McKie High: To Base Camp on a Bike
Repost Surf Coast Times.
You could go a lifetime without experiencing an adventure the size that Jacob McKie is about to embark on.
The 13-year-old from Torquay is putting his foot down and cycling to Everest Base Camp@journey2everestbc.
On September 10, Jacob and his father Andy will head off to join Serk Cycling, where they will ride a bike from the eastern side of Tibet through to Lhasa and then onto Everest Base Camp on the China/Nepal border.
Jacob said the trip had been over a year in the making, countless 5.30am wake up rides, a minimum 200km per week on the bike, paper runs to save money for equipment and an unwavering dedication to doing what needed to be done.
“Saturday mornings at 5.30am I’ve been riding with a bunch of cyclists in their 40s, I’m the youngest. Most of the rides I go with Dad who is coming on the trip with me,” he said.
“I was doing my first triathlon last year and I went into it with a mountain bike, the other guys were whipping past me on their road bikes. I said to mum and dad I wanted one (road bike) so they said I better go out and get a job.
“I got my first bike this January after saving up money from my paper round with the Surf Coast Times.”
It was during one of the numerous adventure races Jacob was competing in with his dad that a fellow competitor mentioned a ride she’d done recently to Mt Everest Base Camp.
“I started thinking I wanted to do that, I researched it and got in touch with the owner of Serk Cycling, Shannon, whose parents live in Torquay. He flew out and had a meeting with us last November.”
Shannon Bufton said the 13-day trip covers about 700 kilometres, with his company the only one running road cycling trips on the Chinese side of the mountain.
“In 2016 a new road was paved to Everest Base Camp in Tibet. It’s a spectacular trip that provides insights into the life and culture of ordinary Tibetans as you pass through the villages on the side of the road.
“The roads ridden on are some of the highest in the world. The riders tackle six passes over 5,000 metres in height and will be challenged by the lack of available oxygen at these heights. The road finishes at Everest Base Camp right at the base of the towering mountain.”
Mr Bufton said as far as he was aware, Jacob would be the youngest person to take on the adventure, and was the youngest to have been on one of his tours.
“I met Jacob back in November last year. I was impressed with his sense of adventure and his interest in training hard for the challenge. I’ve been following him for the past few months on Instagram and have seen that he has been training consistently in the wee hours before school which shows great dedication and determination,” he said.
Jacob said a late sponsorship from Bike Force Docklands and BMC meant he was able to purchase a new bike after his old bike was damaged as a junior ambassador.
“I found out four weeks ago it had two irreparable cracks in it. Luckily the bike mechanic dad took it to told him about the junior ambassador program. I was able to get a new bike at a discount and bike clothing and other cool stuff.”
When it comes to the ride itself he said he was looking forward to sharing the experiencing with his Dad who he has always admired.
“When you’re riding you’re in the moment and you’re thinking about the end goal. You’ve got blood running around, when you get off the bike that’s when you think about how tough it was and how cool it’s going to be doing it at Everest.
“It feels special to be able to do this dad, amazing and really good bonding time. The real inspiration for me was watching my dad’s adventure around the world. He did Kilimanjaro and paddled the Bass Strait, it inspired me to step up and do something myself.”