For some time now I’ve been off kilter. Specifically since August 10th of last year. Why August 10th? That’s the day my dad died. Dementia took him. It was horrible to watch.
Everybody deals with grief differently. I know this. I never realized it would affect me this way. Up until his health began to decline I was active. I was motivated. I was doing. Since? meh. It’s had a profound effect on me. I’ve found myself retreating to my own corner of the world. I feel like I’ve alienated myself. I’m unmotivated. I’m going through the motions. I’m phoning it in as they say.
I hear of so many people who have a close bond to a parent. A mom. A dad. A grandparent. An uncle or aunt even. A really tight bond. Best friends, some would say. I don’t think I had that with my dad. Or at least I didn’t think I did. Don’t get me wrong, the relationship I had wasn’t contemptuous or distant. Just not buddy buddy. My dad just wasn’t that type of person anyway. But I find myself missing the various interactions we DID have. I miss being able to talk with him and teach him about the Tour de France. I miss being able to tell and show him the new installs on the RV or the latest gadget I discovered. I miss the quirky way he always answered our weekly Sunday phone calls. I just miss him.
When he died, I told him that I would honor him in some way. I vowed that, in 2023, I would do something, anything, to memorialize his struggle. On June 21st, the longest day of the year, I will do just that. I’m going to push myself physically and mentally harder than I’ve ever pushed myself before. My dad struggled for months. I can struggle for one day.
I’ll be vEveresting beginning at 4am on June 21st, riding my bike on my indoor trainer and climbing the equivalent of Mt. Everest in a single activity. 8,848 meters. That’s 5.5 miles of going up. It WILL take me the better part of the longest day to complete. The official Everesting website has me completing it in about 15 hours – only an estimate.
I’m by no means the first to attempt/accomplish this and will not be the last. I’ve known about this challenge for years now, but have never had the interest in completing it. Until now. You see, the Alzheimer’s Association has “adopted” the longest day of the year as their day of fighting for this terrible disease – “The day with the most light is the day we fight®.”
Yes, it’s a fundraiser, but I’m doing this for a couple of reasons. Mainly, my dad. Secondly, I think I need to push through this wall I’ve created and come back. Back to work. Back to the world. Back to myself. You can certainly donate at any time, but more importantly, at least for me, join me. Join me in the fight. Join me on the ride itself. If you’re on Zwift, find me, follow me, ride with me.
I’m not great at fundraising. I’ll let the Alzheimer’s Association handle that part. But you CAN donate if you’re so moved. I’m simply going to ride.
Questions or Comments?
Good on you.
I did it in 2022 to prove to myself that I could do it and rather than raise funds I’d raise awareness for inflammatory bowel disease.
Only advice I would give is don’t quit around the 5th climb when it suddenly hits you. I did 9 assents.
If I’m available I’ll pop on n join you if I can.
Much appreciated. I would love the company.
Nicely written and great message. Work schedule allowing, I’ll throw on my ATP kit and join you for what I can.
Shaun, this writing captures the enormity of your loss. And the enormity of your June 21 seems a fitting tribute! Thank you for sharing this. Ed
That third paragraph really speaks to me. Like you I had neither a buddy-buddy nor distant relationship with my dad. It’s been almost 7 years now and I still think about him nearly everyday. I miss just being able to talk with him about nothing. I’m gonna try to remember to join you for at least a climb or two. Good luck.
Thanks for sharing and best of luck! I have loved competing against and look forward to cheering for you on the 21st. Team SNOW wishes you both but the best!
Thank you SNOW!
So sorry for your loss. What a beautiful way to honor your dad. In my calendar to ride a bit with you- from your team SNOW friends.
What a beautiful way to honor your father. Dementia and like diseases are so awful. I still vividly remember, 25 years later, the first time my great-grandmother asked who I was. It was heartbreaking.
I wish I could join you…I had actually earmarked this June for a vEveresting attempt myself due to the annual Strava challenge, however I’ll be out of town on the 21st. Best of luck!
Thank You for sharing your story. Sorry for your loss. I’ll be cheering you on and I’m going to set my alarm and hopefully join you for some time if only to drive you, push you, encourage you and give you a Million Thumbs 👍 up for what you are doing.
Beautifully written and wonderful message! Strength, courage and perseverance in the tough times will get you through. I’ll look to join you for some climbing on the 21st.
Very movingly written, and a noble challenge.
I’ve been thinking about doing this forever (though in the context of this article, not for any reasons other than personal challenge) but have never just set a time down. Maybe it’s time? Would improve the experience I think, for it to have a connection in supporting you on your way.
Hopefully I can drop in and join but either way, best of luck and ideally some healthy catharsis for you
@Shaun Galang What timezone are you in for the 4am start?