No matter how long you think about “doing an Everest”…..or how much you prepare for it, something will always hook you right in the chops somewhere along the way. Dealing with it and cracking the fuck on is where the real “Blood Sweat and Tears” are made.
I’d become mildly obsessed with Everesting ever since I’d first heard of it. Wether or not I was actually capable of doing it didn’t matter in the slightest. It WAS happening…..and once I had a willing companion the date was set. The climb had been decided a long time before. (Providing no-one beat us to the First Ascenders title) It was to be one of North Wales’s finest, The Horseshoe Pass. Beautiful.
Three of us made the trip over to begin the ride at around 4am. It was dark. windy, cold and the air was full of mist. I’d already been set back by a drunk girlfriend requesting a pickup from the local “rough as a dogs arse” kebab house. I wasn’t happy but “cracked on”. We shared a coffee while i regained control of my blood pressure. Spirits were high and after a few last checks and a few more bites of supplies we rolled. The road was wet but the descent is sweet and so after the first few corners finding our feet we were well away. Sharing a road and early morning chat with Jim O and Maui Maui or “Our Stevie” as he’s more affectionately known is a pleasure on a normal days ride let alone an Everest attempt. Both are extremely talented folk and the wit and comedy these pair can effortlessly produce is enough to keep you going all day. The first of the 28 laps were punctuated with quick food stops and coffees while we found a rhythm, which soon settled into 2 laps then food and drink and so on and so on. Happy Days.
Then came the PUNCH….POW!. To say it was a direct hit, right in the kisser would be an understatement. It was descent number 10. Not even halfway. After racing each other down and taking corners like seasoned pro’s, Stevie and I waited for Jim before hitting ascent 11. He never showed. Worried, we headed back up to find Jim gingerly riding down. he’d come a cropper after some nasty front wheel wobble and had hit the deck face first. Now, where most would have packed in and headed home Jim summoned everything he had and despite his fat lip, bent nose, bleeding arm, cracked helmet and bruised pride…..He cracked the fuck right on! 18 more laps!
After a couple more laps Our Stevie decided to call it. He’d never intended on going the whole hog as races and chain gangs are more his cup of char. Nevertheless, a magnificent days riding. I always knew the lad could ride but christ, you wanna see him Sherpa! It was Stevie’s enthusiasm to help, to fill your water bottles, grab you a bite to eat and tell you “your awesome” that really got us through. Jim’s lovely girlfriend Sharon had also joined the crew at this stage. Bringing pizza and coffee. Marriage material right there Jim!
The cold night fell, badgers and owls came out, every layer of clothing adorned. The moon rose and sank. Sickness came and went. Food reluctantly eaten. Those were some tough times. Jim’s descending had taken a knock and I think he actually rode faster going up it than he did going down, but damn the man just wouldn’t stop. Grit. Top hand!
As the sun began to shine as did the light at the end of tunnel. 28 laps done. Done. The realisation that we’d done it didn’t take long to settle in. Never ever ever again. Until the next one!
Big shouts to all those that helped and spurred us on when we needed it most. Heres to the Hall of Fame and all its heroes! Even those whose names don’t appear!