Everesting – Why Suffer?

Romans 5:3-4

Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

I finally finished an #everesting challenge! It was my third try after two unsuccessful attempts. I’m not always sure what to tell people when they ask “Why?!”, but maybe the verse from Romans, says it all.

I knew I was going to finish this time when I saw the image above at first light. It was my sign that all things are possible and I would not fail. Was it easy? Hell no! I think it’s the hardest challenge I’ve ever taken on. Was it enjoyable? Absolutely! Being outdoors, working hard, in the same general space for forty hours, essentially on my own, wakes up the senses. You see and hear things you wouldn’t have otherwise (And no, I wasn’t hallucinating!).  It’s amazing to see the light change on flowers throughout the day. It’s intriguing to feel the differences in temperature where the terrain changes slightly. It’s fun to watch the cows move about. It’s interesting to learn every inch (bump, scar, turn, undulation) of a road. It’s laughable, yet soothing to hear yourself gasping for air at the top of the run. Sunrises and sunsets are incredible! I witnessed two each this time. To me, that’s fun! To some, that is suffering!

 

I’m a numbers person. I have loops that I ride routinely and I know in my mind just how far one, five, ten and fifteen miles are. I’ve ridden those loops many times  in part to prepare for the repeats needed for an Everesting. I now know exactly what .2 km. feels like! I know how many pedal strokes it takes to get to the top of that hill. I know how many meters/feet I can climb in a minute. I know how many cars pass by in an hour. I know how many cows are in the field. I know how many bottles of water I drank. I know how many cracks are in the road. And it goes on. I count in my head as I do things. Weird, I know, but it helps to pass the time. For me, it’s fun and interesting. For others, it’s suffering.

Suffering is all relative. We all have our thresholds. I just find it “enjoyable” to go out and find what mine might be. That’s why I suffer. And I suppose, as Romans says, to build perseverance and character, and to find hope.

My lesson in doing this is never, ever give up! Always try, try again! You won’t be disappointed!

So what was different this time, and what did I carry with me from my other tries?

  • I had a plan and stuck to it the best I could. I wanted to average at least 10 repeats every hour. I started with about 15 to give me some cushion. On my last attempt, I allowed too much break time in between repeats as the hours wore on.
  • I picked a long holiday weekend where I knew I would have good recovery time.
  • The chosen hill was close to home so Mr. SAG could do what he wanted rather than hang out on the roadside. Would I pick that hill again? Probably not. The number of repeats were mind numbing, and it was too steep at the top for that many times (10-15% grade/391x).
  • I had my bio-break bucket handily nearby!
  • I didn’t have non-rider family/friends hang out to cheer me on. I found I was too tempted to stop and chat which took me off plan.
  • I didn’t announce that I was owing it. No pressure.
  • I still had the best SAG/Sherpa in the world! 

Why did I do this? After riding across the country 2 years ago, I happened upon this video and I was hooked. I knew I had to do an Everesting some day. I just had no idea how hard it actually would be. I have total respect for everyone who has done one. Mind you, many people have completed it multiple times (11x by one particular beast!) and others have done double, triple and even quadruple Evererestings! I really can’t even imagine! We all have our thresholds of suffering.

If I hadn’t come up short a couple of times, I wouldn’t have experienced the level of joy I had in finishing so my song of the day is:

So, I implore you to go suffer (but have fun while doing it)! Persevere, build character, find hope, and never give up!

What’s up next? A nice leisurely ride around the rim at Crater Lake. Can’t wait!

Ride on everyone! Ride on!