When in the first week it was clear that it was going to be extremely hard, almost impossibly hard and my team mate Karin decided to leave, I thought I had made a huge mistake in pursuing this crazy dream of mine. I felt devastated that it was such a disappointment right from the start. But the more Karin was talking about going home, the more I felt resistance. I had no reason to go home, I wanted to keep going even though we had lost a lot of time and getting to the Eastern border was almost impossible. I wanted to keep going even though being ill had taken a lot of strength out of my body. I wanted to keep going day by day until my time was up and I had to get back on a flight home. Why? Because I felt comfort in the beauty of the mountains, because I was prepared to physically and mentally suffer, I was prepared to dig as deep as I possibly could, because this was the journey I wanted to be on. Because Nepal had captured my heart.
|Beautiful people of Nepal|
|that's me, I did this!|
Where as an athlete I felt I had never been able to do what I knew I was capable of doing, during Saikalako I proved to myself what I was physically and mentally capable of. My coach James put it into words for me on return “what you have achieved is indisputable” 7 weeks non stop, roughly 1600kms of technical terrain, 85.000m ascend and multiple passes between 3000-5415m altitude with a loaded bike. I look at pictures from the trip and I think to myself still in a little disbelieve “I did it”
I was asked recently what I learned most from doing this. I learned so many things on so many different levels but after a little bit of processing time I think the most important thing for me is this; I learned that I am very fortunate to live in a country where I am in control of my life and therefor I am in control of my own happiness. I am the driving factor to change things for the better. With that in mind I am going to do things differently professionally to help manage my chronic pain levels and I will keep on working hard to keep on improving physically and mentally in order to be able to keep on chasing my dreams.
|Missed these nutters so much!|
A huge thank you to anyone who has supported me and believed in me over the years especially Michael, James and my wonderful sister Martje, without a good support crew I would be nowhere! There is loads more to share from this journey but I wanted to write this down for days to come.
“It is not the mountain we conquer, it is ourselves” Edmund Hillary