Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Worth all the money, blood, sweat and tears.

So here is the final entry.... a few weeks since we have been back but with just enough time for true reflection.

Every time someone asks me about the trip I smile and say it was awesome and really mean it. But I struggle to do the country, people, commradery, fun, toughness and sense of achievment the whole trip gave me justice, so I hope to write it and make it clear how good The Everest Test was really was.

At the beginning of the trip there really was an sense of intrepidation about a 19 day trip full of unknown questions, places and physical challenges that the 49 of us would face. For me that was so exciting and I felt as long as I didn't get altitude sickness I'd be fine. The flight over to Kathmandu was a unwelcome delay to the group getting togther as one and cracking on with the trek and so that waited until the next morning before flying out to Lukla in the mountains. From day one the weather was top draw and then we landed on the crazy 100m uphill Lukla runway in a yeti airways 14 seater to a round of applause and relief. I really liked Lukla although obviously very tourist driven and small it was quaint and relaxing. We ate some local eggs and bread and had a short wait before it was time to get the backpacks on and get the first few hours of trekking in the bag. I was a relief to get underway and we had a talk from Nir our head guide about how proud he was to have so many people come to his counrty and to be part of a world record attempt. He could not have been more gracious and welcomming to us even though he had spent months labouring for our visa's, park entries and bribing officials.

We spent the next three days waking over perfect turquoise rivers on Indiana Jones style Bridges, passed by yaks and porters in the sunshine like we were in the Swiss Alps. Oh but for the totally enormous great mountians in the distance going though the clouds with snow on. It was without a doubt the most beautiful and serene place I have walked in and with so many different people to walk and talk with it was fantastic. Highlights include a porter race, seeing Everest for the first time, wearing shorts, feeling good and suprisingly good tea house accomodation. Low lights include the onset of dihorrea in the group, Neil going back down for a night, walking into Namcha Bazaar up some seriously steep paths and steps.

The best day of the whole trip for me was when we stopped in Khumjung on day 4. The plan was to donate some gear and teach cricket to the local kids. As a kind of thanks to vice captains and others I was offered a hance to be involved as not everyone was able to help out. I had no idea how much fun it would be to teach 25 under 12 kids to field a ball, play bulldog, chuck some shapes, throw at a post and generally take pride in watching these kids smile, laugh and get involved in some excercises.

We finishd this great time at the school at lunch time and after lunch walked without packs to over 4000 metres which was a great walk full of laughs and a great view for the top. The evening topped off a packed day with a music competiton between all the teams named 'The Everest Factor' which was great fun to watch and take part in even if your tone deaf and knackered. The Tenzing boys did three songs/dances Stand by Me- Ben E King, Livin on a prayer- Bon Jovi and the New Zealand 'Haka' Maori tribal routine. All hilarious to perform and belt out. Hillary performed a quite amazingly tuneful rendition of Afternoon Delight by Air Supply which for me was a knife to our Roxbury balloon. The quite awful starting Trektators stole the show after destroying 500 miles with a collective comeback and Grease cover. A brilliant night put togther by Jamo one of my favourite people to get to know on tour and closely followed by the four doctors who adjudicated hilariously.

To be honest the middle period of days leading up to Gorak Shep was great fun as we were getting fitter and having acclimatisation days to break the pack carrying was great. We were also seeing some quite stunning scenery of the upper valley and bigger peaks like Nuptse and Amadablum (amarama-ding dong).

The other pre tour evening planned was put togther by me for my mate Kimbo's 28th Birthday and was planned to be a comedy night named 'Stand up on Dingboche'. I had asked people to prepare a joke/limmerick/song to perform in front of the group or a story about Kimbo. The following unfolded. Raps by brothers Sharland covering Bohemian Rhapsody taking the piss out of each other. MC Shark and base camp 1 performing a 'flyin high' cover EVEREST stylee. was amazing. The girls sang an Old McKimbo tale, Woodsy unflappable as ever completed the Italian man in Malta. Simmo ran through the Billy Connolly 'Mario' joke to which he and i love but not sure how the rest took it. There were great poems from Hog, Hogs Mum, Zoobs and plenty of gratutious jokes from JB, Tooves, Mark and Blinky. Chris ran the evening with his usual flair and sarcastic eye, looking back at the trip as our compare/resident comedian. It was Fantastic evening for a very tired and deflated team. Most of it planned last minute and gave the whole team time to forget everything around them and enjoy themselves. Worked well for all. Kimbo also got some cake from the porters earlier that day before an acclimatisation walk to 5000m.

The only problem I personally had faced was coming into Dingboche, Haydn the Tenzing Capt had been suffering and went straight to bed when he got in and didn't get up for an acclimatisation walk the next day. He was suffering from de-hydration and altitude sickness and was in danger of having to go down a day. Some people joked I might have to step up to the plate.... A joke suddenly hit home more than it had ever before, I would have to cut the four guys who couldn't bat or bowl, I would have to lead the team and I would have to start thinking about averything to do with getting Tenzing to win the match. Oh dear....

The next highlight after some more long days walking at a slower pace has to be rounding a final boulder corner to look upon the stretch of rocks, sand and yaks that was to be our field of play. I couldn't believe how happy I was to be at 5200m without any problems with the majority of the teams healthy. It was pure jubilation that i had not envisaged at all and must have been building for a couple of weeks, A huge sighe of relief and 100% beflief we were gonna do it washed over me!!!!

The pre match talk by Haydn was focused and very agressive as was match day preparations. The selection was horrible and Haydn and I disagreed on a couple of points but I gave him my backing and hoped the 4 guys Joe, Markby, Nick and Neil would take the hit as well as the could.

We cleared the pitch of rocks and Jamo, Mike, Nick, Kins and others laid and re-laid our eventual wicket. brought all the way from London.

After dinner the night before the game was the team announcement. I was to call people into a room to give them the thumbs up on camera with haydn having a little chat. A quite awful idea and experience for the guys and us especially when the battery ran out on Tooves and left him habging for 2mins in silence..... I hope the video diary actually makes the experience even slightly worthwhile. This experience pretty much ruined my day and the next morning as we had to hurt the drive and feelings of four great guys.

On match day we were confident enough and played ok in the field after a good start from classy Hillary opener Dave Kirtley and we pegged em back to 13o odd. A bit of a break and we were chasing needing just 6 an over and a long tail to bat with. In confident mood Haydn changed the batting line up at will and put himself and Wes higher than expected and JC and Tooves 8&9. JB got out for not much as did Blinky and we were 2 down in single figures. Mark and Wes hit some big blows and got us back on track. But both were out in the 20's and it was up to the middle order of Kimbo,Haydn and DC to steady us and keep the score board rolling. To be honest the running between the wickets was tough but not impossible but getting the ones was hard to come by and two's and three's were not possible so we were looking for big hits.. too often probably. The middle order collaspsed and we were taken to a respectable three figures by some great batting from JC and Tooves, a first ball six from me and two big hay makers from Mike at 11 but to no avail as we were all out twenty odd short.

Journey down to come.

I felt gutted and annoyed but it did subside after an hour enough for me to enjoy the world record and the well deserved Hillary win. I didn't want my competitivness to ruin my enjoyment of the moment and suceeded. It was an exhillarating and amazing evening having a few beers and champers in a tea house in Gorak Shep celebrating the highest game of competitive sport ever played. Quite emmense. Well done Kirtley and Wes for making it happen.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Go Hard or Go Home

Well i've been doing the lot over the past week, here goes

Sat- Slow 12 mile run with Laura (fish & chips apres)
Sun- To London for Tenzing run and nets. 2-3 mile each way with full packs and then running for two hours whilst bowling and batting. (BBQ and beers and brownies!)
Mon- Comedy night @ comedy store Picadilly was absolutely brilliant and haven't laughed for two hours like that before. (definite abs workout!!) great to see the Gahans sisters from School as well.
Tues- cycle to and from work 20 miles
Wed- Gym session (90mins), to Birmingham in the evening for Snow Patrol gig which was great and some very moving and cool songs etc. Legs a bit tired.
Thurs- horizontal all day ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Fri- Gym 2hours, swim 60 lengths and sauna

Going for a swim and sauna again in a minute and then the Bath half Marathon tomorrow........
LOVE IT feeling great, but hope there's plenty in the tank for tomorrow!! aiming for 1hr 35mins?!?!?!?!?!?
After the Tenzing nets we sat down as a full team and had a brilliant chat about all things Everest at the Blanca Casa De Dolph with Mike and Helen the hosts, muchos gracias. I love the team ethos of Tenzing and feel truly honoured and excited to be part of something so passionate and special. I have made friends for life and met people with similar attributes in a hugely fun and different atmosphere. We haven't even started the trip yet, Superb. I'm getting really pumped about this thing so get on board.

Viva la bam
Vive la vida loca
Verve de va va voom


Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Never been skinny, it's colder.

Well, when i'm not doing 13 hour shifts cleaning the streets or sleeping i seem to be training. At least 6 days a week and on some shifts swimming lengths off nights and then hitting the sack. Laura is running 4 times a week for the Bath Half and we are just hitting the treadmill and trails regular as clockwork oranges. This has had a very strange effect on my body????
My ankles and wrists look like runners ?
I am developing the right kind of six pack?
My big thighs are less prominent and even my swede is smaller!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am 13st 3............... I haven't been that light since about i was 15. Not complaining just don't remember ever feeling skinny. it's slightly disconcerting and hope it doesn't affect my ferocious power and roundhouse kick snap that Van-Damme taught me. Makes running a hell of a lot easier mind. Thought i'd let you know as i'm rather pleased. My ideal weight for Ironman was around this weight but thought it wouldn't happen until Nepal or beyond. I may have to watch i don't get serious issues and just disappear???
Who am I kidding my BMI is still in the overweight section for my height and I still lurve pizza and doughnuts far too much to give me any worries. Still 12stone something is a posibility for Ironman now and with the bum wee expected on Everest a distinct dream/nightmare.

Cheers fatties

Monday, 2 March 2009

Breathless cricket and Zinger time

So the 5 week to lift off mark is here and the Tenzing standards are being raised in levels of fitness, cricket and chat, i'm the exception to the rule of course. Also two massive hundreds from the Everest team figure heads Andrew 'Mr T' Strauss and Alistair 'The Chef' Cook leading the way.

So to back up the beef, I had a training weekend for ten of the team at my gaff in sunny Oxfordshire. On paper I wanted to create a tired team so that when we played some cricket during nets and a mini game we would gain some insight into the pressures and dificulties of base camp.....

Paper converted to reality!!!! Mission accomplished.

A 6 mile cross country run in glorious sunshine had the boys smiling and chatting away, so i threw in some core work and excercise to shut them up and finished with some paired hill sprints. At the end they were still laughing and smiling and happy??? GIVE EM SOME MORE...

Onto a top secret location with level 9 Cobra command clearance required for a concept i called breathless cricket. Basically you run hard all the time and push yourself to exhaustion. Result, the fella's started to waver but pushed through the 4 hour session well and earned their pint and pie in the local for a great meal and social time. The highlight being saffron ice being delivered when peach melba and pistacio were murmered, something like that... see Tooves blog which is hilarious.

Some good slepp and off to the Chilterns for a romp in the hills for 5-6 hours and a good sunday roast. All best laid plans and all that, the pubs were fully booked and the hunger mood swings became apparent. Luckily Laura was on hand to save the day and find us a buffet indian and all the bhaji you could eat... satisfaction guaranteed, we ate well and finished home with some great banter and beautiful scenery. Tenzing feeling and looking strong... i'm so proud and the competition for places and the win on the mountain feeds the mind most hours of the day and hots up the training.



Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Thanks Mr Nobody........

I have some ideas who you are with such a massive donation (£500) but i will just say an enormous thanks for your generosity and will make you proud. Woweeeee thats awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Kit Kat time

Since the New Year I have upped the intensity of my training quite a bit and therefore having been eating a wee bit more!!! However Laura my girlfriend has been away for two weeks and so the slippery slope developes. Shopping on my own with no dairy free eating woman in my ear.......

KIT KAT's pack of 5, 2for the price of one...game over i'll take 4. Pizza....treat yourself G go one. Apple pie yep, cream? Double every time. Pork pies, nuts, choc chip cookies, etc etc. Suffice it to say no weight has been lost in the past fortnight.. I have been good with homemade stews and fajitas as well!! no-one buying it? Okay i'm back in the game and chocolate free until after Everest, well until that cadbury's cream egg easter advertising push when i start dreaming of a cream egg i can swim in ohHHHHHHH like living in a house sized doughnut.....yummy.

Well February is here and half a stone needs to go before April, luckily with a little effort in normally goes so cycling 70 miler tomorrow to Tunbridge Wells and will try and stop Laura's lovely Mum Glynis from spoiling her favourite future son-in-law. Meow!!!!!!!!!

My Dad has contacted family and friends about the cause and been a leg-end recently getting behind the cause so thanks Papa san. Welcome those of you new to my Blog. Thanks for your support and spread the word.

A guy at my work is doing a body building competition this summer and is currently 16st looking to put more on then cut it down lean to 13 and a half st in 10 weeks!?!?!? Hope for us all.

Stay away from shopping hungry, G

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Rage David in Herefordshire


Well 23 Everestors made it to Farmer Kinsey "BOOM BOOM" Herns chicken and apples farm in HEREFORSHIRE. 23 made it out in one piece as well.
I made it in complete leisure on Friday after travelling up with Nick Mullineaux from Oxford and we had time to take to the fields around the farm for a hour walk before checking in with Kinsey folks and arriving 4 hours arlier than expected. A great feed and catch up with the crew ensued before team sleeping in the local village hall. Anyone would think it was cold as the girls cranked the heat upto 33degrees which meant i got about 38mins sleep. Great.
So the big day arrived and events and results went something like this: -
Bleep test (3rd) very happy with this and my best test so far at level 13 in a chicken shed!!!
Caveman (8th ish) Rubbish at tossing a big stone over my head, disappointing.
As a reasonably fit guy i had been seeded in the top four for the weekend and needed some points in the strength events to cling on to the whippet runners, not a good start.
Michellin MAN: Hilarious team event in which we rolled a 5ft high tractor tyre around a 100m square course in teams of six. With a team of two girls against other teams with 1 girl we somehow won the event by a second with a photo finish and some high fives and shouting. More like it.
Team G next did a sterling job in stacking big stones on pallets game ( manual labour for the farm), we were robbed by some rule changes mid game, biased reffing and jealousy to be honest and my calm exterior and politness went AWOL as did my initial impression on new friends as i threw my toys into the sheep sh$t and started my noisy cross-examination of anyone and everyone. BULLONI. No change 3rd place and brimming with fury.
After lunch we started with the SCARECROW pushing those swiss roll style bails O'hay around a slalom stlye course. Going last i was seriously pumped about this one, started like a dream getting a head start in a one on one race with Kimi the tournament favourite and eventual winner. Turning after the slalom completed all i had to do was turn and burn it in to the end. What happened next can only be compared to a scarecrow brain fart. I hit every slalom barrier on the way back and decided to just power through which just hit the brakes on my Bail O'hay and Kiwi flew right by (film?) gutted I brought the dried grass home in 7th place when a W was well within my powers.
TUG OF WAR: Disasterous, Milo, Hog and myself would have done better standing on the rope rather than slip sliding ourselves to 3 losses and the girls were at a loss at our ineptitude and I soon lost the plot and let out somemore growls of rage.
Last up was the five mile finisher with a few hills. More like 6 miles and vertical travalators with quick sand fields. Gave it my all and then some with the tank feeling good and brought it home in third. Some great running with the top 7 guys going under 49 mins and looking strong. A good finish to a tough but very fun and productive day. Finished off with 9 pints of cider and a steak, grrrreat.

Overall i finished 11th with some email replying points on offer!!!!! When the mouse clicking was taken out I was a respectable 6th overall and therfore content ish with my labours and that my training and hard work wasn't a waste. Highlights include Tooves getting beaten by girls, Hog trying to crush himself like a worm with a big rock, our one win, the great attitude from all the girls and beef and banter from the lads. Amazingly well organised and executed from Kins and great team building weekend.