Position Date: 2012-12-25 01:15:03
Position Lat: -81.5857
Position Long: -79.9199
Christmas Eve in Antarctica. Of course, my biggest problem today is simply making sure that Santa Claus knows that I'm nearly at the exact opposite ends of the Earth. (Image: Practicing for my next expedition - VACATION!)
By all accounts, it was a decent day - I managed to tick off another 22.3 nautical miles. The weather held for the day and I pushed hard. I've found that getting through the whole day requires an hour-long lunch break - which is nice for many reasons - one of which is simply giving a small goal half way through the day. I've found that to think forward past each day is overwhelming.
I'm still on and off the old cat trail. It seems that it takes about 24 hours for the snow to settle enough to support the weight of the Moonlander and I. Bike-wise, as an aside, I have had absolutely no problems - which provides a substantial piece of mind. The big struggle today, besides soft snow, was several long climbs.
My body, on the other hand, has experienced a few minor blips. A seam in my bike shorts, chaffed some of my nether regions (I know, sorry) and to ease the pain, I stuffed one of my big Bergans mittens down my pants. Can you say field fix? I thought you could!
I've spent four of the last five Christmases in Antarctica. In 2008, we had a celebration complete with presents. Last year on my last degree South Pole Expedition, I gave everybody Wenger knives. In 2009, closing in on the pole, I managed to smuggle a beer into my last resupply. I can even begin to describe how good it was. (View current position by clicking on map).
Maria gave me a few presents to open on the trip, but I couldn't afford the extra weight so I opened them in Punta Arenas. Thoughtful gifts, my favorite being a DVD of one my favorite movies, Never Cry Wolf.
WebExpedition Tim sent me an encouraging DeLorme inReach message. He also sent an email through the iPad mini/RoadPost Iridium phone and Access Point. It's definitely nice to get these messages but I think moving forward on the bike here requires singular focus on the task at hand and the mental strain of thinking about family and friends only compounds a sense of loneliness.
Because I can't, please enjoy this day with loved ones for me. Don't waste anytime with pleasantries, either. Just walk up to them and give them a big hug or kiss or whatever! Of course mine would go to Maria and Merritt, but I also want to give a Holiday shout out to my two nephews Luke and Tyler, too! Thinking of all my family today and always.
Still, I feel lucky to be here. Antarctica is an incredible place and as difficult as this trip has been I smile every time I hope on the bike. Sitting, rolling and snow as far as the eye can see...how is this anything rooted in reality?
Remember, one of the goals of Cycle South is to help raise awareness for the groundbreaking research that is being done by the Davis Phinney Foundation, looking for ways that bicycles can help improve the lives of those who live with Parkinson's. Please donate here: www.davisphinneyfoundation.org/giving/donate/