Apologies for all the posts but, with so much to raise, these will be boring you (or hopefully entertaining you) for the next few months. This weekend saw the birthday of the Egyptian ‘Pyramid Dancing’ legend himself, Kareem ‘Habibi’ Sharaf, and gave me a good excuse for a big couple of days on the bike. Kareem’s birthday was being held in the stunning Seoraksan Mountains at Min’s cabin, a place a lot of us ‘Waygook’s’ (foreigners) have got to know well over the last 2 years. These mountains are stunning, some of the most beautiful and striking I’ve ever seen.
I set of early enough to still see some of the sun rise Saturday morning. I took the coastal bike road on the way there, which added a good 30 km to the overall distance, but is worth it for the views. From Samcheok, to Yangyang, it was a route which hugged the coast line for 120 km, with some tough but short hill climbs in consistently along the way. I pushed hard and was in YangYang by around 1pm. From here it’s around 35 km to Min’s, although it’s almost entirely up hill. This next bit took me a total of four hours! Taking an hours lunch in a scenic spot along the route turned out to be a big mistake. The storm which had been predicted for much later suddenly rolled in. Lightning was circling around me and I had 10 km left right over a mountain pass…almost 1o% gradient the whole way up! With ‘What would Bear Gryll’s do?’ going through my head, I took shelter and waited it out for around an hour. I wasn’t tempted in this time to drink my own urine or find some deer droppings to snack on as Bear would undoubtedly do, instead opting for the water and food I’d brought with me. After an hour, the storm had lifted enough and the clouds had thinned so I could see my hand in front of my face again. Scared another storm was coming in, I blasted out the last 10 km and received a warm welcome from everyone worried waiting for me at the cabin.
After a few beers and some great company, I packed up my tent and headed off early on the Sunday morning. Riding all the way back to YangYang down hill after such a slog was such a reward, and the views were amazing. I followed the road home which shaved off 30 km. I barely stopped, keen to get home and have a good nights sleep. All was going so well when disaster struck, right at the worst moment. Going through a tunnel, my derailleur fell to pieces and my chain wedged itself firmly into the back of my rear cassette. After an hour of putting everything back together, the bike limped the remaining 40 km on one gear setting, and I was finally home.
Over 300 km’s in two days was a good practice for the long journey to come. I was walking like John Wayne Sunday evening, the saddle legs had well and truly set in. The ride itself and the training beforehand are only part of the big picture. Raising such a large amount of money for a great cause is the real challenge that lies ahead. For those who want to get behind this, please sponsor a mile as soon as you can. The quicker I raise money means the more publicity I can generate, and overall, the more money I can raise for children who desperately need some happiness in their lives. Please use the link below or follow the link under the menu and sponsor a mile for a beautiful cause.