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On the Ice!
(December 17, 2012)

Cycle South ExpeditionCurrent Position
Position Date: 2012-12-18 03:25:03
Position Lat: -79.7603
Position Long: -82.8561

Three times today I was shaken awake from a dead sleep. Each time, it took several minutes to actually figure out where I was and what I was doing. I didn't sleep at all last night as I was finishing up a bunch of work emails and the prior three days in Punta were exhausting.

The Ilyushin after landing on the blue ice runway at Union GlacierHowever, if I were to have one super strength in this world, it would be the ability to sleep nearly anywhere at any time. After the engines fired up on the Ilyushin in Punta Arenas, balled up my Bergans down jacket and closed my eyes. I smiled to myself as inertia pushed my body into the seat. I was asleep before the wheels were off the ground. (Image: The Ilyushin after landing on the blue ice runway at Union Glacier.)

I was jostled awake by one of the Russian crew four hours later. 'We are landing,' he said in a thick accent. I wondered if would be windy on the runway. Last year, I spent nearly two months in Antarctica guiding for the private logistics company, Adventure Logistics and Expeditions. All told, I have spent nearly six months 'on the ice' leading expeditions to the South Pole.

Walking out of the plane door, I was greeted by familiar faces and a familiar landscape: elephant's head, Charles Peak and the white expanse of Antarctica.

It was so warm I didn't even bother to put on my Ergodyne gloves. WebExpeditions Tim had instructed me to fire off a position report from my inReach beacon and I couldn't resist the draw to pull out my iPhone and text Maria. Landed Safely, I typed.

MapI soon found out that most of the staff here are playing the odds on whether I'll make it or not. For better or worse, it did little to ease my already unsettled nerves. There are big unknowns to cope with when you are attempting something that no one has ever done before. Of course, everyone wanted to see the bike. (View current position by clicking on map)

After a late lunch, I spent the rest of the day working quietly on the moon lander - putting on the cranks, chain and Granite Gear panniers. It felt good to be alone and working on my bike and reminded me of late night wrenching before races in college and after.

A few hours later I could resist the urge to out out for a test spin. The snow around Union Glacier is groomed and hard packed and my bike tires rolled effortlessly along. It felt good to be moving and on the bike and leaving, at least for the moment, a few of the stresses from this expedition behind.

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