On the 22nd of February Pro mountain biker Rebecca Rusch and full-time adventurer and Alpina Watches Ambassador, Patrick Sweeney will ride to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, beginning Sunday to raise funds and awareness for the World Bicycle Relief.
The feat will mark only the third time that the Tanzania Park Authority has allowed bicycles onto the mountain.
Rusch and Sweeney will be riding, carrying and pushing their bikes to the summit at 19,341 feet, then braving the dangerous journey back down. “This trip will be combing both my expedition skills and cycling skills,” Rusch said. “This will be the highest elevation I’ve ever been to. I’ve also never carried and pushed my bike up a mountain that big or ridden down one like this before.”
Sweeney – the full-time adventurer – was the first person to officially mountain bike to Everest Base Camp, and just a few months later a 7.8-magnitude earthquake decimated Nepal. He then launched a nonprofit campaign to raise 1,000 tents in 100 days for victims of the Nepal earthquake.
Kilimanjaro is part of Sweeney’s attempt at riding a mountain bike as high up each of the tallest mountains on the seven continents as possible then climbing them. He is also a competitive acrobatic pilot, master diver and expert climber.
“This grand adventure is part of my ‘Cycling the Seven Summits’ challenge that only a handful of people have ever even attempted,” Sweeney said. “And World Bicycle Relief is a big charity changing the future of so many people in Africa – I can’t think of a better combination. I just hope Rebecca doesn’t hurt me too badly on the way up.”
Rusch, who is known as the “Queen of Pain” in mountain biking, has amassed national victories across multiple off-road formats and set records at ultra endurance races like the Leadville Trail 100, Dirty Kanza 200 and 24 Hour MTB World Championships and the 142-mile Kokopelli Trail, coming in more than an hour and a half faster than the previous champion. She also holds a cache of national and world titles in whitewater rafting, adventure racing, orienteering and cross-country skiing.
Once the ride is complete, the two will head to Kisumu, a town in Kenya with a World Bicycle Relief office to see bikes being built and those benefitting from bikes as transportation.
Both Rusch and Sweeney will wear an Alpina Horological Smartwatch during the challenge to monitor their activity data.