MAIN THREAT: Tom Smith netted 17 goals for Bath City last term
By Mark Stillman
Tom Smith has scaled the top of Bath City’s goalscoring charts this season – now he’s reached the summit of Mount Everest by bike!
The combination of a smart indoor trainer and GoZwift app meant the 22-year-old could take part in an vEVERESTING Challenge from the kitchen of his Swindon home.
Smith has earned a place in the vEVERESTING’s Hall of Fame for his efforts, where it took him 13 hours 36 minutes to climb 8,894 metres, burning nearly 7,000 calories following a 6.45am start.
“You have to climb Alpe Du Zwift eight and a half times,” the 17-goal striker told The NLP. “I’d never cycled more than three hours before so I was heading into the unknown!
“The resistance was set at 100 per cent. I definitely felt that going up the hills and was starting to doubt myself after the fourth or fifth climb to be honest.
“Five or six people throughout the day joined me online on the climb for a bit of company which really helped. Towards the end I wasn’t focusing on speed, it was all about getting it done.”
The National League South star had raised more than £1,000 for mental health charity Mind UK by Thursday, and opened up about his own personal difficulties.
“I’ve been in situations before where mentally I’ve struggled. I’ve been in some dark places.” he explained.
“Luckily I’ve had great friends and family around to support me and I know that people don’t always have that luxury.
“Mind UK is so important, especially now where people are isolated. Mind almost act as a family or friend to you. Speaking to someone can be the first step to helping you, it helped me in situations where I was mentally struggling.
“I believe that no-one should deal with things on their own, I wanted to pick a charity that meant something to me. They can help people get through tough times.”
Professional cyclists Chris Opie and Cameron Jeffers, plus ex-professional and Global Cycling Network (GCN) presenter James Lowsley-Williams shared Smith’s story to raise awareness.
He also received support from his Bath City teammates, with two of them accompanying him for the closing stages of the 132-mile ride.
“The lads were supportive, many of them donated,” Smith confirmed. “On the eighth climb Ryan Brunt and Adam Mann joined in which was really good. I think they found it quite tough! No matter what you do, whether it’s playing football, cycling or other challenges, if you put your mind to it you can achieve many things.
“It’s great that everyone can come together in a situation like this, especially for a great charity.
“I’m really thankful to those who have donated so far.”
You can donate to Tom’s cause via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tombeausmith-veveresting