This week’s blog is from our inspiring K2 Ambassador Sophie Radcliffe (@challengesophie) talking us through the mountain mindset and lessons from the pain cave. It’s another exclusive inside track from Sophie’s extraordinary story…
The Mountain Mindset
I believe the mind is the most powerful tool we own and there is nothing more valuable than showing to yourself how powerful yours really is.
The question is: how do you go about proving it?
Putting myself through it
At the end of August I took to the mountains for a week of gruelling cycling in a seven-day race from Nice to Geneva. With a total of 800km in distance, and climbing 2.4 times the height of Mount Everest, it was a true test in mental endurance and sheer grit to complete the race.
Some days the pain was so acute it broke me to tears. I reached limits I’ve not felt for a long time and spent a lot of time questioning why I was doing this, why I felt it was important, and necessary, to subject myself to that level of suffering.
Lessons from the Pain Cave
Seven hours a day, seven days in a row pushed to my absolute limit, is a tough gig. It stripped me right to the core of who I am, and left me with no place to hide. The mountains in particular have a way of doing that to you. As hard as it may feel at the time, to sit in that space and endure, I do it for a very compelling reason.
In that space, I may feel like I have nothing left to give, but I know I have to find a way to continue. It’s here that an incredibly valuable change occurs, a shift in the mind.
We talk about strength, resilience, courage and determination. We are not born with these powers like we are born with different coloured hair and eyes. They do not come easier to one person than the next.
Just as with any skill, any muscle, any language or any sport, the more we practise them, the stronger and more like second nature they become.
My personal goal is to know I can rely on my strength, resilience, courage and determination like old friends. Friends that have known me forever, ones I can rely on to always be there and weather the storm with me when times get tough.
The Ultimate Package
Cycling is my passion. I also love travelling and I can’t say no to an epic challenge. When opportunities arise to push myself to the limit, in a beautiful and inspiring environment with great people, the answer from me is always a resounding yes!
Despite how much it might hurt, I find value in reminding myself that with the right mindset and training we can do anything.