This is a photo of defeat. I undertook the “most difficult climbing challenge in the world”. (According to the Everesting website.) I accomplished a lot, but not the goal set. Sometimes it’s good to fail but I’d encourage you to not get stuck in it.
I don’t even know where to begin with this post. It has been a wild ride to get everything in place the last year. I never imagined the Trimaster Challenge project would be setup as a Non-Profit Company to appropriately manage our fundraising efforts & establish it as an Events & Research entity, but here we are!
The first 3 pieces of the Trimaster Challenge is a remote ‘Everesting Challenge’ in each discipline of a triathlon – swim, cycle, run. Almost 4 weeks ago I undertook the “most difficult climbing challenge in the world” – the Everesting Cycle Challenge. According to the Everesting website. 24 hours to complete 8848m vertical elevation – this can be done virtually or on the road.
Which one is easier? I have no idea but I’ll have to try it again sometime!
I’ve been listening to a lot of Ross Edgley’s conversations with people & he has such a unique approach to holistic optimal fitness. In simplicity, he talks about Work Capacity.
Work capacity is the single most important aspect of performing well in work, life & leisure. If you are good to crank out another rep, then you’ll make it!
Unfortunately, not all stories are bells & whistles. So I attempted to virtually climb the vertical 8848m elevation of Mount Everest using the RGT Cycling App. We (my Coach & I), had planned a 25km route which involved about 973m elevation over a 12.5km distance – 8% average gradient!!! – then freewheeling down hill back to the start to do it again.
I had tested out the app & the route in the week leading-up to the event. All looked good, I had my nutrition plan, I had my effort plan, & off I went!
The small goals to focus on:
- Fuel every 20 min either 32Gi Gel or Chew or Endure or RacePro OR Jungle Energy Bar (Dark Chocolate) + added 2 salt-tabs to every bottle I drank … basically anything with Carbs & Electrolytes, I consumed!
- Drink 1.2L fluids within every hour (32Gi Hydrate mix in between fueling)
- Hold 140-160W on all the climbs
- Stretch & mobilize during freewheel down (10-15min every 2hrs or so)
- Apply Biogen Shammy Creme or Ass Magic or Bepanthen or any anti-chafe every few hours
- Change Shorts Every 4-5hrs
- Try not to die!
Some context before I share with you what happened.
This was not the planned date for this event. It was supposed to be done on the Satellite Climb segment in the Cradle area, near Krugersdorp on the 18th of December 2021. This didn’t happen because we couldn’t get permission from the SAPS to be out during curfew. At this stage it was 00:00am until 04:00am.
My Coach, Louise, & I had to reevaluate… so we adjusted to the 7th of January 2022. After a few weeks we realized this too wouldn’t work. Finally we settled for the 20th of February 2022. This in itself was super frustrating & one reason why creating your own virtual event is so much more difficult than going to a race.
Normal races – no matter what happens, you have to be ready!
Virtual races – you can always shift the goalposts.
Shifting goalposts may be a benefit in the short term but apply pressure in the long term. I know how I struggled with this when studying for my degrees. Whenever I had a more flexible lecturer, the assignment due date seemed to just keep extending itself without much effort.
This is a challenge in my life I’m working hard to rectify because I don’t want to be 60yrs old & still know I keep adjusting goalposts.
In addition, I had only done a maximum ride of 4 hours long. My weekly total was between 6 & 8 hours on the bike but seriously, I never thought it would be sufficient to spend as much time in the saddle that I did. I am eternally grateful for supernaturally getting to where I did.
Last thing, San-Marí & I went to a wedding the day before this massive event, stayed-up until around 22:30pm, stayed over at a guesthouse & left there a little before 04:00am to get toLouise’s place where it all went down to start at 05:00am. Except we only started at 06:00am.>>another goal post shift
What went down:
- I managed to keep tabs on my nutrition pretty well. Eventually I was just consuming consistently & got pizza for lunch which was great!
- At some stage I had to adjust my saddle height because I was overworking my quads WAY too much. I climbed off during one break after about 6hrs & tried sitting but they wouldn’t let me go down. It wasn’t nutrition, I think it was just too much peddling. After mobilizing them, they loosened-up & I was shap for the rest of the day (in that regard).
- With regards to the actual effort, as I went on throughout the day, the power was dropping each time I went up the super long drag, but with that, so was the Heart Rate… This leads to the next point:
- Mistake number 1: wearing tri-shorts for an event that might take up to 24hrs on a single saddle. I didn’t consider for 1 moment wearing bib-shorts because I’m a damn triathlete! How will I run afterwards? Haha… (I laugh now but not funny at the time.)
Eventually my whole pubic area which I was sitting on became so inflamed & chafed I just couldn’t continue. I tried cleaning the area & going again but every drop of sweat that got in there stung… every pedalstroke down created additional pressure which meant less power per stroke, which meant slower climbing time which meant more time in the saddle… So after 16hrs30mins & about 6900m of vertical elevation I called it a day. I was so disappointed in myself for not finishing. Earlier in the day I had said in my head “this is finally something I’ll be able to complete,” but it wasn’t so.
- Mistake number 2: Not canceling all of my meetings & coaching sessions planned for the following day. As happy as I am that I made it to all of these basically alive without too much pain, I should have gotten more sleep. I should have just cleared out the day & rested.
Luckily you didn’t see the ending. I think if I’d had a live audience there would have been tears.
When people say “they put blood, sweat & tears” into something, they have to have meant it. It’s amazing how simple & efficient these processes are in our bodies but as humans, we would struggle to create the same output.
Blood is produced at scale by the human body. It transports oxygen & critical fuel/nutrients to the places that need it most. The blood helps with both functional & healing processes, as well as excretes what is no longer needed. It’s a truly unique & amazing system.
Sweat helps the body regulate its temperature & chemical balance. When work is produced by the body, sweat is excreted. In addition, we need to make sure we can continue to sweat under circumstances of extreme work. (Trust me, I have an idea of this…)
Tears, I found out, are 95% aqueous : 5% lipid solution. They are used on a daily basis to create an antibacterial layer over your eyeball & also ensure it doesn’t dry up. When we cry, we heal. From the pain, the suffering, the loss, the love, the life we experience.
It’s not only good to cry but essential for our survival. Some parts of me wish I had cried at 10:35pm that evening, other parts of me know the emotions were dealt with on the bike that day & I will need them for a more critical day for healing.
This was puzzle piece number 1 of a 3-part puzzle. Next-up is the Everesting Swim Challenge on 23 April 2022. I hope you can join me >>here!!
Final note: The time we spend on our moonshots is only as valuable as the lessons learned when we reflect on that time.
Best in Trimastery,
PS. Shoutout to Liezl Schoeman (aka Fit4Rhinos) who did the Quarter Challenge with her bicycle… & running shoes!