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Australian Professional Cyclist

Mount Everest Base Camp: Day by Day…..

AM: Namche to Khumjung (4km. Starting at 3440m, finishing at 3940m. Elevation gain: 483m. (Moving time: 1hr27min)

PM: Top Hill Lodge Khumjung – Monestry – School – Top Hill Lodge Khumjung.

2.1km. Elevation Gain: 47m. (Moving time: 36min)

I felt a lot better today after the diarrhea meds kicked in…. actually. I was full of energy! I got a little bit of sleep last night too however it wasn’t a deep sleep. Our beds are very hard, the rooms are dusty (stuffy noses) and it’s freezing!

I also wanted to keep checking my blood saturation levels during the night as it had dropped below 80% before nodding off – it’s not dangerously low but given we were still under 3500m, I wanted to keep an eye on it. Now we’re up at 4000m and it has stabilised around 85% – which is good at this level of altitude.

Most people who attempt Mount Everest Base Camp normally stay in Namche for two nights, to acclimatise to the altitude however we wanted to move up a little higher and had programmed today as an ‘easier’ trekking day…. It wasn’t exactly EASY!

The weather was again just perfect! I hiked in a singlet top and wasn’t even getting cold when we made stops for the group to come back together.

The thing I’m really liking about getting higher up the mountain is that the traffic on the trails is thinning out which means you can go at your own pace, look up more often and choose your foot placements much better and…. the serenity is amazing! We’re no longer hearing aeroplanes and helicopters all the time and I‘m taking in a lot more of the views, scenery and local culture.

Before I forget, I wanted to share some tips with you in case you’re ever thinking of trekking up to base camp. Firstly, it would be great to do your shopping for hiking kit (clothes, backpack, camelback, socks, gloves, lightweight tea-house shoes/boots, walking poles, sleeping bag etc) in Lukla. They have such a greater range of the most appropriate items, professionals to give advice – who have trekked Base Camp many times and…. it’s was MUCH cheaper than anywhere else in the world. They’ll know exactly what you do and don’t need. I went to ‘The North Face’ shop in Lukla to get a sleeping bag and found so much nicer kit (and cheaper) than what I’d previously purchased. Of course you’ll need to get your trekking shoes and boots before you arrive so you’ll have time to walk them in.

…….another note on trekking shoes versus boots. I started out (from day one) in my Trekking Shoes and have not had any problems (with my feet) however, most of our group who only brought boots and light weight trainers are now wearing their trainers due to blisters, uncomfortableness, range of motion and weight. I’ve been assured we will need our boots when we get closer to the top and start walking through snow however I’d recommend you start in Trekking Shoes and let the Sherpa’s carry your big boots up the mountain until you ‘need’ them. I’ve got some cool lightweight boots for wearing around the tea-houses/accommodation.

Wow, a group of children have just arrived at our hotel (6pm, it’s dark) and they’re singing like a choir in their native language…. It sounds amazing!

The internal emotional feelings I’m experiencing on this trip are undescribable. It’s so refreshing to experience a different way of life and take in the nature.

One of the highlights on today’s hike was seeing a group of four Belgian ladies spot the Belgian Tornadoes! These ladies went CRAZY. The Belgian Tornadoes (4x400m relay team – athletics) are super famous in Belgium and very easy to recognise. The team is generally made up of three of the Borlee brothers (two are twins) and the other brother looks similar too – plus a fourth runner. Their father Jacques Borlee is the famous coach of the team and also looks like his sons. They’re an amazing family! Their sister Olivia Borlee (Olympic Gold Medallist) has just retired and has started her own fashion label!

I’ve had another first ever experience today too…. I prayed in a local monastery.

We also visited the local school in the Village of Khumjung as it was partly funded by the Belgians in 1982, one year after I was born.

The local children’s choir are now dancing to local disco type music outside my window – some of our group are out joining them while I’m staying warm in my Mummy Sleeping Bag!

On our third day of trekking today I felt the first sign of muscle fatigue, it was in my lower calf muscles – perhaps it could be my achilles tendons and/or soleus muscles…. It might be time to start stretching in the evenings and also along the way – when we stop. I also felt some very slight fatigue in my lower back however I generally feel quite fit and physically handling the exercise side of things pretty ok so far – to spite having the runs for the past two days!

It’s time for dinner again (7pm) and then I’m hoping to get a big deep sleep ahead of tomorrow’s longer hike. I’m not sure if we elevate much tomorrow however after today’s definition (on paper) as an easier day – I don’t expect it to be easy – after all, we don’t have much oxygen up here and we’re already starting to feel the muscles fatigue.

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More tomorrow….

Monday 29th October 2019 (Third day trekking)

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