Monday, February 25, 2013

Talked with ALE today. I can't begin to explain how exited I am at this point. We were able to talk about logistics of what will work, and what to do to make this a successful expedition. There is still a lot to figure out but I think I now know the information needed to go forward with our Kickstarter video. Getting the Kickstarter project launched will be a huge milestone. 

It Started as a Fun Idea

I have my fat bikes right by the front door of the store (Epic Biking). As a result I get a lot of people asking what they are for. People just walking past often will come in just because they saw the fat tires through the window. Anyway, I would tell them how they are so great in the snow that some guy tried to ride one to the South Pole. 

Then I had a customer telling me that when he wins the lottery that he would do the trip with me. He doesn't enter the lottery so he will never win. Anyway it was fun to talk about, but not something I was really planning on doing.

But then the more I thought about it and talked about it the more serious I have become about doing it. We still have to get the funding to do this trek, but I really think that we will be able to get it worked out. I have a couple people that I go to church with that are helping me with the project. One that is a movie maker that is helping with the documentary and with getting funding, and another that is planning on riding with me. So now we end up doing extra talking and planing for the trip on Sundays. Between being over heard talking about it, and the fact that I get excited about the adventure that I share the idea with anyone that listens to me, a lot of people at church know of my planned trip. 

I think this has helped move the planned trip from, yeah it would be cool, to maybe I should do this, to I want to do this, to I am working on being able to do this, to I am doing this. I felt like I moved to that final step yesterday.

I am still waiting to hear from ALE/ANI. I'm trying to be patient, but it is really hard. I have so many things that need to be figured out before I can move forward. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Why do I want to bike to the South Pole?

That is the classic question and the classic answer is because it is there. To do something that hasn't been done before, the ultimate challenge! But...

I feel the world is facing an obesity crisis. We live a physically easy life compared to the past. Food is relatively cheap, labor is relatively easy, and entertainment is becoming less and less physical.

We Need to Create a Culture of Activity 

Nearly everyone needs to have some kind of exercise program. Going to the gym is great, however, if we don't truly enjoy our exercise we will eventually quit. We need to help people find ways to become active that they will enjoy. For me that is biking.

My Story

I was a computer programmer for 23 years. During that time I spent a lot of time sitting in front of a computer and not getting enough exercise. I had grown up being active. I spent a lot of summers hiking in the High Uintas. However it just got easy to be less and less active. Then I went and got my blood checked. My cholesterol numbers were real bad, my blood pressure was high, and a was a few pounds over weight. I panicked, thinking I might die early. So I got into mountain biking. It saved my life! My cholesterol numbers improved to healthy numbers, my blood pressure returned to normal, and I lost the extra weight.

Then I got laid off. My wife says that I went into mid life crisis. I think I just decided I wanted to do something to help others. So I opened a bike store to help others get the health benefits of an active cycling lifestyle. For the past 5 years I have been focused on getting people out on bikes, and have been  been involved with the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure each year.

The Problem

OK, I've already stated the problem but here it is in more detail. There are so many problems facing the world today, but I think returning to a culture of active lifestyles will help with so many of today's issues. Obesity is a huge drain on the economy. Violence and lack of concern for others seems to be on the increase. The number of mass shootings recently is beyond alarming. Returning to activity will increase our health, reduce the drain on the economy being caused by runaway health care cost. Physical activity helps our mental well being. And being outdoors having fun with others is a great way to learn to get along and be less selfish.

According to the CDC "Research has shown that as weight increases to reach the levels referred to as "overweight" and "obesity," the risks for the following conditions also increases:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
  • Stroke
  • Liver and Gallbladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
  • Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)"

My Cause

My cause is simple. First to inspire people to get out and be active. Find an activity that you enjoy and you can do on a regular basis. For me that is biking, so I hope my trip to the South Pole will inspire others to get out and ride a bike. Second, I would like to encourage people to donate to the American Diabetes Association, or get involved with some other diabetes, cancer, or other health related foundation. I'll be including information about opportunities to get involved in my blog.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


I am waiting to hear back from Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions. I have so many questions. Mostly I need to figure out what kind of trip is possible. If it possible to have a support vehicle, and if so what kind. If not what other options are available. And then of course what the cost will be. I need a lot of information so I can finish up my Kickstarter project and start working on the funding. I sent in the Experience Inquiry Form a couple of days ago. Other than the acknowledgment that they received it I haven't heard anything back. I know I am being impatient, but hey I'm excited and want to move forward on the project.

Meanwhile back at the shop, it seems that Spring is here. I now have a lot of work to do at the bike shop, so I guess I won't have as much time to day dream about freezing in the antarctic.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Plan

Fat Bikes
Last December I decided to get into fat bikes. I saw the Surly Pugsley a few years ago when I went to Frostbike. So I have known about them for a few years, but never really considered buy or selling them. Then I started getting people asking about them. I'm not sure what all else factored into it but I decided to get some fat bikes that I could rent out and start building a fat bike community. Then I got this crazy idea of biking across Utah Lake for NewYear's Day.

Utah Lake
Utah Lake freezes over most winters. When I was a kid I heard stories of people trying to ice skate across the lake, falling in and dying. Still for some reason I decided to bike across Utah Lake. The last week in December was cold. Nighttime temperatures were in the teens and the highs didn't get above freezing, so I assumed the lake was frozen but didn't really know. New Years day we headed out, and found the lake to be solid. We never drilled any holes, so I don't know how thick the ice was but there were no unfrozen cracks, and it plenty thick the whole way. Since then it has been even colder so the lake had 30 inches of ice when they cut a whole in the ice to do a polar plunge.

South Pole
After the lake trip we started snow biking every chance we could get. Also just before Christmas I started reading the fat bike thread on Someone posted a story about Eric Larsen attempting to ride a Moonlander (the same bikes we have) to the South Pole. I started to read his log, and was a little surprised that after 10 days of biking he turned around. Wow, what an adventure. I was impressed would talk about the trip to just about everyone. Then Mark Pendelton starts telling me that when he wins the lottery he is going to do the trip with a full support crew and is going to take me with him. Well, I don't see that happening. Nice dream, but, yeah. 

Why Didn't He Make It?
But, it gets me thinking. Why didn't Eric make it? I read his blog. He had a little kid that he didn't want to be away from for that long. He talks about how he might not be able to complete the trip in most posts. Did he just not really want to do it? It is an incredible feat so I feel bad even doubting his resolve. Why then didn't his expedition succeed? His bike weighed 130+ pounds. He was pushing it up hill and through soft snow. The winds were strong and I assume the panniers caught a lot of wind. Maybe he could have made it if he wasn't doing it solo and carrying his own gear. 10 days and he went 175 miles. Actually less then 10 days because day 10 was headed back, and the first day or two was getting to the start. So he had to have averaged more than 17.5 miles per day. I read Hannah's record breaking trip to the South Pole. Eric average more miles per day than Hannah did. Why did he not make it? Then I look at the time table. Hannah started in mid November, Eric started in late December. The trip needs to be completed by Jan 18 when the camps at the pole and Union Glacier close. So while Eric's number of days to complete was possible his late start made it so he would be at the South Pole after the drop dead date.

I Should Do This! 
I have to be willing to have the most demanding and difficult experience that I will ever have and still be willing to go on. I have to start early enough that I have at least 60 days to travel. And I need a lighter bike. I would like to do it with a support vehicle. Not nearly as courages as Eric, but if I could have supplies carried by a vehicle that would improve odds of completing tremendously. The trip would still be an amazing feat, and it would leave the door open for someone to one up me. If on the other hand I need to carry my own supplies in order to make the logistics work then I think a sled would be better than the panniers. I could be wrong, but I think the sled low to the ground and more aero would be better than weighing the bike down, making it hard to stay on top of sastrugi and catching all the wind.

So There It Is
Now I need to hear back from ALE and see what the real plan is, get the kickstarter project launched and train for the pole.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Daniel Boone

My 6th great grandfather was Daniel Boone, I was named after my grandfather who was also named Daniel Boone. Frequently when I am out in the wilderness I think that I must have his blood in my veins. He blazed the Wilderness Road, and was a true explorer.

They call Antarctica the worlds last great wilderness. Biking to the South Pole would be an adventure worthy of the memory of Daniel Boone.

I am not good at being patient. I want so bad to get this project going. I have created a Kickstarter page to get the funding, but until I get things figured out with Antarctic Logistics and Exploration/Adventure Network International I can't finish creating the project. Also I need to have a great project video. Mike Karr of Seen by Scene is going to help me create my project video, and then create the documentary when the trip is done.

I think the documentary will be cool, but really it is a means to an end. I have sunk my life savings into my bike store and am the most broke person I know. I can't fund this myself, and I think that getting enough sponsorship money using conventional means just wouldn't get me there. Don't get me wrong, I am really excited about the documentary, but even if there were no documentary I would still want to do this.

Back to the Daniel Boone thoughts. He was a legend in his own time, and apparently he knew it, and perhaps to some extent intentionally shaped that legend. I guess a documentary and travel log are ways that modern day explorers shape their legend. Since I know this and have considered this in the past I don't think there is any way for this not to influence what I write, but I'll do my best to try and give a true picture of the adventure.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Just thinking about it, and last night's post would make it sound like I want to do this to be famous. But that is just an excuse. I am so excited when I explain the idea to people, but they just don't have the same excitement, so I guess the famous idea is just to try and get them to be excited. It doesn't work.

But, who hasn't ever wanted to do something that nobody has done before? Who hasn't wanted to accomplish something just for the sake of having done it? I'm not a bucket list kind of guy, but if I was this would be a great bucket list item. Sometimes you have just got to do something, just to have done it. As Phil Connors says in Groundhog Day, "Sometimes I think you just have to take the big chances."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What are you thinking?!

OK, I've got a plan for a new adventure. I'm not quite ready to make it public yet, but I can't contain myself so I have to say something without really saying anything. No big deal though, because I doubt anyone is reading this blog since I haven't been posting anything to it for a long time.

I'm really excited about my project, but when I talk to people about it the conversation goes something like this:

 Me: "I have this great" and I bore him with my plan.
Person who doesn't really want to hear me babel about the idea: "That just sound miserable."
Me: "From everything I read it IS!"
Person: "Being miserable for two months? Why would you do it?"
"Because.... ah.... think how cool it would be! I could be the first! I would be in Wikipedia!"
"Look, I can add you to wikipedia right now if you would like."
"I could be in the Guinness Book of World Records!"
"Yeah, if you don't die first."
"but, but, it would be so awesome!"

So do I really have what it takes to do this? I think yes! There is a company that helps with the logistics of this kind of project. I am in contact with them to see how to turn the dream to a real plan. After I get that figured out then I can publicly release what I want to do.