Seven days. You can read it in a horror-movie tone, or just normally, but either way it’s only seven days until I’ll be taking off from Heathrow to Kathmandu with Jet Airways, stopping at Mumbai on the way. This is it now. And to be honest, I’m not sure how to put it into words. There’s so much to do this week, from arranging and practising using kit, to packing it, printing and checking paperwork, picking up kit, starting a PR campaign, sorting out communication plans…. before it gets too monotonous, I’ll move on. It’s all very exciting- and best of all, it’s all going to be coming again next March for the big un’.
I often forget this is just a one month ‘warm-up’ expedition to the big event, but is a crucial stepping stone and requires as much preparation and attention. It will teach me a lot and act as a trial run for Everest, This week I’ll write a penultimate blog post with more details on our itinerary, the route, the climb and my final thoughts, but for now I’ll update you on what I’ve been up to…
Just got back from a sunny 15 mile run in the forest. Feeling stronger than ever, and although a bit slow, I’m training for a mountain, and mountains are about stamina, going slow and steady for a long time. I’ve always been built like a rake with ribs but I feel ready now. Besides, there’s little I can do now with a week. It’s come up on me so quickly. People ask ‘Do you feel fit enough yet?’. There’s a fine line between being fit enough and as fit as you’d like to be. I found a 63 mile cycle on Monday pretty easy. Considering I was only able to return to training after a one year injury layoff in March, I feel very fortunate I’ve been able to get to this stage so quickly. By listening very carefully to my body, it’s played nicely, most of the time anyway. I’m going to stop training on Tuesday so my body has time to fully recover for the expedition. I’ve backed out of 2 big training events recently as it just wasn’t worth the risk of injuring myself at this penultimate stage. I’ll be glad for the training when I’m hauling myself up the high slopes of Baruntse at 7000m. Essentially, any lack of fitness can be made up by sheer determination alone. It’s great being good in the gym- but without the mental drive to keep going you’ve already lost 90% of your strength. The training for Everest when I return will be far far more punishing, but for Baruntse I’ve had to be careful.
My sponsors Marmot sent me some of their awesome expedition gear this week. I was like a little kid at Christmas. Here’s my new 8000M suit, which I’ll proudly wear on the summit of Everest (too warm for Baruntse, but got my Marmot Greenland jacket for that). It was great fun to try it on, albeit nearly passing out from heat stroke. Perhaps I’ll be the world’s highest giant Banana…. or is it Ronald McDonald? The resemblance is uncanny.
I’ve kept both my Baruntse and Everest expeditions relatively quiet in the media until recently whilst I proudly confirmed sponsorships, but I was on Chester Dee 106.3 this Wednesday with Gavin Matthews talking about the trip this October. Got a new camera too so I’ll be able to get some great shots whilst I’m there, and share them when I return. There’s no sitting around after- I have 3 months to secure the final funds to get me to Everest.
So I best be getting on with stuff. I’ll be in touch before I go with more info. Just before I do, I want to say a big congrats to my buddy Jeff Smith who summited Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain, last week. He’s been a great support to me so far and I look forward to being on the hill with him. Also, my good friend Ellis Stewart, (www.everestdream.co.uk) has had a great breakthrough recently with his fundraising for Everest after sheer determination and persistence year after year. He’s an inspiration to everyone, including myself, that if you want something enough you can make it happen. He’s never given up and I’m so chuffed his effort and dedication to his dream has finally been rewarded. Can’t wait to join him on Everest next year- it’s looking promising. It’s what Everest is all about- a bunch of mates on a big mountain.
”Dreams though, are cheap, and the real task comes when you start putting in place the steps needed to make the dreams a reality’ – Bear Grylls