|Bike and my two sleds with the Thiels Mountains|
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
I spent the day sleeping and repacking all my gear. The bike has been stripped down as light as possible and I left all my extra food and gear to be taken by ALE back to base camp. I don't know how much my new load weighs, but I think I left behind more weight than what I have moving forward. My goal is to get 1/4 of a degree each day. This would give me 20 days of travel and 3 rest days, getting my to the south pole by around the 20th of January.
Saturday, December 28, 2013
In some ways, you could look at this expedition as a three part journey. The first part was the climb up from the coast of Hercules inlet. It was the steepest part and hopefully the softest snow, and very difficult. The second would be from near Patriot Hills to Thiels mountain, which is what I have just completed. It was still very hard, but they have driven machines from Patriot Hills to here so there has been a packed trail to follow. This should have been the best biking conditions of the journey. The third and final section starts now. From here on, there is no more packed route and there is a lot of climbing. Hopefully, the snow is harder now than it was during the first section. But other than that it will be a lot like the first section. The weight of the sleds killed me on those first days. Trying to pull all that weight up those slopes was just too much. If the next section goes as bad as the first I will never make it. So here is the plan: I'm going ultra weight weenie. I'm going to get rid of my brakes, my big chain ring, water bottle cages, racks and panniers. I will tape over the bolt holes for the cages and the racks so I don't get snow and extra weight in the bike and I'm getting rid of the bolts. There is a lot of gear I brought that I just don't need. I brought a bunch of charging wires and electronic stuff that I'm not taking the rest of the way. I think there is more weight in the gear I will drop than what I'm picking up in my resupply so I should be the lightest I've been up to this point. By going as light as possible I think I can still get the 16 miles per day and complete the expedition.
I started the day tired and not wanting to ride. I recorded some video but just didn't have the strength to work like I should. It was cloudy and low contrast, making it hard to see. So while the snow conditions were great, I just wasn't doing well and I had my worst crash so far. When I started, I had a bunch of honey stinger waffles and sport beans. There were heavy so I ate them as fast as I could. I ran out of waffles yesterday. If you don't seal your zip top sandwich bags, you will spill your beans. They ended up being a gooey mess in the bottom of my pannier, but I had eaten the rest of them, so I gathered the sticky, gross beans and put them in a bag. The rest of the day, I ate a handful of beans every mile. That might sound like a lot, but I was biking at 2-3 knots. After I started doing that, my energy returned and I finished out the day getting my target minimum of 16 miles. Tomorrow should be a short day as I will reach 85 degrees after about 12 miles. I will then take a rest day on Sunday, and get ready for the last half.
There is an elevation profile of the route in the dinner tent at base camp. It shows that at some point there is a good downhill. I was starting to wonder if I had already hit it and it just wasn't as big as I expected. But shortly after starting this morning I hit the downhill. It was great to get a break from all the climbing. Of course, I now have to climb it again, but it was a nice relief. Adding the last night and early morning miles in, I was thinking I might get a 30 mile day in. Then I saw the first person that I have seen in what seems like forever--or at least an arm. The arctic truck was headed back from its trip to the pole. They waved as they flew past. After the truck went by a [fog] moved in and I lost the ability to see anything. The easiest way to navigate was to follow the new path from the truck, but it had pulverized all the snow, making for bad biking conditions. Also, there was a bit of wind and it got really cold. I started adding layers to my body and hands but I just couldn't keep my fingers warm. I'm not going to let frostbite end my expedition, and I had all the miles I needed to get. So I ended early and failed to get the last five miles that I needed to get thirty. Oh well, twenty-five on the records worked and I had now traveled over 300 miles, which is the record for the most miles traveled by bike in Antarctica. It also means I can reach the halfway point on Saturday.
He said that he saw the arctic truck driving out on the ice. He arrived at 84.33.423 on Thursday the 26th, 84.49.000, traveling 16 miles on Friday the 27th. He called a few minutes ago to say that he has now passed 85 degrees, or the halfway point. His cache is still five miles away. He is hoping to charge batteries on Sunday so that he can resume his posts.
Thank you to all who are being so helpful and supportive. This wouldn't be possible without you.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
I was going to go for 8 miles giving me 16 for the day, but the 6.2 got me to 1/4 of a degree which works for my goal of getting to 85° and half way to the pole on Saturday. I was actually making great time but I'm tired and figured some good rest will help me be ready to get my 16 miles tomorrow. And after all it is Christmas and so I should get a bit of a holiday.
Just like the weather forecast said, it was very windy this morning. So I decided to sit out the early morning and sleep, then do my two sessions of biking in the afternoon and evening. I did pretty good for my first eight miles, but cranking that slow and hard makes my back sore. I will eat some dinner and then get the rest of my 16 mile quota I have set for myself. If I can do that each day I'll be at the half way point this weekend.
I hear a rumor that a sponsor is sending me a gift. Kind of seems like something out of The Hunger Games. Anyway I'll tell you more when it gets here.
I hope everyone is having a great Christmas. I got to call my daughter who is on a mission in Croatia. It was great to be able to hear her voice. I really am grateful to the satphonestore for making that possible from the most remote place in the world and of course making it possible to update the blog each day.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Very windy and cold today. I added my Pearl Izumi barrier jacket and pants to my normal layers. Days like today are so hard to get that right balance of frostbite protection and warmth but not too warm. I struggle with my hands a lot. I have to add and remove layers of gloves often to get things right. I've found though that the ice build up on my face mask makes a good wind block.
At times today I was turning the pedals so slowly that I was constantly on the edge of being able to balance. The wind was straight on, no need for a compass to navigate, just head straight into the blowing snow. At about half way through the day I decided to try and make my setup more aero. So I shortened the ropes to the sleds so the first could draft off of the bike, and the second sled could draft off of the first. Then I took the panniers off the rack and stuck them in the sleds. I think it helped. The panniers create a lot of drag in the high winds.
Merry Christmas everyone. I love Christmas. I am one that thinks Christmas songs songs should be listened to as soon as it starts snowing. I have never been away from home for Christmas before. So what do I want for Christmas? The strength to be able to go 16 miles tomorrow and each day.
A few years ago my daughter promised that if she could set up the Christmas tree she would take it down after Christmas. She never did and the tree stayed up in the front room all year. I am hoping that the tree will still be up when I get home and then I can have a big Christmas party.
Monday, December 23, 2013
239 down 385 to go.
There is no morning or evening or night--just day. So this "evening" I'm having breakfast food. Some oatmeal with apple cinnamon and some scrambled eggs with bacon. However, the egg breakfasts are only 1.5 servings in size so I add some of the breakfast mix in with it.
I keep wondering when I will see the Thiel Mountains. All I have seen for a long long time is a sea of white and most days some blue sky. I thought today, the only reason I keep going is it always looks like there is a cliff just a little way off in the distance, and when I get there I'll throw everything off it.
But really, even though it is insanely hard and at times I just would like to quit, I feel like I'm going to make it and I can endure another month of this. If I can keep averaging 1/4 degree per day then I have about 25 more good days and I should be there.
The wind picked up today which helps. It makes it harder to keep frostbite away, but it also helps dry me out some. The conditions right now are probably the best for biking I'll get on this expedition, which means I can now travel for miles without getting stuck in soft snow, but it is always a lot of work to move forward so I sweat a lot, which if course is dangerous. It is a balancing act of adjusting gear to stay warm but not too warm.
My plan was working great. I got 24 miles in on Saturday, rested Sunday, and started out with getting my first 8 miles on Monday in an hour faster than planned. However I was soaked! I have been trying to dry things out but it is hard to get it dry enough to start going again.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
The weather forecast for today said it would be cloudy, but it is a beautiful sunny day with a little wind. I am going to spend the day sleeping, using the solar panels to recharge stuff, eating, and just taking a nice day of rest. After going so hard every day for so many days I was really looking forward to this day off, and now that it is here it is great to relax for once.
I got within about .25 miles of Juan last night. I really didn't want to pass him so I stopped a little earlier than planned and set up my tent. I think I am far enough from him that he probably won't even know I am here, and of course he will be traveling today so I will be a day behind him when I start tomorrow. I am not really worried about Juan because he isn't biking to the South Pole anyway. He rode another 3.5 miles yesterday, but still has done less than 10 miles by bike so far, and the rest of the distance has all been by ski.
We will see how it goes, but I am hoping that I will be at the 85° and half way south by next Sunday and then I can use that as a rest day to get ready for the last half. My freehub is broken, so I am essentially riding a fixie the rest of the way. It is a bit of a pain, because starting in snow is already a bit of a challenge, then add pulling sleds, and then the fact that I need to roll to the right spot to get the pedals in the right position, and start nice and smooth, it makes the start more challenging. I didn't think I really needed brakes, but they help with getting started. Also it isn't a true fixie because I can still shift gears, which I did a bit yesterday as there was a bit of a down hill.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
I suffered my first mechanical today. At 5 miles into today's ride the freehub quit working, which means the wheel could not spin without the pedals turning, or no coasting. I never coast on this expedition, so not a big deal there but it can result in the chain getting all messed up, and it helps to be able to position the pedals before starting. So I stopped, put on my parka and took the rear hub apart. The freehub was broken where one of the sets of pawls fits in. I took that set of pawls out. It now works but the other pawls don't spring out as well as they should since once set is missing.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or As most people know us, Mormon. One of the things I have struggled with since I decided to do this expedition is what to do about Sunday. I have always liked to make it a day of rest. On the first Sunday I tried to just put in an easy effort, but that just isn't possible, and it got super windy so I quit early. Last Sunday again I thought I would try and make it an easy effort, but it was a zero contrast day, and ended up being very difficult.
The plan: I am stopping now, fixing a meal then I will do a second session of 5 hours, then tonight I will put in an extra session of biking, then take tomorrow off as a rest day, then get up early Monday morning and get an extra biking session in. Hopefully I can still get 3/4 of a degree of progress in today and Monday.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Overall a nice day today. A lot of climbing and some soft snow. Pretty much like any other day I crank hard and keep going south.
Today I started making plans in my head, but like Styx says, nothing ever goes as planned. I will reveal one plan tomorrow and the other when I get to 85° south.
I now have my third degree. 85 is 8 GOOD days travel ahead. They say clouds headed this way, which means more of the low contrast days. Not looking forward to that.
Saw my first penguin today. OK, not a real penguin, just a sastrugi that looked like a penguin. When I get back I'll have to add the picture of it to the blog.
|The only penguin I saw on my expedition|
Thursday, December 19, 2013
My grandmother would see a beautiful sunset and say it was the most beautiful she had ever seen, and she meant it. So when I say that each day was the hardest of my life, it is in honor of her, because it really is the hardest day of my life every day of this expedition.
I added the food and fuel from the cache to my sleds. It was heavy. Today of course was a lot of climbing, testing my strength against the heavy sleds. A lot of slow cranking on the pedals today. I ended up getting 16 miles but I had to bike past my quitting time to do it. I have to call in my position to ALE every day and so I need to end in time to set up the tent and give them a call. I hope to get up early tomorrow and get back on my schedule that gives me a bit of a buffer if needed to be able to hit my goal.
After learning what my new sled weight was going to be like and seeing that it was a never ending up hill day I set my goal fort he day to be 82°45' south. As you can see I just made it. This makes me 15 minutes away from the 83° mark which I should be able to get tomorrow. I believe it also set the world record for most distance traveled by bicycle towards the South Pole which was previously held by Eric Larsen.
They say that a fog is moving in, which means another few days of not being able to see where I am going. Not looking forward to that.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
These are stupid, but when I was working so hard that my eyes were about to pop out of my head they seemed good.
A few thoughts:
- on a spin bike, turn the resistance up as high as you can and still be able to turn over the pedals, I mean even harder than that. Now ride like that for 10 hours a day for two months and you will have an idea what it is like to bike to the South Pole.
- when working that hard, there are no songs that have that slow of a beat, not even elevator songs.
- in Antarctica there is no one to give you the Heimlich.
- you can't bike wearing skis (you can't roller-skate in a buffalo herd)
- when you listen to songs in alphabetical order you realize how many duplicates you have.
- no matter how puffy and chipmunk looking you are when you wake up you still can't store too many sports beans in your cheeks
- if I had more speed I could have caught some serious air off some of those sastrugi. Just think of a fat bike flying off a four foot drop with two sleds. I, however, was going quite slow and rolled over the drops.
- Patrick could make some nice jumps out here.
- if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make noise? I would tell you, but there are no trees, let alone a forest.
- (edited for another day)
- when you are dead tired and don't want to go on anymore, it is not a good time for Pink Floyd's Goodbye Cruel World to come up on the playlist.
- 2.5 of 150 does not count as biking.
- I'm biking in Antarctica! :-) Meanwhile my family is living in a cold home because we can't afford propane. :-(
- why do I have to make so much yellow snow? OK gross, but the next one is also.
- it is hard to keep your nose clean when there are so many layers on your face. Clearing the nose while biking and not getting it on the layers takes a special technique.
- where is all that snow coming from, and where is it going? (There is a constant flow of snow drifting in the wind coming from the south and headed north, there is a nearly endless supply of snow, and a nearly endless distance it can drift.)
- don't cry over spilled rice, it is less weight you have to drag.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I knew as soon as I started this morning that I would have to be happy with whatever I got.
Today was everything I had told people that it would be. Cold, uphill, 20-30mph headwind in the snow. It was definitely the hardest day of my life, again. One of the climbs today was by far steeper than anything I have done since the first couple of days.
I have passed my second degree! So I am now more than 20% of the way there and that is the 20% with the most miles and most climbing. Weather forecast for tomorrow is the same as it was for today, so I guess I have another hard day ahead.
When I was a kid my mom had a record that had a song on it that said you can't roller skate in a buffalo herd. That song kept coming to my mind today.
Monday, December 16, 2013
20 nm today 496 to go.
If every day were like today everyone would bike to the South Pole. Make no mistake, today was once again the hardest day of my life, but 20?... I'll take that!
Finally a sunny day. I could see where I was going and it was up a nice incline with soft snow and large sastrugi. But after that climb, the day had a lot of flatter sections with good snow conditions. I was able to ride up and clear some nice slopes without having to resort to hike-a-bike! It was hard work, but I was able to lay down some serious miles. By the end of the day I was exhausted as always, but kept pushing to be able to hit 20.
I listen to scriptures on Sunday but other than that have pretty much ridden in silence, except for the talking to myself. This afternoon I put on some music. Du Hast is a great song to get you through some nasty sastrugi! When I first started listening to the music I started singing along. When there is nobody around for thousands of miles (OK, there are a couple expeditions closer than that) you can sing as loudly and badly as you like and nobody will ask if you know why they sing that song.
A word on the numbers. My Dad was concerned that my mileage was wrong. The thing is, I am not traveling straight south. There are crevasses that have to be avoided. Some of these are known from the history of other expeditions, others from a combination of ground penetrating radar and ice flow rates. Also, sometimes I have to go around sastrugi, and of course sometimes I go a bit extra from errors in navigation. So my miles traveled are not the same as miles made good which is not the same as miles straight to the pole. The only number that really counts is the south part of my coordinates, so I will include my coordinates in future posts. Each nautical mile is 1 minute south assuming you are headed straight south. So if I get 15 miles that gets me about 1/4 of a degree, and of course 90° is the number I have to reach.
Remember to get out and be active,
Sunday, December 15, 2013
It was cloudy again today with more light snow. The snow is getting softer and the contrast was near zero
all day so I could never see where I was going, where the hard snow vs soft snow was and I had to constantly watch the compass to keep moving the right direction. I only got 7 miles today but I think only about 5.5 in the right direction. I kept having to bring myself back on course. I stopped several times today and waited hoping for better light but it never came. Finally I had enough. I think the cloud cover is suppose to move out soon, but it is sure to be replaced by a good headwind. Nobody said this would be easy.
I hear it is bitter cold back home. Maybe it is warmer here than in much of the USA right now. I really need some nice sunny day to get he snow hard again.
I don't know what is wrong with my inreach I turn on tracking but it says it has sent 0 of 0 points. It is very frustrating.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
This morning was cloud covered again but it was still possible to see, so I made good time riding the bike for the first few hours. Then at 11 it started to snow. I could still see but had to slow down to be able to stay on course. I was still able to get about 9 miles in on my first 5 hour shift. It was looking like I would have an awesome number of miles by the end of the day.
With the snow everything was white, but I could still make out the route a few feet in front of me. After lunch however all contrast was gone and everything was just white. I struggled weaving back and forth across the hardened trail, and had to constantly get off the bike and search for the trail. This quickly erased all hope of getting a decent number of miles in today. Then just before six it finally got to where I could occasionally see well enough to follow the route, and then the last hour or so it was good biking again and I was able to pull out a 15.2 nautical mile day. Not as good as I had hoped, but better than what it could have been.
Weather for tomorrow is suppose to be about the same with a bit more wind.
Friday, December 13, 2013
All in all it was a very very difficult day, but then so was every other day. The first time I completed LOTOJA as I crossed the finish line I said, "get me off this bike!" I guess the people running the finish line thought it was a call for help and they came running up to keep me from falling over. I was tired, but not that tired. Today I needed those people to come and catch me. Several times I would be so exhausted I could not hold my balance and would fall over.
Todd tried to talk me into doing the Race Across AMerica. I was pretty close to being talked into it until the last time I did LOTOJA. After finishing and walking to the car I thought there is no way I want to do this again tomorrow. Well, every day of this expedition is harder than doing LOTOJA, but to be able to have biked to the South Pole makes it worth doing it every day.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
The ski tracks I have been following have been covered in snow drifts. Then today I started to notice that they were no longer covered in drifts and look nice and fresh. This means they were created after the big wind storm a few days ago. This gave me hope that I was on track for completing the expedition. Also I got another 15.1 nautical miles in today which is a number that works well.
Big milestone of the day, I completed my first degree! I stopped for a minute at 81° south and celebrated with a drink of weak chocolate water and a pink honey stinger waffle and then continued on. Only 9 more degrees to go, and that first one was the tough one because of the climb out of Hercules Inlet and having to go around the big crevasse field. There are still a few crevasses I have to go around but mostly from here on it is headed south. So at 15 nautical miles a day that is 4 days per degree and I should be able to arrive at the pole before the end of the season.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The mountain in Provo has a big Y on it for BYU. There is a U in Salt Lake City for the University of Utah, and a G in Pleasant Grove for their high school. When I was a teenager they wanted to name a new high school Lincoln. We joked that then they could put up an L and the mountains would spell "ugly." Anyway, when Juan, Layne, and Todd were getting me into mountain biking (there were many others, but those three were the ones that pushed me the most) we would bike to the top of the Y. The challenge was to make it the whole way without putting a foot down. It involved biking at near max effort the whole way, but somehow you had to learn to recover while climbing. I only made it the whole way without stopping
Biking to the South Pole is like climbing the Y for 5 straight hours, taking a break and then doing it again for 5 more hours. I am constantly near my max effort, yet have to find a way to recover while working, and keep going. I eventually get stuck and have to stop. Maybe someday I will be able to get a full mile in before getting stopped. For now I am just happy that I actually got 3 sessions in a row that look like it may be possible to reach the end goal.
Chicken Teriyaki with Rice for dinner tonight.
Go out and be active,
15.3 nautical miles
Finally a day that I travelled enough miles to be able to be successful. If I can average 15nm a day from here on out I should make it. The snow drifts from the recent wind have started to get hard making travel easier. Sometimes I can even go a whole mile without stopping.
The cruelty of Antarctica is, the steeper the slope, the softer and larger the snow drifts. Some years ago after completing my second Brianhead Epic I told my kids that if I ever said I wanted to do that again they should take a 2x4 and smack me upside the head. They have been hoping I will do it again ever since. Luckily for me they no longer do the Brianhead Epic. However doing the South Pole Epic is worse than doing the Brianhead Epic, day after day.
I can't do a 10 hour day without breaking it up. I get too hungry and it is just to hard to eat while biking. So I am now doing two 5 hour shifts a day. Set up the tent in between and get a good meal. Also this way I only need to drag around 5 hours of water at a time.
Monday, December 9, 2013
I started making good time, it was hard going, but I thought I would get my first good mileage day. The winds kept getting stronger and stronger. It was hard to stand let alone bike or push into the wind. Setting up the tent in the wind didn't sound fun either.
It finally got to the point that no matter how hard I pushed I couldn't move forward. So I have spent almost all day in the tent eating freeze dried mangos and Honey Stingers, and waiting for the wind to slow down to something like 30mph so I can go again.
It is now my normal time to quit for the day. I have to call into ALE each day and let them know I am ok or they come looking for me. After my call, and as soon as the wind slows down I'll go out to get some more distance.
Only 3 nautical miles today. :-(
I started making good time. It was hard going but I thought I would get my first good mileage day. The winds kept getting stronger and stronger. It was hard to stand let alone bike or push into the wind. But setting up the tent in this wind didn't sound fun either. It finally got to the point that no matter how hard I pushed I couldn't move forward. So now I'm in the tent eating freezes dried mangos and waiting for it to get back down to something like 30mph so I can go again.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Well, it is never evening, morning, or night here, only day. So I guess I am still on the first day.
Being the sabbath I tried to take it easy today, however nothing about this trip is easy. The day started out with high winds so I added my Pearl Izumi barrier pants and jacket. It worked well.
The winds create a lot of soft drifted snow that makes biking very hard. At least though it has gotten to the point that biking is better than hike a biking.
I got a bit of a late start this morning, biked about 5 hours, set up my tent, fixed lunch, and then continued biking. I figure I was biking to church, but I never found a chapel ;-)
I really need to start getting more miles per day in. My sleds are just too heavy. I worked with a few different setups and should be able to start doing better tomorrow.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Now that it is more level and I am following the Thiels Mountain resupply route, travel is a lot easier, but that does not mean it is easy. There are a lot of new soft snow drifts with occasional hard snow. In order to keep moving I go as slow and easy as I can. But frequently as slow and easy as possible means a full out effort. So it is a lot like doing intervals of all out effort followed by short recoveries. Of course there are some drifts that are too soft and too big so I have to push out of those.
I thought the sleds being too heavy was a problem and of course it is. So I moved as much weight from the sleds as possible to the panniers. It made it worse. So I put as little weight as possible in the panniers and that works much better.
I am running with very little pressure in the tires. I sometimes worry that it will pinch flat, but it gives me the float I need. In all my messing around with the load I left my shovel behind, TWICE. What an idiot! So I traveled 3 times as far as what I actually progressed towards the pole. However I have things figured out so I think it will be better going forward. Except a wind storm has moved in and they say it will continue until Monday.
I am back on the same route the skiers are using. The ski tracks do harden the snow a bit but not nearly as well as bike tracks do. Unfortunately for me there are only ski tracks on the ground.
Friday, December 6, 2013
After ending early yesterday because of the wind I started early this morning with the goal to hit the waypoint on the route they use to supply the ski way. I barely made it in time to finish riding and make my call to ALE.
I tried several different things with the bike configuration and was able to do a lot more riding today. Still the hike a bike is easier, but starting tomorrow the conditions should be better for biking.
Sunny and light winds today. 12 nautical miles.
Remember to get out and be active.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Saw Juan again today. He was in the distance taking down his tent and then he skied off. I imagine that is the last time I will see him. I don't think he has ridden his bike yet.
While alternating between riding and hike-a-bike the Saratoga Farms Pasta Alfredo I had seen in the morning was calling out to me. Eating it now and it is even better than I had hoped. I'm hoping the winds die down tonight. If they do I'll be all refueled and ready to go.
I only got 7 hours in so far today, and I don't know how many miles because the gps is still out on the bike ticking away minutes, but I am not motivated enough to put a coat back on and go get it. Besides the fur ruff is just starting to thaw out.
Remember to go out and be active
Happy birthday to me. The day started out windy with more soft snow and climbing. I am not making the distances I would like. Today was 6.2 nautical miles. With 10.5 hours.
Juan skied pass me today. His travel by ski is at least three times faster than my combo hike a bike and riding. After he passed he set up his tent. It seemed strange that he would end the day so soon, but maybe it was for a different reason, because as soon as I caught up with him he took his tent down and skied off into the horizon.
The slope isn't as steep now and the snow is harder. I dropped the air pressure down as low as possible in the tires and can now ride for longer distances, but it is still hard and uses a lot of energy.
Remember to get out and be active.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Ascent - 1836
Descent - 1074
Elevation - 2023
Distance - 6.26
Time - 9:25
I was told that elevation from a barometer doesn't work in Antarctica. These numbers seem to prove that true. There was 0 descent. The whole day was climbing and steeper climbing. With the soft snow and the weight of my gear, and of course uphill into a head wind, those miles were harder than could possibly be explained.
I ran into Richard Park today. He was headed back to the start to get a reset on his speed record attempt. Shortly after he passed I stepped into a crevasse that he had just skied over. After pulling myself out I wanted to go back and see how deep it was, but I didn't dare get close enough to look.
That seriously was the hardest six miles I have ever done. I will be so glad when I get to the polar plateau and things level off a bit. In another 22 miles it is supposed to get better.
Remember to go out and be active
Monday, December 2, 2013
total ascent 93 feet total descent 16 feet
elevation 1266 temp in tent 64.8.
Finally I am biking to the South Pole. I flew out of base camp at about 6pm to Hercules inlet. There is a cache of supplies there for Richard Park. He is trying to set the unassisted, unsupported record from Hercules to the South Pole, but he ran into bad weather, so he is on his way back to the start. It may be that I will see him on his way to Hercules and then again as he passes me on his second attempt.
Juan is still at base camp. I'm not sure if he will try and pass me or not. He has skis and I've been told he plans to put his bike on the sled and ski in the deep snow. That should be a lot faster than my hike-a-bike method. My goal is to never put my bike in the sled.
The snow in Hercules inlet was soft making travel difficult, but that was what I was expecting. Just outside the inlet is a steep climb. It is a sea of white waves of drifted snow with just a few tops of mountains showing like little islands. With the look of being out too sea the steepness is hidden from the eyes, but trying to pull a couple hundred pounds of gear up the slope there is no doubt that you are climbing.
I was hoping to clear the top of the first slope today, but I started to worry I left my camera at the start, so I set up camp, and in the process found the camera.
Tomorrow will be my first full day of biking to the pole.
Remember to go out and be active.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
I filled my hydro flask with hot chocolate before I left on the ride today and when I stopped for a drink it was gone. I was afraid I had lost it somewhere but when I got back to camp it was waiting for me. I filled it with hot water a couple of days ago when it was even colder out. I did my bike ride and then forgot about it and left it out in the blizzard over night. I was worried that maybe the contents would be frozen and my bottle would be damaged. But after all night in a raging blizzard the contents were still nice and warm.
It seems all my equipment is working as good or better than I expected except for my Sherpa 50. For some reason I can't get it to charge. I figured a 110 charger would be of no use on this trip but there is power at the dinner tent, so I wish I had my 110 charger to see if that would charge it.
Go out and be active.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
I still have a few things I need to do before I can start biking to the pole. But the weather is so bad they can't fly out to the drop off point and with a couple of ski expeditions ahead of me it will be a couple of days before I can start so there isn't a lot of pressure to dig my gear out of the snow drift it has disappeared into and get things finalized.
With the strong wind and blowing snow I figured it was a good time to try out layering options. I dropped a couple of layers out of what I have been wearing and still was plenty warm.
I had problems with my googles fogging up and not being able to tell where I was going. I will work on a couple of ideas to see of I can fix this problem.
I thought I could get distance info from my inReach but it doesn't give me that info so I don't know how many miles I did today but it was only about an hour of riding.
My tent is slowly turning into an igloo, it is cold and windy but it is awesome to be in Antarctica.
Get out and be active
Basically, if you think Antarctica is cold wind and inhospitable then you would not be disappointed in today's weather.
I had a route briefing today. We looked at the ground penetrating radar to see where crevasses are. We also looked at ice flow rates that help identify were crevasses are likely to be.
My route will start at hercules inlet and climb up and around a big crevassed area and then basically go south with a bit of zig zagging to get around more dangerous areas. My route is a bit different than the ski routes so that it favors hard packed snow. However the first 30 miles will have a lot of soft snow and a lot of climbing.
Well, I guess it is time to try riding in the worst blizzard you can imagine.
At 11:00 I will get a route briefing. I will also pack my bags today and try and figure out the best way to distribute the load for this first segment. From the reports I have gotten the first 30 miles are going to be VERY hard.
In the dinning building here at base camp they have an elevation profile for Hercules to South Pole. I have looked for this in the past but could never find one. To conserve satellite minutes I'll wait until I get home to post the picture.
Friday, November 29, 2013
There are now three expeditions trying to be the first to bike to the pole, mine, Juan Melendez Granados and some other lady that will try and do it with a recumbent fat trike. I don't want to use up all the minutes I got from the satponestore, so I don't have more details about her expedition. Anyway it will be interesting to see how this all works out.
After awhile of hanging out after dinner, I was getting cold from being so wet. I went back to my tent, stripped down to my baselayer and jumped in my sleeping bag, I wasn't in the bag for more than 10 seconds before I was toasty warm.
Tomorrow (actually it is just after midnight here so today) is the 1 year anniversary of my mom dying from high cholesterol. I was hoping to start my expedition on the 30th in honor of her, and to try and use this expedition to promote an active lifestyle. Of course promoting an active lifestyle will still be a goal for this expedition but I won't start going south until at least Dec 1. There are ski expeditions that are ahead of me for flying out.
Get out and do something.
The first day in Antarctica has been great. We got here at about 4 in the morning Chile time which is the time zone I'll use for my expedition. That way the sun will be low in the south while I sleep and at my back while I travel.
After arriving I found a place for my tent and set up the minimums of camp and then got the bike put together. The bike was a big attraction at the base camp. I let anyone that wanted to take it for a test ride. Everyone was surprised how light the Borealis bike is and how well it traveled on the snow.
It is kind of hot in the tent, but the outside weather is not that cold, I'm guessing around 20°F.
I took the bike out for a ride around the skiway (runway), about 6 miles. The bike did real well. However, no matter how hard you think it will be for me to bike to the South Pole...... It will be harder. I didn't have any weight on the bike and wasn't pulling a sled. I hear the conditions from Hercules to Patriot hills, about the first 30 miles, is very similar to the conditions here.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Still waiting for my flight. I have walked in every direction about as far as I can go. I really need to get on my bike and head south!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
Tonight is the last night I have in my hotel and then I am a homeless traveler. It is the busy season and the hotels are all full.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
I decided to go penguin hunting. I'm told if I want to find penguins I need to take the boat to Isla Magdalena where all the penguins like to hang out. Maybe that will be tomorrow's activity. I walked up the beach just in case some penguin got lost on its way to the Isla. No penguins but I found some other things I found interesting.
|Some historic ship wreck. There was a sign about it but about all it said was that it was historic and to leave it alone.|
I walked around the beach a bit. Turned on the satellite tracking so that the tracking map would show me in Punta arenas.
It is a bit windy here. It was raining a bit but nothing was getting wet because the wind would dry out the rain as soon as it would hit. The water front on the Strait of Magellan here is interesting. Nice little paths, benches, and basketball courts. But nobody was out there. It was kind of like a ghost town. I guess it is just too cold and windy. I took a few pictures but I don't have a computer to download the pictures with. I'll use the little camera next time so I can post a picture or two to the blog.
Sunday, November 17, 2013
I loved winter when I would ski, snowmobile, and other winter sports. Skiing ended up becoming too expensive, and I opened a bike store and got to where I really didn't like winter. I would tell people I was ready for winter to end when the first snow storm hit. The fat bike changed that. Winter is still hard because sales at the store are low in the winter, but having a fun winter sport has brought the joy back into what otherwise would be a cold dark season.
Talked to a couple of guys from the Czech Republic today. They are headed down to Union Glacier in a couple of days to do a marathon and a 100k run. Their Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/PetrVabrousek
Saturday, November 16, 2013
So, are you willing to join the challenge and bike through the winter, matching the miles I travel each day?
Somehow I made it through. Not sure what caused that but now I don't dare sleep or listen to the headphones in case it was either of those causing me to have a motion sickness attack.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Well, mostly the song doesn't fit but skipping to the chorus...
Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh baby, I can't wait to go
My bike and gear are on an adventure if their own. Hoping they are in Punta Arenas soon!
Thursday, November 14, 2013
I have the most awesome fat bike, a Borealis Yampa with 5" wide tires, a carbon frame, Shimano XT components, Giant carbon Handle bars seatpost and stem, and an e*thirteen crank. I have great clothing from Pearl iZumi, and Canada Goose and awesome camping gear from Bear River Outfitters.
Now I top that off with some real fun electronics. I am using an iPad mini connected by Wifi to a RedPort Optimizer. The optimizer allows me to connect to my camera with Wifi and then send pictures and text dates to my blog using the Iridium satellite phone. All this made possible thanks to the satphonestore.com.
Yeah, there are sure to be some very trying times ahead, but right now this is the nerd biker's dream.
Sent from my sat phone.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I got an email from Juan Menendez Granados. He will be flying down to Punta Arenas on Nov 19. He is taking his bike and gear with him since it is too late to get it shipped. My bike and gear is stuck in Santiago trying to get through customs. I am told that customs is on strike and there are border closures that are making it hard to get the bike to Punta Arenas. I am very worried about my bike and gear. It is hard when you have no control over what is happening.
I got my satellite phone and wifi optimizer from satphonestore.com and am trying to figure out how everything works. Wish I had a little more time to play with it but I am so overloaded with other things I have to do. Right now I wish I could just simply be biking south instead of dealing with all the logistics. I haven't ridden a bike for a couple of days now since I have been loaded up with other tasks.
Two days until I start my flights to get to Antarctica. Hoping everything comes together in time.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
This morning I went shopping for some last minute items and used the car, and I have to say, "Put down your stupid phone and drive!" People using their phones for talking, texting, browsing the web, or whatever else they are doing when they should be driving are worse than drunk drivers.
You may think you are better than everyone else and you can drive and use your phone at the same time, but you are WRONG. Whatever you are doing with your phone is not more important than someone's life. Quit using your phone while driving before you kill someone.
Monday, November 11, 2013
|My antique tractor|
I leave Salt Lake City Friday night, and arrive in Punta Arenas on Sunday. Only 4 more days left. I'm playing around with the new cameras that my father is letting me use for the expedition.
I have a Canon EOS 7D that I will use in Punta Arenas, at Union Glacier and then at the drop off point on Hercules Inlet. We are worried that the camera will not function properly in the extreme colds of the expedition without some modifications. So I will not take it with me on the bike.
I have a Canon PowerShot G16 that I will take with me on the bike for still pictures. It is small enough and light enough that I can carry it in a pocket close to my body to keep it warm. I'll keep it in a plastic bag to keep it from getting fogged up. I will also have a Sony Handycam that I will use for video while biking. Like the Canon I will be able to keep it close to the body to keep it warm.
For POV cameras I have two Contour cameras. We have modified the back to the camera so that we can plug in external power and are hoping that the Skinz handlebar bag will keep the batteries warm enough. If not I will be able to put those batteries inside my coat also.
Friday, November 8, 2013
|Frosted gas jug|
I bought a sample jug and took it over to the Smiths grocery store next to my bike store, and asked if I could put it in their freezer. Instead they put it in with the dry ice. Dry ice sublimates at -109 F so if it can stand that cold I should be good.
After about an hour packed in the dry ice freezer I went back and got the jug. It was too cold to handle with bare hands. I took the jug and banged it on the floor and tested to see if the plastic would be brittle. I am so happy to say it passed the test! So now I need to go back to Walmart and get 3 more 1 gallon jugs.
- 15 Nov 2013 - Leave Salt Lake City, flying to New York, Santiago, and then to Punta Arenas
- 17 Nov Arrive in Punta Arenas. Get bike and gear through customs, repackage food into bags for the expedition
- 23 Nov Fly from Punta Arenas Chile to Union Glacier, while acclimating check out bike and equipment to make sure everything is working correctly
- 30 Nov Fly to Hercules Inlet. I want to start this day because it is the 1st anniversary of my mother dying from high cholesterol. I really want to be able to use this expedition as a way to promote active living and help people live a healthy long life.
- 4 Dec - Celebrate my 50th birthday in Antarctica by going for a bike ride :-)
- 14 Dec - Wish my wife a happy anniversary. First time we won't be together for our anniversary.
- 25 Dec - A white Christmas. My daughter will be calling home from Croatia where she is serving as a missionary. I will call home at the same time and with the miracle of speaker phones get to talk to my daughter for a couple of minutes.
- 1 Jan 2014. New Year in Antarctica. By this time I should be getting close to the South Pole.
- Early January fly back from the South Pole to Union Glacier.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
This morning was one of those rides. I had a great time biking up and down the trail in Tickville Gulch until I got a flat and had to walk my bike back home to pump up the tire. I have the wheels set up tubeless, and rather than putting a tube I would rather walk home where I can pump up the tire and keep it tubeless. Also, sometimes it is nice to just walk along with the bike.
Anyway back on the bike and headed into work and that feeling comes over me. As long as I am peddling a bike, everything is right in the world. I am so lucky to be living in such a beautiful world, and I would love to be able to bike all day everyday for a couple of months. Which is just what I am going to do.
I know that some time in the near future I will be pushing up hill in a whiteout blizzard, 40 below with a 30mph headwind and soft snow. Yes, when that happens my attitude will be different. I will look forward to being able to have a nice warm comfortable place to rest. I know going into this, that it will be the most difficult and miserable thing I will ever do, but in the end it will be worthwhile.
Some people will say don't do what you love as a career because it will turn what you love into work. I don't agree. Owning a bike store I get to spend all day working on, and talking about bikes. I meet some of the greatest people. It is hard work, but I think I am helping other people find a great way to relieve stress and to get physical exercise in an enjoyable way. Now if I could just figure out how to make a profit.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
|Food from Ready Store|
|Food and bike in the crate|
|The crate all ready to go to Antarctica|