So so very happy!!! Really incredibly delighted! With the context of the neck pain issues, and how I was starting to lose confidence in being able to do this; starting to consider the options… the last few consecutive days of really good distances have massively improved confidence. The pain is much more manageable now; how much of that is to the meds or to my body’s recovery is moot, but I still feel I need to take the painkillers and they definitely help.
Great Weather conditions
At the same time, the weather the last few days has been pretty spectacular. Great visibility which really helped when going through that massive sastrugi field today, and in navigating around the regular sastrugi on the other days! Today was perfect though. Its been really very still, warm (-7C, no wind chill. I actually missed a little bit of a breeze as that helps stop you overheating and sweating. Rust me I am definitely not complaining!! All accompanied by clear blue skies. Just beautiful. There were large sastrugi patches, but easily navigable.
30km on the cards
By lunch time, I had managed 17km – a good feeling. I would have been happy with that distance in a full day at the start!! I thought it might be possible to get to 30km but thought 29km was more realistic as my afternoon sessions are shorter. So, as I felt myself able to maintain the pace over the next four sessions. I cheered out loud as I hit the 30km mark 15 minutes before my hard stop time. I treated myself to camping 10 minutes early!!!
(Photo – it might be warm but you can see from the ice on the mask attached to the goggles that it still is a little chilly!)
With all the chores out of the way at the end of the day; messages sent and calls made. I forgot to say yesterday that I need to make sure the sat phone and other devices are warm before I use them. Otherwise the batteries quickly die in the cold. Ice is melted, water bottles filled and solar panels setup. Then it’s time to sleep.
It’s generally pretty warm in the tent, especially with the 24 hours of sunlight. But when there are whiteouts, it can get cold. With that it’s best not getting too hot in the sleeping bag as you don’t want to sweat in the bag. The moisture gets into the fabric and when it is colder, doesn’t evaporate.
I always make sure that I have my pee bottle nearby! Saves having to get up completely when you need to go in the night. When you do need to go, you should go rather than try holding it in! If you hold it in, your body burns more calories, and every calorie here is precious!!)
I keep my sleeping bag, foam mattress and air mattress in an Arctic bedding bag, which keeps everything nicely together. In the morning I can just zip it all up and put on top of the sled, securing using the sled straps. Then it’s easy to bring it all into the tent in the evening. My only problem now is that the air mattress has an annoying slow puncture that I have tried again and again to find. All to no avail. So have just about given up hope with that. Fortunately with the insulated tent floor under the foam mattress, I don’t get cold. Am just not as comfortable as I should be.
Please support Ben’s chosen charity Cancer Research UK https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ben-weber1
Visit Ben’s blog site to hear Ben’s audio diary from his overnight camp. https://polarweber.com/