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Yak Attack: Stage 8 Manang-> Phedi

By April 5, 2012March 22nd, 2017No Comments

It was cold this morning at the start. We had a bowl of porridge and toast for breakfast. We all sat on the thrid floor deck in the sun (and freezing) until the start. I had the most clothes on today so far – leg warmers, knee warmers, arm warmers, short sleeve jersey, buff, and a long sleeve jersey.

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BRRR!

The start was tough. Lots of fast, steep hiking. It started to even out and I could ride for awhile, but then I had to walk.

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Photo credit: Nepal Sutra

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Photo cred: Nepal Sutra
I had to carry a lot in my backpack each day. I stuffed it with everything I needed for the race, and a bunch of clothes and an extra pair of shoes for when I finished since the porters would take several hours longer than us. Normally, I’d carry gortex jacket and pants, Adidas Adizero running shoes, down pants, down jacket, a dry wicking tshirt, a hat, and socks… or else waiting for the bags to arrive was a bitterly cold experience. It only took once for me to start carrying all the extra stuff.

It was tough at the altitude. I couldn’t make my legs go so I sang Dire Straits to Cefin(he said he liked them( who was behind me (and later overtook me). I rode most of the day around Gareth.

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Gareth is the red dot on the trail.

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The trail was bench cut and really fun, but the altitude made it really tough to ride.

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Definitely losing the “spunk” I normally have. It shows in this video.

One part was a sketchy landslide!

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Today, there were 3 suspension bridges. One valley we went through had some really hairy yaks. It was really cool to be in a valley at 14,000′ surrounded by huge mountains and a deep, blue sky. 11 miles took me 2 hr 49 min! I loved the course and terrain today. I think it was my favorite. I had a raging headache when I finished.

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Phedi sits at almost 15,000′… (and the flush buckets in the bathroom were frozen. Imagine that joy)

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Jeff was out there for a very long time. We got word someone turned around and I had a lump in my throat. I found out it was Craig who was also sick. I walked down the trail to see if I could find Jeff. With each footstep, my head throbbed. I didn’t see him down the trail.

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The problem is that if something happens, you can’t just stop and have someone come get you. It’s a several day journey to get back the way you came, and you have to walk back. Jeff wanted to get up and over the pass where there would be a road on the other side vs. 3-4 days of walking to get back to Besi Sahar. We were definitely isolated.

Jeff came in after several hours, moving slowly.
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Jeff slogging in

The view around Phedi (which is basically just a hotel) is so insane. One of the mountains is a huge glacier. I was thankful that I could sit in awe and enjoy it.

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The crew at Phedi

Jeff was not in good shape after he got in. He was coughing nonstop and looked terrible. I felt deeply saddened to see him like that and to know the disappointment he is feeling. The docs were trying to convince him to take a yak over the pass the next day. He didn’t want to listen to them or give up despite being so sick that he could barely sit up. I had a chat that I did not want to have with him, “Is going over that pass worth risking your life over?” -NO. He is pale and weak. By the end of the night, they had given him an IV and he was so weak he could barely move.

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Absolutely heartbreaking to watch…and even more heartbreaking for him.

I feel bad leaving him tomorrow, but Gandhi said he’d take care of him. I must keep going.

My alarm is set for 2:30 AM. Our start is at 4 AM. Tomorrow I face my fear. Can I make it up and over 17,769′?

……

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