The title of the blog is the question I was asked by a lady whom I’d cycled past on Wednesday evening, on a routine 60 mile ride from my local village on country lanes for a few hours. Kindly offering to sponsor my charities (£2,500 raised so far, thanks so much!). It’s weird but pleasant how people are starting to get to know about the climb. I’ve never climbed or supported charities just to be recognised, but it helps get my message out there to young people; that they can achieve anything they put their mind to.
So it’s getting to the stage now where I’m almost too busy for blogging hence the delays. Everything else has to come first and so things like this do tend to perch on the backburner, as much as I try to keep you updated. Training has to be my priority, and if I miss a session or can’t cram it into my schedule I’m in a bad mood that’s best avoided for the remainder of the day.
Today I realised it’s exactly 2 weeks until I fly to Nepal to begin this journey with my expedition leader Tim and 3 other team-mates. Sometimes I find myself breaking out into a smile. Is this really happening? Maybe I’m too focused on ‘what’s going to go wrong next?’ or ‘what have I got to do by when?’ rather than basking in my glory. There is simply no time to relax or slip on the banana skin before I board the plane. Raising the funds for the trip has been an Everest climb in it’s own right and I’m so grateful for the chance to live my dream. Mum has departed on holiday to Cape Verde for a fortnight, as ‘training’ of her own to prepare for an anxious 2 months…
Training is going fantastic as I start to wind down and be extra careful in the final weeks. Hill sprints on the bike have been brutal. I find myself nauseous and gasping on the final sets. I don’t focus on shorter sessions- when I will be slogging for hours on Everest- but are important in addition to my longer rides. When I started this, 40 miles cycling seemed like hell… now it feels easy. I’m keeping up the same pace I used to do at 40 miles for nearly 90 now, with a lower heart rate. Work that one out. MyProtein supplements have been packing muscle on me but it hasn’t come easily.
Had many good days out peak bagging in the mountains and Scotland- enough to fill a few blogs, so I’ll save some for next time, although here’s a quick ‘selfie’ from Helvellyn via Striding Edge with my buddy Keiran from a new outdoor clothing social enterprise Summit Clothing. Check em out. We had a great day in pea soup visibility, and I went out with Francis on Brown Cove crags nearby the next day with Alpine-like slopes and brilliant ice climbing. Last week I was in the Cairngorms, near Aviemore. Wild camping alone for a few nights. Walking through Glenmore Forest alone about 11pm, pitch black, to camp near a bothy, was a real hair-raiser but although not a snowy peak it forces you out of your comfort zone. We headed out on Coire an-Sneachda and I bagged a few peaks alone one day. Standard hill days are getting a bit easy for me, so going to squeeze a couple more in before I leave.
I keep getting tweets asking me am I excited? Am I nervous? Will I be tweeting from the top? I’m just grateful and still feel like I’m in a dream. Focusing on the task ahead and trying not to worry myself too much. I’m surprisingly relaxed and laidback, and on top of things, and I’m desperately trying not to leave things to last minute (although I probably will). I want to go rested, healthy and recovered so will be stopping training a few days before. I feel fit and strong, watching my diet as carefully as I can which isn’t easy when burning 3000 kcals plus on some sessions. I am excited. And I’m nervous about something going wrong. But there’s so much out of my control. And whilst I won’t be tweeting from the summit, I’ll be making an emotional phone call home and taking perhaps the world’s highest ‘selfie’. My buddies Ste and Chris will kindly be updating my blog and social media channels and I will be relaying updates (plus occasional blogs and photos this time!). Not sure how it’ll work yet- but you will definitely be kept in the loop and can enjoy the suspense and celebrate the struggles and successes with me. Maybe it’s just time to enjoy the final weeks and reap what’s been sewn. Maybe I’m sad certain parts of the journey are coming to an end. I don’t miss sending sponsorship emails all day, I’ll be honest. I’m in a very pleasant position, now my trip is fully paid for. I never thought I’d get to say that…
Today has been a crazy week and I can’t cram it all in. Busy busy busy. A 100 mile plus bike ride tomorrow, my furthest yet. It’s looking like I’m going to miss out on many of the mega sessions I had planned and wanted to do before I go, but I can’t overdo it and injure myself. Time has just crept up on me. But it’s usually the case, perhaps I’ve been over ambitious- but I’ve done the best I can, which is what matters.
If you missed it, my interview on ITV Granada Reports is now online. So strange to see myself and the Ronald McDonald suit up on the screen… but the feedback and support has been amazing as ever. http://www.itv.com/news/granada/update/2014-03-13/cheshire-teenager-plans-to-climb-mount-everest/
Oh and I met my hero Bear Grylls on Tuesday but if I start talking about that now I’ll never stop…
Updates coming soon and you’ll soon be receiving blog posts and tweets as I make my way to the roof of the world!