Over the course of a few endurance events I have come to the view that they largely break down as follows:
– 85% suffering. Whether it it is climbing everest, running across a 50 degree desert for several days, or riding your mountain bike up the equivalent of 3 Everests you spend an awful lot of time suffering during a serious endurance event. The nature of the suffering itself tends to differ from event to event (from feet covered with sand filled blisters, bum covered in the equivalent of grown ups nappy rash, total physical and mental exhaustion to the thought of having to endure another dehydrated chicken korma!), but it is suffering nonetheless.
– 5% participation. Taking part in an unusual/exceptional event always brings some great moments and experiences. Whether its standing in the middle of a desert at sunset, watching the sun rise from the highest point on earth, or the exhilaration of going downhill at 100km/h on two thin tyres, these experiences you are unlikely to ever forget.
– 5% success. Hopefully self explanatory but if you’re lucky enough to complete an event it provides you with a tremendous amount of satisfaction.
-5% camaraderie. Typically, you meet very like minded, but different people during an expedition or event and often form long term friendships through the shared suffering and experiences noted above.
For a host of reasons, Everest probably rated 90% on the suffering scale. Half the battle of completing an endurance event is knowing (or at least hoping with some degree of optimism) that the suffering will end at some point. And, thankfully, like child birth I’m told, post event the suffering fades rapidly from your living memory and you are left revelling in the joy of the remaining 15% and rapidly contemplating what’s next!
The photos below show Pierre and I back at camp 4 after a long day! Not a pretty sight!