"Going blind is one of the best things that's ever happened to me." - Living Adventurously 24

Steve Bate has a condition that is slowly robbing him of his eyesight. He has now lost most of his vision, and because the condition is degenerative, Steve will go blind. He was devastated when he heard the optician tell him that he was going blind. Steve was working as an outdoor instructor at the time. It was 3 months before he began to find his way out of depression. By then, he worked out there wasn’t much he could do about his degenerating eyesight. But he had total control over what he did next. Just like everyone else, Steve isn't going to be on this planet forever, so he might as well make every moment count. And how much he let his condition get in the way of that was completely up to him.

Steve Bate has a condition that is slowly robbing him of his eyesight. He has now lost most of his vision, and because the condition is degenerative, Steve will go blind.
He was devastated when he heard the optician tell him that he was going blind. Steve was working as an outdoor instructor at the time. It was 3 months before he began to find his way out of depression. By then, he worked out there wasn’t much he could do about his degenerating eyesight. But he had total control over what he did next. Just like everyone else, Steve isn't going to be on this planet forever, so he might as well make every moment count. And how much he let his condition get in the way of that was completely up to him. 
In his own words, "I had a dream and I set myself a goal: to solo climb El Capitan. It took six days to climb, sleeping on a portable ledge suspended hundreds of feet above the valley each night, and I cried when I got to the top. Let’s just say that it was the best experience of my life. 
When I got back from El Cap, I dreamt even bigger: the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. After two years of training, I was selected for Paralympics GB and won two gold medals, a bronze, and smashed the world record in the 4km pursuit.
Now, I’m not going to indulge in any false modesty here. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. But the point is, I'm not super-talented, I'm just a normal guy. All I do is dream big, set myself a goal, and then do everything I can to make it happen. 
We all have obstacles in our lives: stuff that life throws at us, or barriers we put in ourselves. I’m trying to highlight that there’s not much that you can’t overcome, or at least work around, with the right mind set. I'm still terrified of losing my sight, but I have to keep living while I still can see. Since my diagnosis in 2011, I've had some of the best moments in my life, just because I refused to let something stand in my way."

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SHOW NOTES

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  • @stevebatembe
  • Kiss or Kill
  • Gym Jones
  • Extreme Alpinism
  • Mark Twight essay - man in the mirror
  • Winning medals is what I'm paid to do, but I actually hate racing. I'd rather train for the rest of my life.
  • I want to measure myself and get the most out of myself.
  • We get given our bodies for free, they are our most valuable asset, but so many of us neglect them
  • It's good to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  • Cycling as a sport is science. It's totally different to cycling as adventure, which is the biggest passion I have.
  • I am visually-impaired and at some point I am going to go blind.
  • Extreme training or extreme sloth - neither are good things.
  • I was training to become a mountain guide when I got this eyesight diagnosis. I fell apart, trying to find a new identity
  • Karen Darke
  • "I'm going to go blind." "Oh great, you can race on a tandem."
  • Solo-ed El Capitan - I thought it was impossible. But if I've done that, then I realised anything's possible.
  • If you put your mind to something and invest 100% in it, you can achieve anything.
  • When I go blind I don't want to be bitter so I'm cramming in all that I can
  • Going blind is partially exciting - the thought of 'wow' - what will it be like?!
  • Most people in the paralympic squad feel pleased that the bad thing has happened to them 
  • Failure for me now is not trying, not committing
  • Going blind is one of the best things that's ever happened to me.
  • It takes something horrific to latch on to living a full life
  • Walking my dog every day is good headspace
  • The thing I am most scared of is not fulfilling my potential
  • You have to think on the process not the outcome if you want to achieve something big.

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You can see my ride’s route on komoot here.

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© 2019 Alastair Humphreys