Day 35 A rest day! Time to recharge the batteries

A day to recharge

Yeah, I have been thinking about it for a while now and I think my body has needed it, but I decided to take a day to rest today. Woke up pretty tired this morning and the wind was pretty strong, so figured that now was as good a time as any. Still… I felt a bit guilty this afternoon as the weather improved. Over the last few hours there have been absolutely gorgeous conditions, and I can’t help but think about the miles I could have put in… But yeah, my body is grateful for the rest having been on the go almost nonstop for the last 17 days. The only break I have had was that day when I stopped after 6km in those draining snowy whiteout conditions.

So, some sleep, listening to an audio book, and just relaxing really. Time to reflect over the last 35 days as well!

Half Way reflections

On the whole, am happy the way things have gone. Food-wise it has been good. although I wish I brought more cookies and hot chocolate! So nice to have at end of day but of course, I have to ration myself! As I say, all of my dehydrated foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner were made by Expedition Foods, and have been great. I might have gotten too many fish and potato meals from them though. Their other meals like mushroom risotto, vegetable stir fry and Spag Bol have been amazing! Too late to make changes here though!

Good kit – Kitchen box falling apart

My neck and shoulders definitely slowed me down a lot in the first 15 days or so. I am thankful that the painkillers have been able to make things manageable. The equipment has generally been good. A few bits and pieces… the kitchen box on its last legs just isn’t sturdy enough. Hopefully it’ll last the rest of the journey though I wouldn’t bet on it! My harness… is fine though the compass mount – which I use to keep the compass held out in front of me so I don’t have to hold it with my hands – is way too fiddly. It can be a real hassle to put it on each morning, and it’s difficult to know if and when the compass is flat and accurate! It is also too low and I have to strain my neck to look down at it… which doesn’t help my injury.

Navigating by the elements

At the same time I have been able to use the wind and the sastrugi to help with navigation. Really have been pleased the way this has gone. Over the last few days I have hardly had to look at the compass or even the GPS to know that I was going the right direction, just my angle on the sastrugi which has constantly been aligned from the south south west to north north east. Obviously I do occasionally check in my breaks and made minor adjustments but it has all been good.

Daily distance targets

I have so been pleased that despite the pain I have been able to make good progress, and even speed up. I have been setting myself minimum distance targets, trying to get 16km by the lunch break so I set myself up for an afternoon to reach at least 26km. Without going for longer than ten hours (including breaks). And over the second half, while I know it’s going to be tough climbing up another 1,400m to the plateau… through coming large sastrugi fields… I will keep this same approach. Hopefully being able to increase those distances.

So if all goes well, back on the go tomorrow, and onward to the Pole!

Please support Ben’s chosen charity Cancer Research UK

Visit Ben’s blog site to hear Ben’s audio diary from his overnight camp.

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