Zwift cyclist climbs equivalent of 138 Everests in a year

Keith Roy has broken an unofficial climbing record, totting up over 4 million feet this year

Keith Roy holding a tub of peanut butter with his Strava ride file embedded on the photo
(Image credit: Keith Roy)

An endurance cyclist from New York has climbed over 4 million feet (1.2million meters) on his bike in the past calendar year, the equivalent height of 138 Mount Everests. 

Keith Roy does the majority of his riding on the indoor training app Zwift, pedalling for up to 10 hours a day as he works from home. 

This year, he has chalked up over 50,000 miles (80,000km) in the saddle. 

“I sort of just did it by accident,” the 37-year-old told Cycling Weekly, pausing his morning Zwift workout to answer the phone. “I just ride whenever I have the opportunity to ride and just keep pushing myself further than I had before.

“At the beginning of this year, just for the heck of it, instead of riding for mileage, I started riding some hills on Zwift during the off-season. My friend was like, 'You're ahead of the world record pace for climbing right now, if you keep this up all year long you could do that.' 

"I was like, 'Are you serious?' Then he gave me the numbers and broke it down for me, and I just kept climbing." 

Roy, who works for a medical software firm, says he doesn’t train to race, but rather for enjoyment.

“I don’t do it for a purpose,” he said. “Once in a while, you hit that wall and you don’t want to keep going, but I just push through it. Probably the toughest thing is when you get a saddle sore, and it’s a miserable time sitting on the saddle. Other than that, I just keep moving.” 

Earlier this year, Roy became the first Zwift user to accumulate one year’s worth of ride time. He has now spent over 400 days of his life on the platform. 

“I just ride until I’m uncomfortable and then stop,” he explained. “I actually ride inside in basketball shorts because I find it more comfortable. I was having more skin irritation and more problems in cycling shorts than I do in a traditional pair of shorts.” 

A former bodybuilder, Roy turned to cycling in 2015 as a way to integrate more cardio into his exercise. “From there, I just never stopped,” he said.

Now, he eats around a tub of peanut butter a day to fuel the long hours he spends on his bike. 

The New Yorker's focus now is on his streaks. He is currently on a 450-day streak of 100-mile rides and hopes to reach 500 days for the second time. "And maybe beat my own record," he said, "which was 666 days. But I don’t know. We’ll see how that goes.” 

He has also set himself the challenge of doing a virtual Everesting - climbing 29,031ft (8,848m) in a single activity - by the end of the year.

“You’ve put me on the spot now,” he laughed when Cycling Weekly pointed out he had accumulated the equivalent height of 138 Everests. “The embarrassing part about this statistic is that I haven't actually Everested this year. Now I have to finish one by the end of the year. 

"I’ve got to do at least one this year, right?” 

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