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Toktok to Namche Bazaar.
by Denis Oakley in

I woke up early - feeling a bit muzzy. I'd been very hot during the night - the sleeping bag was too good for the altitude and I'd also felt quite thirsty - but not sufficiently thirsty to have my energy drink which was all I had available in the tent.

I thought I'd woken up late and so decided not to go for a run but eventually got up and out of the tent. It was 0530. Cool. Enough time for a run before tea time at 0630. I headed out feeling pretty fit and strong. My garmin died after a few minutes which was really irritating as I'd thought it was about 95% full.

I ran out about 15 minutes and back in about the same. Lung capacity was much improved as was power going up hills and general agility and speed over the track. It was a quick out and back to continue to push the acclimatisation a bit more. Going up hills fast is still a no no. The strength is there - but my vision starts to grey out around the edges. Oxygen debt on a pretty severe basis. Going downhill fast causes similar problems.
We had another relatively easy day. After breakfast and after another stretching set I we headed off along the track to the park entrance. I'd loaded my back pack quite heavy to add a bit more stress. Still light compared to my mountaineering days but large compared to other people.

I wore  my salomon trail shoes today in preference to my boots. BEautiful. They're heavier than my innovate flyrocs but I have great grip and I spent loads of time bouncing along from rock to rock along the side of the path.

Again the day was pretty easy with long halts to allow the group to regroup. Lunch was by the side of the river and me being me was tempted by a cold dip. I didn't tell anyone that I was heading down to river but I still picked up a an audeince of other happy campers. Talk about the stress as I;d stripped down to myt tri shorts.

The river is a milky white due to the dissolved minerals and was poitely described by obne of the french campers as 'une torrente". I found a secluded pool and eased my finger tip in. Fuck. It came out quickly. Then my leg went in. My bones ached with a deep throbbing pain within a few seconds. Then I slid into the river. Oooh. I then wased hurridly and then immersed my head. Then the pain hit.

I came out of the water so fast in absolute agony. I stuffed my hands down my shorts and cuped my balls trying to warm them up and stop the pain. It stopped after a few minutes but it was distinctly unpleasant and highly amusing. Inspired by endeabours a femnale member of the cast also jumed into the river. Lacking a bra she stripped off her top and jumped in to whoop from the speactators.

I was truly glad I was married because I felt quite comfortable sitting with my back to the action as I got dressed. Virtuous or what :)

After lunch we headed on towards Namche and the 600m climb which the guide had been trying to horrify us with. There were some pretty cool bridges along the way and lots of porters carrying building materials up to Namche. A hard job when you have 80kgs on your back suspended by a band around your forehead. Tough.

Once across the last bridge it was a long slow haul up to Namche bazaar. I walked at a pace that I felt comfortable with and with a determination not to stop. I felt uncomfortable a few times but never in discomfort or pain. I slowly worked my way through the group and by the time I reached the top I'd overtaken the lead sherpa. Whoops.

Namche was a lot colder than TokTok and I stripped off my - shirt straight away and put a fleece and windproof on.   Then being a man on a mission headed off to find a tibetan restaurant for a meal of momos. Think dim sum but only one type! Tasty - I had those with potato curry and chapati and lots of chilli sauce washed down by litres of tea. Great. Proper food for the first time.

The air is a lot thinner at Namche than down below - the 600m make a huge difference. I am feeling increasingly strong and confident and some of the guys aren't talking to me because they're feeling a bit competitve. I don't feel much of a threat but a couple of people have mentioned that I have good form and lkook strong. We'll see.

That said I do feel very happy with where i am and am increasingly happy and optimistic. Actually I'm totallyt hyper and happy and probably a menace to people around me. Very relaxed and assuming that there are no disasters waiting for me at home to disrupt all this powerful positive energy building up inside m - I am going to be very emotional powerful and giving for the next few monthgs. I feel incredibly free and able to do so much.

Emotionally I am really trying to give and suport a lot of my fellow team members. Some have martial problems, some psychological issues with confidence or other things, some are negative sinks. Their problems are not my problems. They have to deal with them in their own way - but I can be a pillar of optimism encouraging them and in some way lightening the load. I hope it helps - and from the feedback I'm getting it does seem to be appreciated.

I'm starting to babble now. I still don't have internet access - but am hoping to be able to post this tomorrow sometime when I can get to an internet cafe.

And above all I am missing Senay and Maya. Big kisses to you both. xxx


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