Min’s Final Farewell…Take Two

I thought I would never get another opportunity to climb the beautiful, winding roads of Seoraksan. However, my final weekend in Korea I got to enjoy our home-away-from home and have one last weekend at Min’s cabin.

With the legend himself around a year ago…neither of us were tempted to bring out the tandem for this ride!
With the legend himself around a year ago…neither of us were tempted to bring out the tandem for this ride!

My final weekend in Korea saw us celebrate the birthday of one of the nicest ‘okes’ I’ve ever met, Riaan a.k.a.‘Braai Master’ Bam. We travelled to our little known retreat, deep in the stunning mountains of Seorak, for a weekend of catch-ups and farewells. This was my last chance to see some great friends and a final opportunity for one last, big ride through the rolling mountains of Korea.

This early morning was a tough one to get up for. The sound of the rain hitting my bedroom window was enough to keep me in bed for 15 more minutes.
This early morning was a tough one to get up for. The sound of the rain hitting my bedroom window was enough to keep me in bed for 15 more minutes.

I started the 153 km journey at 5am—waking up to a strong downpour and some miserable head winds. As the sun began to rise, the rain died down and I made good time as I rolled along the highway to the town of YangYang. Here, the long 33 km climb uphill to Min’s began. My lungs were burning the first few hours of the ride, not from the cycling but from the classics I was belting out to keep my spirits high (greeted to some dubious looks from passers by). My day was almost ruined when an old man decided that deviation wasn’t an option and instead chose to drive right at me whilst I was waiting for lights to change. I hopped out the way, offered a few ‘choice’ words to let the driver know of my displeasure, and then set about climbing the mountain road one last time.

One good thing about a cheap training bike…plenty of opportunities to fix it #silverlining
One good thing about a cheap training bike…plenty of opportunities to fix it #silverlining

I was tiring but made quick progress up one of the most stunning roads I have ever had the pleasure to journey on. I had a 40-minute break, having to deal with a puncture that I had real trouble finding. However, I got back on my way, reaching my Korean paradise just in time for bucket loads of Korean food to see me right for the weekend.

At the top one last time.
At the top one last time.

I could not have asked for a better last weekend to finish what has been an unreal last 2 years in South Korea. Leaving on an incredible high is bittersweet, but as hard as it is to say goodbye, I’ll be leaving with unparalleled memories. My third time making the long journey to the mountains and it’s nice to know I’m now in the strongest condition I’ve been since I started training for this back in February.

Training in the gym had finished for the next 11 months!
Training in the gym had finished for the next 11 months!

We are almost at 25% of the target total, which at this stage in the journey is something to be proud of. I cannot thank all of those who have sponsored the cause so far, as I’m eternally grateful. I have one more week in Korea before I leave for home and then I’m off to start this long challenge. Training in the gym is now finished as I am set about packing up my things and getting ready to say the final goodbye. I cannot thank the biggest ‘bro’ in my life, the beautifully amazing Amy (Amelz) Campbell, for pushing me through the 5 am wake up calls for the past 6 months. I have rarely seen her without a smile on her face and she’s been an incredible source of motivation—more than she might know.

The brofessor herself…Amelz made getting up at 5am everyday s breeze.
The brofessor herself…Amelz made getting up at 5am everyday s breeze.

I think it’s fitting to end this week’s story with a tribute to my old man, who died 5 years ago last weekend. This journey is in the memory of my sister, but the thought of my dad will be with me along the entirety of the ride. We all miss him enormously, but I know the thought of doing this in the memory of Laura would bring him enormous pleasure. Two weeks to go and a whole lot to organise between then. Please keep spreading the word and if you would like to become a supporter, please sponsor a mile today.

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