FOLLOW AUSTRIAN TWINS HORST AND GERNOT TURNOWSKY AS THEY ATTEMPT TO BIKE AND CLIMB EACH OF THE WORLD'S SEVEN HIGHEST PEAKS NONSTOP ON SEVEN CONTINENTS:



Mt.Kilimanjaro, Africa 19,341' (5,895 m)
(completed - see YouTube below)

Mt.Elbrus, Europe 18,510' (5,642 m)
(completed - see photos below)

Mt.Aconcagua, South America 22,841' (6,962 m)
(Goal) January, 2014

Mt.McKinley, North America 20,328' (6,196 m)

Mt.Vinson, Antarctica 16,050' (4,892 m)

Mt.Everest, Asia 29,029' (8,848 m)

Carstenz Pyramid, Australia/Oceana 16,024' (4,884 m)


Friday, September 25, 2009

Riding Shotgun: While You Were Sleeping



Horst and Gernot begin their 24 hour bike/climb from the lowest point in the continental US (Badwater, CA) to the highest (Mt. Whitney, CA). We stayed at the Dow Villa Motel in Lone Pine, a historic hotel which has housed many stars during the heyday of Hollywood westerns. John Wayne has reputed slept here many times and there are many pictures of him and other stars of that era all over the hotel. We left the hotel in a caravan at 7:00 pm on Thursday, September 25th in two SUVs, packed with Horst and Gernot and their precious bikes, and eight support personnel (including myself - Maggi). It was a 2-1/2 hour drive from Lone Pine to Badwater. By the time we got there it was pitch dark. Horse and Gernot got their bikes out and began assembly and preparations for their journey. Jurg recorded the entire proceedings with a fur-covered boom microphone and his video camera, while Richard took digital photos.

Before we knew it we were off, Horst and Gernot leading the way in the darkness, followed closely by our vehicle, driven by Wolfgang who followed within a few feet in order to provide light to guide the twins along the dark and curvy road. The second vehicle, driven by Jay, darted around us as Jurg scouted positions with which to chronicle the ride on his video. Occasionally, he would hang out the window and nearly scrape the ground. One time we were shocked to see the light of his camera on top of a nearby cliff where he was attempting to get yet another perspective of the long ride. I was amazed that Horst and Gernot pedaled steadily for almost 10 hours straight, whether the road was on an incline or decline. They pedaled through the night stopping only to relieve themselves or for the occasional snack. Daniella and I, in the support vehicle watched their every movement waiting for a signal that they needed something to eat or drink. We'd pull up alongside and hand it out to them, without them missing a beat in their rhythm. The video above illustrates their perfect tandem form which basically continued for the entire ride portion of the venture. I think we were more tired in the support vehicles than they were doing the actual work. I was in awe of their physical prowess.

The altitude changed from 282 feet below sea level to over 4,000 feet above sea level by the way we got back to the motel for their breakfast break. Sometimes the road would dip down 1000 feet and then back up again. They dropped me off at the motel so I could sleep, after having been on the road in the support car for 12 hours. But Horst and Gernot continued on, back on their bikes for another 1-1/2 steep hours to the Mt. Whitney portal, before beginning the hike portion of the trip to the summit. There they shed their bikes, changed into their hiking gear and forged on for another 6 hours of climbing, reaching the summit 19 hours after starting in Badwater. They spent some time on the summit and began their descent just as dusk began to settle upon them. They arrived at the Whitney Portal in darkness to be greated by the rest of their support team. Congratulations were and are in order! Congratulations Horst and Gernot for fulfilling this goal. Well done!

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