Engineer Darren Wenn begins his training for the seven-day adventure
My wife Sarah and I will have to hike for seven days to reach the top, camping each night. The final summit night will begin at about midnight, when we will climb though the night to hopefully reach the top at dawn and see the glaciers, in the middle of Africa. At the summit, the air density is only 40% of that at sea level, so altitude is a real challenge. In order to be ready, we would have to start training straight away!
Sarah bought me a gym membership for Christmas. I think she was hinting at something, but it was a great present. This would allow us to really get fit together, and the final goal of Kilimanjaro would help keep us going (also having to pay for a gym membership tends to encourage attendance!). Coupled with this, we would try to get away from work and into the hills.
I’m not sure about other people, but I tend to find training and exercise a lot easier when I’ve got something to focus on. A 5895m mountain tends to do that. In the meantime, we also decided that we would do a few charity bike rides interspersed with hiking…an awful lot of hiking!
May and June were the cross-training months in our training plan. We’ve mountain biked on and off for a few years. Nothing major, but it provides a great alternative way of still enjoying the outdoors. One of my colleagues has spent quite a bit of time recently working on e-Bikes, which sound like a great idea—especially if you could fit the drive to a mountain bike. But, for now, we have to power ourselves up those darn hills.
We entered two charity cycle rides, a small local one of 50 miles and the London to Brighton bike ride. The L2B is the largest charity bike ride in the UK, with 27000 cyclists travelling the 60 miles from London down to the coast. Near the end of this ride is a really tough hill called Ditchling Beacon, which has a 10% gradient. Coming after 50 miles of cycling, it just goes on and on, so most people have to get off and push up it.
Darren at the L2B
After riding two previous L2Bs and pushing both times, this year I managed it all in one go without stopping! I was so excited I let out a loud whoop at the top and nearly caused a woman to fall off her bike in surprise. But the great news was that I’d managed what I couldn’t do in previous years. Maybe all the gym time was starting to pay off.
Darren Wenn is a Principal Field Applications Engineer:
UK, Ireland & Benelux, for Microchip Technology. He lives just
outside of London with his long-suffering wife, Sarah. In his role with
Microchip, Darren primarily works on large systems that utilize
Microchip’s higher end 16- and 32-bit PIC® microcontrollers.