So it’s been a while since the first challenge of EPIC7, my journey back to Everest, when I successfully undertook the Fred Whitton Cycling Sportive. The toughest single UK cycling Sportive. Time has flown by and the Summer nights are already getting shorter- this Sunday/Monday morning I will be departing the newly refurbished Pen-y-Pass Youth Hostel at 3am to take on the Welsh 3000’s Solo. Challenge number 2.
This week’s shoutout to a lucky Twitter follower goes to @cch_creative!
Since then, it’s been frenetic as ever. Always saying ‘Yes’ to opportunities. I recently asked a friend for some advice on the Welsh 3000’s, to be told ”Next time I’d bring more painkillers and knee joint support!” and ”It’s tougher than Everest summit day”. I just announced, ”Why do I do this to myself?”… and all he answered was ”To live a fulfilled and rewarding life”. I smiled. As the Summer holidays emerge I hear young people complaining of being bored. Something I’ve never understood. In a very large world, with so much to explore, and so much difference to be made to our damaged environment, and so much to learn about ourselves- how can anybody be bored?
I’ve been planning not only the EPIC7, but the Everest expedition, finding sponsorship (which in itself is a full-time job), training 20-30 hours a week and working on two part-time jobs. I must have the genetic composition of a Barn Owl to be able to perform on such little respite, often finding my head slumped on the laptop keyboard in the early hours of the morning and having to delete a plethora of ‘JDSDJDJSDJSIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRRRPAAAAAAAAAAAA’ from my emails. But it’s nothing new. In the first two months of the EPIC7, it’s been worked on meticulously by me and my mentors and I’ve been very lucky to be sponsored by the Westgrove Group, who are the first sponsors of the project but particularly the journey to Everest. Taking the pressure of funding the EPIC7 off me has been a godsend to focus on everything else. A considerable sum still remains for Everest 2015 but I’m currently looking to rebuild my partnerships with my Everest 2014 sponsors and get them to the top of the world too.
You can imagine my horror at having to bake over 150 Scones and Meringues last week. You heard correctly. A while back I decided I’d try a few smaller fundraising events towards Everest. With a stall at the Countryside fair in Blakemere, I decided Scones would be a winner with the old dears. Despite selling out it ended up being a bit disappointing considering the support I’d had (thanks Chris, Jenny/Steve) and a baking effort Mary Berry would have been proud of, but managed to boost my profile a bit.
Planning for the rest of the epic events is finally getting somewhere. I know inevitably they’re going to end up last minute and going wrong, but overcoming the obstacles is the whole point. Adventurous folk are signing up to join me for sections of my unsupported Chester to Chamonix cycle, and the route is almost nailed down. I’m organising a grand send-off at Chester Town Hall on Tuesday 26th August- so hope to see you all there at 8:30am and shaking some buckets for donations towards the Himalayan Trust to support the Sherpas. I’ve just got a new podcast microphone so looking forward to using this in addition to my blogs.
A bit anxious about the Welsh 3000’s. Normally this is a team effort, and I’m not worried about navigation, but it will be my longest mountain day since Nepal last Autumn. I’ve been smashing my bike sessions but only had 3 hikes since being home so may have lost a little conditioning. But the idea is for the challenges to push my comfort zones. So no problem there. Hillwalking and climbing in Snowdonia on Monday with Paul whom I’m climbing with in the Alps this Summer. Had a great day out and really looking forward to camping near the Cosmiques Hut and climbing a few classics this September. Albeit my quads felt like they’d been pummelled by a rolling pin by the following morning.
Excited to be supported by the Youth Hostel Association who will be offering me free B&B accommodation at their sites across the UK during my EPIC7 project and Everest training which is really going to come in handy for reducing my costs when training in Snowdonia and the Lake District, and particularly during a few of the EPIC7 events that are yet to be announced. This Sunday I should be sat at the Pen-Y-Pass hostel and will send you my very first podcast from here.
At the weekend I heard the news that Alan Arnette had summited K2 for Alzheimers, one of the most fearsome mountains in the world, second in height only to Everest. Whilst listening to his audio dispatch (something I too will do), I found myself welling up. Goosebumps. It got under my skin.
Whatever anybody says about Everest- mountains are personal to us. They aren’t about egos. It’s about passion, tenacity, self-discovery and achievement.
Please help me support the Sherpas in 2014- www.justgiving.com/EPIC7 or text EPIC57 £(your generous amount) to 70070
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