It’s a bloody tough ride, but you get used to it. I had a mantra throughout the race which, while perhaps sounding nonsense to anyone except me, was “I need to do this as it’s what needs to be done”. This repeated through the many hills, the dragging up and down boggy landscapes and the moments of tiredness.
On tiredness, I didn’t really think I was properly tired until I yawned. It’s amazing how similar the other symptoms of what you’d see as fatigue are similar to the symptoms of hunger and thirst, and in most cases some food wolfed down and a drink of water made me feel alright enough to keep going. For everything else, the aforementioned can of Coke came into play.
Wanting to quit – I felt at quite a low ebb at times, thinking seriously about binning it. However, refer to the passage above on tiredness, because eating something made me feel better in almost all cases. I think just getting my body back on an even keel allowed me to look objectively at how I was feeling and whether to continue.
I’ve had the time to think over how I feel about the whole race, and I’ve been able to almost entirely blank out the difficult and horrible stuff. All I have for this race is respect and an immense pride in managing it. It proves what I’ve thought for a while, that limits are mostly in your head and it’s a mindset that keeps you moving. I’d ridden, pushed and walked right to what I thought was my edge, but then I’d proven myself wrong by keeping going.
It’s a life changing event for me, one that I’ll always remember and cherish, despite all the hardships endured. It’s so tough that it shapes how I look at what I can manage. 560 miles, plus eleven more vertical miles. Twice up Everest in a week. Amazing.