Position Date: 2012-12-23 01:15:03
Position Lat: -80.8843
Position Long: -79.8154
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I suppose at some point in the future, I will look back on today and smile - the effect of time and distance having fully pared down my memory to a few mildly amusing vignettes, but until then I am rooted in the here and now staring across one of the most remote and inhospitable places in the entire world and a goal I'm not sure I'll be able to achieve. (Image: Yours Truly).
I have to remind myself, 'don't make any decisions at the end of the day when you're tired.'
By all accounts it wasn't a terrible day - I covered 26 nautical miles despite a variety of weather conditions. I managed to intersect with an old ALE cat-train trail and for a while things seemed good, but the trail drifted over and I alternated between riding along side and over the drifts.
At some point early on, the light turned flat and it was hard to see much of anything. Then, it started snowing. I couldn't believe it. I burned about 20 minutes trying to set up my camera to take pictures of myself actually riding my bike (not easy) until the visibility improved enough to start riding again.
I've had to amend my travel schedule slightly to accommodate the substantial effort of biking in Antarctica. As it stands now, I bike for an hour then take a break and eat a Clif Bar. After four and a half hours, I pull out my Stanley vacuum food jar and eat some soup (probably the highlight of my day). The hard candy that Skratch made for me has also been a life saver. All told, I was on the 'trail' from 9 to 6:30. (View current position by clicking on map).
I spent a better part of my day trying to manage the overwhelming nature of the task at hand. I am far enough away (plus I couldn't see in the whiteout) from the Patriot Hills so all that stretches between me and the South Pole is a whole lot of snow and ice. In the late afternoon, the sky cleared enough that I could see a rise in the ice in the distance. I will need to climb over 9,000 feet to the pole. For the next 300 miles, I will bike up the somewhat rolling ice sheet of Antarctica.
I spent nearly an hour thinking of an old high school friend, Scott, whose young son, Noah, died tragically in an accident. It put my own troubles in stark perspective. Scott told me last year, 'it's like a burn, and even though the wound heals slightly, the pain never goes away.
He sent along Noah's picture and this quote, 'May each of us have a part of ourselves that never grows up and lives life without training wheels.'
I couldn't agree more.