Some updates courtesy of Polar Race:
The End in Sight – 26th April, 2009
Promptly at 15:00 hours, our teams took off on the final leg of the Race. All were straining at the leash to be away now the end is in sight. With the teams due to fly out to Ottawa next Friday (and some next Saturday) all agreed to forgo the normal 24 hour rest period. Our experience, in any case, points to people getting fitter the further they go into the race and as long as they are well rested up to then and carrying no injuries it should not be a problem. In fact I was told that our oldest competitor Roger Davies came in looking as fresh as a daisy this afternoon and ready to start straight away.
Only another 50 odd miles should see him there. I just hope there is enough left of him for his wife to appreciate when he finishes!
If the satellite photos are to be believed, the teams should now be in an area of flatter ice. This should also put them on a good track to go over the Noice peninsula only miles from the finish. Their skill in navigation now is such that they relish the extra challenge.
One thing for sure — They are all getting their money’s worth!!
Despite all the warnings it still happens!
Raymond last year and Iain this!
Looking like a boxer who has gone “one too many rounds” is Iain Whiteley showing the effects of mild snow blindness. Caused yet again by removing goggles or glasses in this extreme “white light”.
It always feels like you have sand in your eyes. The only answer is rest and normality returns in 36 hours with no permanent damage.
Finish at CP3 (In sight of King Christian Island)… – 25th April, 2009
Once again Pole in One lead in. Behind them it was a close run thing, Magnetic Attraction only 3 hour hours later followed within minutes by Oman North Pole Expedition and Northern Lights. Standard Life are still doggedly pressing on as I write this piece but will probably not be in until lunchtime tomorrow though have elected already to restart with everyone else. They can all “smell” the finish now 53 miles away over the Noice Peninsula on Ellef Ringnes Island.
Heard on Canadian TV this afternoon.
The first of the new Twin Otters will fly later this year.
This amazing aircraft design now over 40 years old is back back in production again. Something all who need to be transported around the Arctic are grateful for!
Jock on Team Standard Life – 24th April, 2009
Time to turn my “rude” pen on Standard Life!
This team is made up of 2 interesting individuals.
Roger Davies is VERY interesting man.
It is something of an anniversary, 2 years ago to the day I was writing a piece on Roddy Caxton-Spencer – then a competitor in the 2007 race. Once back in the UK, Roddy was “telling the tale” to Roger’s wife, a business colleague, who on her return home suggested that it was not something she thought Roger could do.
Roger, who has run a lot of marathons in his life, took this, as so many do, as a challenge and was soon on the phone and signed up. What was so remarkable about this was that Roger only 2 years ago had a heart attack and was subsequently implanted with a Medtronic coronary “stent” and yet now he is only a few days away from completing a really major physical challenge (at the age of 61). Showing that despite a major operation if you have the will then anything is possible.
Roger I know is tired but he is in sight of his goal and will be bringing a trimmer and even fitter figure back to his wife.
James Trotman, in fact joined as our medic but when Roger’s original team-mates withdrew due to work reasons (forced on them by the recession) we thought that this would be a useful opportunity for him and asked him whether he would be willing to team up with Roger. He of course grasped the chance with both hands as we thought he would.
A product of Latymer School his ambition is to be a full time expedition medic. He is a member of the Chiswick RNLI as well and originally as a former oarsman I expected him to want to be involved in the London2 Paris Rowing Challenge. Calm and resourceful even when under extreme pressure, he and Roger have struck up a good partnership.
Watching one of the local Inuits tying down a box on one of their sleds or kommateks reminded me of one of my own personal experiences with knots in the Arctic. I like to think I know quite a bit about knots “bowlines”, “sheepshanks”, “lorryman hitches” even “granny knots” so when I decided to tie an assorted collection of items on to a sled a few years ago before going out on expedition I was hardly phased by the task.
When I stepped back after 15 minutes to view the results I was delighted. The line around everything was so tight it made a tune if you plucked it. That’s going nowhere I thought.
Behind me an Inuit was grinning!!
An hour later out on the trail and everything was vibrating loose. I had done it so tight there was no give in the system as the sled, made of individual planks tied together, flexed as it went over the rough terrain.
Magnetic Attraction own a team-member – 23rd April, 2009
Magnetic Attraction covered an average of 16 miles over the last 2 days despite the loss of team mate Julie.
Julie was unable to walk to the start of leg 3 due to a hip problem and in the best interests of the team withdrew. Devastated at not being able to continue with teammates Lucas and Arabella.
Safety is of paramount importance. I don’t want to put the team in a position where they need to haul me out because I have become immobile”
The successful completion of Leg 2 was a great achievement and “full on” Arctic experience, done with the leadership and encouragement of Lucas and Arabella.
Julie is now safely back in Resolute and her hip is slowly recovering.
An Awesome setting for a start. – 22nd April, 2009
In contrast to the first couple of weeks of the race today dawned windless and almost warm in Resolute at -13°C. For our racers they must have had a glorious day out on the ice though they were struggling through a big rubble field from the start as can be seen from the photograph above. For most this was very daunting as some of the teams had little rest at the last checkpoint. However they are over the worst and it is all down hill now.
They can see the end – it is in sight
Here in Resolute it was Checkpoint crew “Pick up day” as we readied the plane to pick up Steve Clay and Tony. Chris was also taking the opportunity to fly up to see for himself the top of Bathurst Island. We were going to hop Steve and Clay forward to CP3 which is next to King Christian Island from where they were going to ski to the finish.
So, to make it easy for them we have lightened the normal checkpoint load so they stand the best possible chance of keeping up with the by then “superfit” racers.