The Chris Davis Project: Week 9
This week – Chris makes it to the peak of “Joe’s Mountain” for the first time since arriving in Vermont.
Chris Davis started out at almost 700lbs. He’s lost over 300lbs so far. Follow his Spartan journey as he attempts to get below 200lbs and complete the Spartan Ultra Beast in September.
6/9/2012: Mountain Climbing, Bears, and The Breaking Point
Saturday morning started early. I hate waking up at 3 am to be at Joe’s house by 3:30am – but there is usually a reason for this, and today this would be no exception. When I got to Joe’s house I was surprised to see Jeff Godin, Tammy Godin, Jason Jaksetic and Joe.
The 5 of us head up the mountain at 3:45 am. I was caring Wilson (my 25 lbs Spartan Pancake) , and everyone else took turns carrying Moab (Mother of all Bag’s – Joe’s 100lb Pancake). It is funny how everything feels like a dream at 4 in the morning; nothing seams real. We made real good time up the road, and as we dug into the steep trail I kept thinking about how this was going to be the furthest I have been up the mountain to date. I keep thinking about all time times I had attempted to climb this mountain and failed. As we passed the location where I had turned around last time, I started to get a sense of accomplishment because last time I did not even have Wilson with me and I was exhausted. But this time was different. I was a little tired, but overall I felt good.
As we made the next turn up the hill, I saw a bunch of logs sitting on the side of the road and I knew that these were going to be used for the upcoming Death Race. So I was nervous when Joe had me put Wilson down. He walked up and down the logs, and said “Let’s take this one to the cabin”. So we all went to that log and picked it up. To say it was heavy was an understatement – it was 25 feet long and over 18 inches in diameter at places. It took all of us working together to get it up in the air and then hold it over our heads. At this point I got very nervous because I have no upper body strength. After a few minutes we started to rest the log on our shoulders as we walked. For me this was a double edged sword because I have lost a lot of the padding in my shoulders, so every time I would take a step I would hurt as my shoulder slammed against the log.
As we were walking, I had a bit of a reality check… Here I am in the middle of Vermont, carrying a log on my shoulder with 4 other people. Is this a dream, because this is not something I could ever imagine myself doing a few short months ago? After what seemed to take forever we made it to the cabin; my shoulder was throbbing. I was a little heart broken when I found out that this was the lower of the 2 cabins. After a few minutes of doing some burpees, and some other exercises we picked the log back up and went back down the hill.
Everything was going great until I lost my footing and down I went. It all happened in slow motion. I remember my foot starting to slip on a rock, then I knew I was in trouble so I let go of the log so that I would not pull everyone over. Then for some reason, instead of trying to brace for the impact like I would normally do, I decided to tuck and roll. I wonder if this because of the kung-fu or what, but it worked great. I hit my knee on a rock, but for the most part I was good. I did not break anything and I was able to get back up and continue on. Joe joked, saying it looked like I was faking it, because of how well I rolled and took the impact. It was that moment I realized that, yes, he is pushing me, but he is doing it because he really cares. I know that I do not always agree with him (ok most of the time I do not agree with him) but that is OK. Sometime we need that person to push us beyond our limits, and if there is one thing Joe is good at, it is pushing people past their personal boundaries.
As we got back to the logs, we met up with the film crew and continued up the mountain to the top cabin. The path was wet and slippery, and as we went up my knee got worse and worse. But we pressed on, and after a while we made it to the top. Talk about an indescribable view. It made me feel like we were the only people left on the planet – there was fog in the valleys, and incredible calm around as the sun was just peaking over the mountains. I was grateful that the film crew was with us, because it gave me some time to sit back and enjoy the beauty of the site as they interviewed Joe and Jeff.
After the interviews were over we headed back down the mountain. Once on the valley floor we headed Jason’s driveway when, out of nowhere, a black bear ran across our path about 50 feet ahead of us. So once again I had to ask myself if this was real or a dream, and yea it was real… The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, but by the time the day was over I had walked 13.2 miles. A great day in my book considering we had summited the mountain, and I had Wilson with me the whole day.
Sunday, also started out early – I was on the road by 4 am. The plan was to walk to the Trailside Lodge and back. But overnight my knee and hip started to really act up, so I grabbed Wilson and headed up the mountain instead. I made it up to the end of the road and headed back down. Once I got to the main road I headed towards the lodge and I had made it about 2 of the 5 miles there when my hip popped out and then back in. When it happened I decided to turn back towards town because the closer you get to the lodge, the worse the cellphone reception gets. And I was alone, so my phone was my only backup in case things went really bad.
So I headed back towards town and continued on. Everything started to really hurt, but I was determined to get my mileage in. It was shortly after this that Joe showed up. I explained what was going on and we decided to adjust the route to keep it a little closer to town in case we ran into additional problems. Also Joe had Courtney, his wife, and the kids join us to keep me from giving up, and calling it a day early. Every mile that passed, I stated to have more and more pain until we got to the end of the walk at the General Store. I was bummed that I had not made my goal of 13 miles for the day, I had only been able to walk 10.67 miles, and I was done. The problem was I still had to walk back to the house. So I took some time and ate a couple of oranges for breakfast and got some water. I started to feel a little better so when I left, I headed towards the farm, instead of back to my house, but within a half mile, my body started to give me problems again, so I turned back around and headed home.
While passing through town I bumped back into Joe, Courtney and the kids, and we decided to take the trails back to Joe’s house, this way we could keep the kids off of route 100. There was only one problem, there was a gate blocking the bridge that crosses the river. Joe had headed back to get the car so it was just us. We got everyone else over the gate, and I was the last to go… Because of the way the gate was attached it was not stable enough for me to climb over directly so, I had to climb over the rail of the bridge, slide past the gate, and climb back over the rail. Not that big of a deal, for most people, but remember, I am not a graceful person. My body had gone through a lot of changes in the last few months, and I do not trust myself yet. Add to this the fact that my hip and knee are destroyed from over 20+ miles in the last two days. But for some reason that did not stop me… I got up and climbed over and away I went…
I had a couple of moments where I was sure I was screwed, but I found a way to do it. I was so upset that Joe had sent us this way because I was sure he knew there was a gate on the bridge, and that was why he chose to go and get the car, but looking back on it I am glad he did. I would have never tried climbing over the rails on a bridge if he had not send me that way. It is something I will always remember, and I am so glad that I did it. I still don’t trust my body yet, but it is things like this that will help me get to that point.
By the time I made it home that night I had completed 12.42 miles. Close to the 13 mile mark but not quite there. When I got home I just collapsed, I was sure my day was over until the phone rang. It was Joe; he wanted me back on the road… So at 5:51 pm I was back on the road with Joe, Courtney, and Wilson. We headed back up the mountain, and we made it all the way back up to the T in the road and I headed back down. When we got back to my house, I told Joe and Courtney good night I was done. They wanted me to continue down Joe’s house but I couldn’t go any further. But they would not take no for an answer and for the first time since getting here I completely held my ground. I finally got to the point where I said, ”I do not want to be rude, but No, I am done, have a good night.” I walked back up my driveway took a shower and fell asleep. My total, millage for Sunday was 14.06 miles.
So this weekend I walked over 27 miles, and climbed over 6,600 feet of elevation. I made it to the top of Joe’s mountain, saw a black bear, and climbed over the side of a bridge. It took me almost 15 hours, but I survived!
READ last week’s blog http://blog.spartanrace.com/the-chris-davis-project-week-8/
Tags: Chris Davis Project