What if my lights conked out in the dark? What if I simply could no longer continue? Each of the girls attempted to get a few hours of sleep on the Friday afternoon, however as you would expect, nerves, excitement and 35 degree summer heat got the better of us. I ended up plodding around the house, double and triple checking my list, deliberating over which of my favourite Rapha kits to wear, preparing the last of my peanut butter and banana sandwiches, cooling the last batch of stove top coffee to be jarred up for the ride.
It was time. Wide awake, I left home in the dark. An incredible full moon, deep yellow in colour, slowly rose above me as I drove into the night towards the dark and ominous Mount Donna Buang. As I pulled into the meeting spot at the base of the mountain, clearly I was not the only one who had jumped the gun. About 10 of the 20 girls had already arrived, and were preparing their bikes and equipment for a midnight start time.
It would be the largest-ever mass Everesting attempt since the extreme challenge was launched nearly a year ago. No one could quite predict what was to come in the following 24 hours. Could we finish? Is this achievable? Are we just plain old crazy? We took off as a group and steadily rolled up Mount Donna Buang for the first time. There was chatter and laughter. Nerves rapidly began to dissipate.
Riding the Tears of Everest - Darren Clarkson King
No more planning, no more questions, after 3 months of anticipation we were actually doing this! The road to the summit was dark with glimpses of silver light splintering through the tall tree canopies. Having ridden Donna only once before, I was trying to recollect where I was on the mountain. Rolling into Cement Creek, the blissful sound of the flowing water was a reminder that we were at the halfway point.
This 30 second section of the road would be the only break our legs and lungs would receive on the entire climb. As we reached the summit of our first ascent 1 hour and 20 minutes later, I felt a sense of relief. The climb was achievable, conditions were faultless and most importantly we were all in this together. Only 8 more laps to go… I tried to push this thought out of my mind.
RIDING THE TEARS OF EVEREST | PURE LAND EXPEDITIONS
As I powered up my helmet light to prepare for the descent, I could finally get a sense of my surrounds. A beautiful meandering road lay ahead, completely empty, still and silent. The fun part had arrived. The first descent in the eerie darkness was a moment I will forever cherish. Adrenaline took over and I was completely alert.
Tuesday, April 2, 12222
I flew down Mount Donna Buang, attempting to take it all in. The crossover between cycling and ski racing is phenomenal. The skills I have learnt in downhill skiing are completely translatable. Line, speed, aerodynamics, confidence, measured risk, reaction time, managing nerves and adrenaline. If you can conquer these skills in one sport, I believe you can quickly translate them to another.
My Garmin would later tell me that I reached a max speed of Lap 3 was when the hurt began. By this stage we had been riding for just over 4 hours and the adrenaline was starting to wear thin. We would have another full ascent and descent in the dark before the sun would even begin to peek its head above the horizon. Our attempt was a failure. Instead of a sense of defeat or disappointment those tears came from an unexpected deep feeling of satisfaction and joy.
Nature had humbled us I somehow felt enlightened by the process of the journey rather than the result.
Since my cycling has taken on a new meaning. Whenever I ride I place less relevance on conquering and focus more on the privilege of journeying through nature silently on two wheels. Tibet has opened my eyes to a new cycling nirvana. See the all the amazing photos, scenery, and read more about what went on behind the scenes here at CyclingTips and check out the full length video below. Everesting Everest. Finding Cycling Nirvana. Serk Cycling Beijing. Cycling Nirvana Tibet Style. Tibet - the rooftop of the world inspires something special.
At m above sea level - its difficult enough for plants and people to survive, let alone thinking about conquering. Rather, the journey is really about taking in what Mother Nature has in store for us - be it rain, snow, elevation, lack of oxygen or the sunshine, amazing landscape and breathtaking scenery.
Rather than a challenge to overcome, Everest is a spiritual place for pilgrimage on two wheels. One of the highlights of the journey was seeing the Everest for the first time. It was a tough day in the saddle, especially the never ending climb of the day - the Jiacuola pass. The wind threw punches at us from every direction no matter which way we turned. The wind threw punches at us from everywhere -- every corner we turned gusts hit from left and right. On any other day we would have considered the biblical conditions something to fight against. On this day it was the opposite, we went with her, leaned into her and just somehow, managed to enjoy her company until the top.
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