Sunday, September 29, 2013

First Cold Ride of the Season

Snow at the summit of Alpine Loop
There have been a few cool rides, but last night's ride was the first really cold ride of the season. After work I put on what little warm gear I had, a Pearl Izumi soft shell jacket and thermal tights, got my lights going and jumped on the fat bike and headed for the canyon in pursuit of some snow. It had snowed as low as 5,000 ft earlier but then it warmed up. So I wasn't sure if I would be able to find snow even though the top of the canyon is at 8,060 ft.

Of course climbing I was plenty warm. The fat bike isn't particularly fast so I didn't hit the summit until about 11pm. There were remains of snow starting at Salamander Flats and continuing up to the summit, but never any real accumulation of snow.

I had to be careful on the decent because I really wasn't dressed for the combination of cold and wind on the way down. Used a lot of brake to keep the wind chill down, but still got my hands, feet,  and legs cold. Once I got out of the canyon and could start pushing again everything warmed up fine, but the cold on the legs resulted in a bit of leg cramping and pain in the knee.

I have decided I really don't like the tubeless setup on my fat bike. It just seems the low pressure of the tires and aggressive riding tends to break the seal too much and I loose air a lot. I had to pump up my rear tire three times during the 55 miles and 7ish hours of riding. I definitely won't be going tubeless on the South Pole expedition. At -40° F the sealant would freeze and overall it just hasn't been reliable.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Is it Winter?

Getting ready to bike home. It has suddenly turned from summer to winter, but it will probably get hot again in the next few weeks. Fall is a great time for mountain biking in Utah. The cooler temperatures and the fall colors really make this the best time of year for mountain biking. Before long it will be snow biking season. Of course I will miss most of the Utah snow biking season as I will be getting a second summer in Antarctica but it will be a very cold summer. 

Hopefully I get a nice cold head wind to bike into on the way home.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Sponsor: Borealis Fat Bikes

 If you could choose any bike to use to bike across Antarctica to the South Pole which would you choose? My choice was the Borealis Yampa.

A light weight carbon frame designed to take 4 inch wide rims, and a 5 inch wide tire will help me stay on top of the snow. Also the frame and fork have mounting bolts for racks. I will be using a combination of sled and panniers to be able to carry my gear. I will be able to adjust my load to the sled when float is critical. In areas where the ice becomes like sandpaper I can move more of the load onto the panniers.
I am super excited to have Borealis as a sponsor and also to be able to sell their bikes at Epic Biking, my bike store.
Shimano has committed to providing me components for the bike, and Skinz Protective Gear will be providing hand guards and packs for the bike. 

Live Tracking Page

I purchased a DeLorme inReach SE for the expedition, and added a live tracking page to my blog.  It will allow anyone to see my progress as I bike to the South Pole. The inReach will upload my location to the page using Iridium satellites.  Cool, but really this is a critical part of my safety equipment. In the event of an emergency ALE can ping the device and get my exact location.

I am one of the few remaining hold outs on text messaging. I have never sent a text message on a phone. Seems kind of dumb to me. Why send text when I could talk. It seems like moving backwards in technology from phone to telegraph. I think I will skip the whole texting thing and wait for morse code or Pony Express to be the in thing.

Anyway, the inReach also allows me to send and receive text messages. Hey, I finally found a good reason for texting, sending updates to my blog!

I am testing out the inReach and turned it on for my bike ride with friends this morning, and then the commute to work. 10 minute updates isn't frequent enough to make a decent track for a short ride like this, but the slower speeds and longer time of the expedition should make a nice track of my progress. I also plan to track the route with a standard GPS giving more detailed data on the trip that can be uploaded after I return.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Visiting Antarctica

My oldest son was always a smart kid. At a very young age you could show him the flag for any nation and he could tell you what nation it belonged to. With his love of different countries, languages, knowledge and penguins, he has always loved penguins, I imagined he would grow up to be a research scientist in Antarctica. He is now working on getting a PhD in math.

Anyway I always thought that some day my son would travel to Antarctica, but until this year I never really thought that I would be going to Antarctica. As I work on gathering all the gear for the expedition things are starting to feel more real all the time.

Side note: Here is a map showing where people are from that are visiting my blog. Of course with the South Pole at the top of the map. ;-)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Taking in Stray Animals

I am not good at shaving every day. It is just one of those things that I skip a little to often. Yesterday I said something about growing a beard for two months. I was meaning while on the expedition but my wife thought maybe that I had started growing a beard in preparation for the expedition with the thought that a beard can add a layer of protection to my face. Hmm, do I want to start the expedition clean shaved or with a two month old beard?

Friday, September 20, 2013


My new passport arrived today. Apparently I can get it stamped at the South Pole. I didn't get many stamps in my old passport. There is one from Nice France, one from Fiumicino (Rome) Italy, and one from retuning to the USA. I never got any from Paris, Germany, or any of the Caribbean islands. 
New and old passport pictures. I've gotten older balder and apparently bigger headed. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

First Bike Ride to South Pole?

I don't know for sure, but it looks like I may be the only bike expedition to the South Pole this year. If so then if  (oh no, this is looking like a computer program) I take care of myself and avoid injury, then I will be first. However, like Kate Leeming told me, it is what I do with the privilege of biking to the South Pole that really matters.

Can I use this to further my goal to help people live an active lifestyle, to combat diabetes and heart disease, to live a longer healthier life? Can I use this privilege for good? 

It is True

I'm going to the South Pole!

Yeah, yeah, I know that is what I have been telling everyone for the last 8 months, but yesterday I had a nice meeting with Steve and Tim from ALE, and I am just so excited that this is actually going to happen! There is no way I could even think of doing this without the help of ALE, but with their 30+ years of experience with South Pole expeditions I can do it! (OK a lot of use of the ! but I am just that excited!)

We went through a lot of stuff about ALE and how things work, and looked at various aspects of the Hercules Inlet to the South Pole route, talked about crevasses, tents, stove fuel, daily routine, panniers vs sled, food, snow conditions, navigation, gear, and much more.

I have a lot of gear I need to get in place before I leave. I need a parka like the expedition parka and other gear from Canada Goose. I am going to use an InReach SE that will be great for the blog to allow people to see where I am and follow my progress, but more importantly it allows ALE to always know where I am in case of an emergency. I also need to get a pair of Iridium satellite phones and spare batteries, and of course a solar charger for everything. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Some Gear for the Bike

Just added Skinz Protective Gear to my list of sponsors. They make a lot of items designed for a fat bike. The Heatflex Hand Guards have a great way of attaching to the handlebar to keep them in the right place. These add a lot of warm protection for the hands.

They also have a stem handlebar pack that will be great for the GPS. One of the great features of this pack is a spot for a hand warmer under the holder for the phone/GPS. The biggest problem with GPS devices in Antarctica is in the extreme cold the batteries don't last very long. By keeping the GPS in the handlebar pack with the backlight on it will generate heat in the pack helping to keep the battery warm.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Working on Food Plan

Been working with Jonathan at Ready Store on my food plan for the expedition. He is doing a great job of making sure I will have the calories and right balance of carbs/fats/protein. Also working through the weight and size requirements, and amount of fuel needed to melt snow.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Game On

Well, the last few weeks have been rough. I have put so much into doing this expedition, but it was all dependent on getting sponsorships. I worked hard to get the sponsorships, but when the deadline to pay for the expedition came, I still did not have the sponsorships needed.

I don't give up easily. I got a junk phone call offering loans for businesses. Hmmm, maybe I could get a business loan to do this. Talking to my credit union, a few other credit unions, and a couple of banks, a business loan wouldn't work, but they suggested a home equity loan. So I tried the home loan. Denied! 

It sure is hard to get a loan when you have no income. I just couldn't bear the thought of not going. I do have a fair amount of equity in my home, so I go back and ask them to take a second look. 

On Tuesday I finally got the call saying the loan has been approved! The expedition is on! Time to get serious about getting all the equipment, tents, coats, boots, etc.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Cycling Fantasy

"Denmark is planning 500km of 'cycle superhighways' in and around Copenhagen. The Netherlands has more than 35,000km of bike lanes." -- The Guardian

As a bike shop owner the greatest barrier I see for people riding bikes on roads is the fear of cars. Riding a bike a few inches away from cars that are flying by at 60mph with drivers that are more interested in their dumb "smart phones" then they are in driving is very intimidating.

One of the interesting things with Utah is that about 80% of of the population lives along the Wasatch front, and therefore lives within a few miles of a freeway.

My cycling fantasy would be a bike lane built into the Utah freeways. The bike lane could be separated from the car traffic with a cement barricade protecting the cyclists from cars. At the freeway exits and entrances the bike lane would go over or under the exits. A good example of how this could work is the Murdock Canal trail that goes from Lehi to Orem. Cyclists could then enjoy the same advantages that cars have of nonstop travel along the freeway corridors. The cost would be relatively minor given that the roadways already exist, and the cost of creating a bicycle freeway would be offset by the reduction in health care costs and reduced pollution because people would be able to safely use their bikes to commute.

Yeah I know, it will never happen, but I can at least dream.