When my friend asked me if I wanted to attempt to Everest on my bike—climb the equivalent height of the 29,029-foot mountain in a single ride—I gave my answer little thought. “I’m in,” read my little blue text message. That was it.
Fast forward to mile 150, just under 20,000 feet of climbing, and I was totally broken. How did I end up here, picking my way along a rock-strewn section of cracked pavement, blown off my line by the howling wind in the pitch dark? I yelled at my handlebars and at the blackness around me, Why am I here?