Position Date: 2012-12-22 00:00:03
Position Lat: -80.4529
Position Long: -79.9388
I didn't want to get up this morning. What was I thinking coming to Antarctica to try this thing - biking to the South Pole. 'A crazy idea,' I said to myself out loud. Besides, my sleeping bag was warm and the sun had circled around enough the the vestibule side of my small Hilleberg tent was starting to warm up. (Image: The Moonlander posing in front of the Patriot Hills).
It's always hard for me to wake up but today seemed especially worse. I had slept relatively soundly but more anxiety dreams kept startling me awake grasping to understand where I was and what was fiction. I would think about several involving Merritt (my 10.5 week-old baby boy) all day long.
I managed to orient myself enough to light my MSR stove and start melting snow for breakfast. At least the tent was cozy. With absolutely no wind, it was downright balmy inside. While my one-person Hilleberg may seem more like a nylon coffin than a Antarctic worthy structure, I'm able to stretch out nicely with all my gear. additionally, the small footprint means no open floor space to conduct cold.
I've been VERY lucky weather-wise and the first day of Summer in Anatrctica lived up to the billing. Almost immediately, I took off my Bergans Expeditions she'll and just rode in my Ergodyne Core base layer and multiband nearly the entire day. It was too warm for my Optic Nerve googles so I switched to my favorite pair of ON sunglasses.
I nearly had one major mechanical today. At some point, I looked down to see my rear tire dangerously low. I stopped got out my pump and filled it back up - I hadn't totally closed the barrel on the valve stem. Had I ridden much longer I would have surly gotten a flat. I got lucky. (View current position by clicking on map).
The terrain today was actually pretty decent. There were a few soft spots but nothing too crazy. Of course, still enough to serve as a reminder that nothing about this trip is going to be easy. Navigation was a bit tricky weaving in and around drifts but it was made easier by my proximity to the Patriot Hills and three Nunateks called the Three Sails. Still, there was enough sastrugi and drifting to keep me bouncing off my seat all day long.
In one way it feels weird to be on a bike. I have three season's of prior experience and therefore, all my frame of references relate to being on skis. So to clip in to pedals and start rolling along seems odd and out of place here. Yet at the same time, weaving in and around sastrugi is an incredible experience. The juxtaposition of bike and ice seem to make rolling along all that more interesting. (At least until the whiteout at the end of the day.) Before I was anything, I was a biker.
Of course, all this biking does have a greater purpose. I believe that if I can ride my bike to the South Pole, you can use a bike to change the world. One way is by donating to the Davis Phinney Foundation who are using bikes in the fight against Parkinson's Disease. Pleas help me raise $10,000 for DPF. This issue is particularly close to me as my dad has been fighting Parkinson's disease for nearly 25 years.
But please allow me one last indulgence before I go to sleep: Goodnight little Merritt - your dad loves you very much!