. For nutrition I was getting feed handups every lap (1/3 clif bar each lap plus liquid) I stuck with water/electrolytes for the first half, then started to introduce coke for the next couple hours. The Redbull didn’t come out till the last 2-3hrs.

Jacob Rubuliak Canadian Everesting Record
Jacob Rubuliak: Deon Nel Photography.

Kelowna’s in full summer right now. What was the temperature like for your attempt, and how did you deal with that?
I started at 7 a.m., the weather was pretty bearable for the first half, once things started to heat up the suffering got pretty bad. I was getting water dumped on my head the last eight-ish laps, that really helped with cooling. It was about 32 degrees by the end.

What was the hardest part of the ride?
The hardest part about the ride was pacing, not only did I have to focus on perfect nutrition, but if I went out too fast from the start I would blow my lights out at the end. I lapped my computer each lap, and had 4 splits I had to hit along each climb. I held a pace I felt I might be able to hold, but might also explode early. I took the risk.

What was the best part of the day?
The best part of the day was seeing all my riding friends showing up to cheer me on. It was really nice to have riders do a few laps with me. It was also super nice to get off the bike after 10 hours of riding.

Jacob Rubuliak Canadian Everesting Record
Jacob Rubuliak: Deon Nel Photography.

It’s been a weird year with no racing. How have you been keeping busy, and balancing training with the lack of racing?
The pandemic has brought a lot of disappointing news to racers, but it has also brought the opportunity to do stuff like this. Normally racers wouldn’t be doing big rides like this during the race season, it just takes so much out of us. I have been using this time to do stuff I normally wouldn’t, I did a 500km ride from Kelowna to Victoria with my friend Riley Pickrell about 2 weeks ago. 16.5 hours of riding with plenty of stories that will last a lifetime. Really happy to change it up lately. I’ve been riding my MTB lots lately, really enjoying the different riding. I’ve been riding lots all around and working 6 days a week.

What did your year look like before racing was cancelled?
This year was going to be a big year for me, As a last year junior, I had planned for 2 months of racing in Europe, something that would earn me race experience and results, hopefully preparing me for a professional development team. I had also planned on racing Junior Worlds this year, with a goal of top eight in the TT. Cycling Canada has now announced they will not be sending any Juniors to worlds, which was a big disappointment for me. Not much planned at the moment, just keeping prepared for when the moment comes to race!

With Everesting in the books, what’s up next for you?
Really happy to get the Everest over with, I’ve got a few 250km+ rides planned around Kelowna, Other than that nothing much else is planned. Maybe a Hour record attempt sometime?