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Triathletes making a difference – Karsten Madsen tackles Everest

Celebrating triathletes who used their time in 2020 to help their communities

Photo by: Matthew Tongue

On September 5th, Karsten Madsen made his second Everesting attempt in five months, this time on a mountain bike, tackling some of the most difficult trails near his home in Whistler, B.C.

In order to “summit” an elevation of 8,848 m, Madsen needed to complete 208.1 km over 7.2 demanding loops. The goal? To raise money for WORCA, Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA), who experienced a massive budget cut this year thanks, in large part, to the carnage of COVID-19.

More specifically, Madsen was looking to raise a dollar for every metre of Everest.

Madsen relocated to Whistler in 2018 in order to train on the technical and varied terrain the town is well-known for.

“I was blown away to see the hard work that was being put into the trails I was riding,” he says. “It became clear to me that Whistler is the standard for trail building and that WORCA is the association responsible for, among many other things, supporting local building. If we want to continue to have the best riding, we need to support our local trail associations – now more than ever.”

Related: Karsten Madsen’s epic “Everest” challenge

Photo: Marc Rankin

Fifteen hours after he’d begun, having covered 160 km with 7,000 m of elevation gain, Madsen was forced to end his day.

“I could no longer descend safely,” he says. “It wasn’t in the spirit of the event to use medical or emergency services.”

Despite the disappointment, he managed to raise close to $14,000, easily surpassing his goal.

“As a fundraiser, it was an absolute success,” Madsen says. “That part was the real win.”

Moving forward, Madsen has no plans to tackle such a feat again in the near future. “I’ll be working towards the world championship again when the resume button hits next year,” he says.

This story originally appeared in our January, 2021 issue. Kerry Hale is a regular contributor to Triathlon Magazine Canada.