The End of the Last Desert: And just like that the Antarctic conditions totally erased all chance of us completing the last two stages on day 4. I would like to say that I was annoyed and wanted to race hard over the following two stages. In reality I was going to have to burn myself out completely to hang on to 2nd and would have struggled to make the 3km up on Paul for the overall win. Evgeniy has won much bigger events than this in the past (he won the Gobi March a couple of years ago over a strong field of 150 ish) and Dean, as I have mentioned before, has won plenty of big races including Badwater (the ultimate ultra race 135 miles through Death Valley) and the Atacama Crossing. There will be an awards ceremony as we come back through the Beagle Channel in a couple of days time.
The Rest of the Trip: We spent that afternoon in Paradise Bay cruising around in the zodiacs and walking onshore, our first real rest period since the racing started. I took some great photos but I pressed the black and white button by accident on the camera setting so every sodding photo I have now looks like I was trying to get arty. We then sailed up to Deception Island in the South Shetland Islands 14 hours north overnight. It was so rough that I got to sleep at 1am and was up again at 2 30am. It was awful and plenty of people were sick. From then on the weather has not eased off and when we were supposed to be landing ashore yesterday for a 5 hour stage we were in fact caught in 80kmph winds with some scary 10 metre waves coming over the side of the boat. Since then we have been banned from going outside and are left to suffer a 60 hour journey back to South America in horrendous conditions. I boycotted dinner last night as I felt so sick and am now typing this lying sideways on my bunk. No bad thing as it was so rough that all of the dinner for 50 people went onto the floor of the kitchen and one of the chefs cut his arm open. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Sounds horrific. It is. Last night we had a celebratory drink up as the seas rose up the side of the boat and over the windows on the 4th deck. Scary stuff. I have learnt that Pisco Sour is disgusting. Frank spent most of the night crying from either NASTY cocktails or laughing too much and Paul our race leader tried to make his way through a bottle of JD literally on his own. In the end Pete B was awarded the yellow jersey for leading everyone through the evening making his own special drinks: LE TURD incl baileys which curdled in coke and a special ingredient that Pete won't release. Great for sea sickness though. 30 hours to go, 2 more nights of fun.
Monday, 1 December 2008
Stage 4: 3 hours in the thickest snow yet kicked off early in the morning. It is 24 hour daylight here therefore the time of day was irrelevant but we were all extremely tired. Dean, Evgeniy and myself trailed each other for 1 hour 40 passing lots of people repeatedly on the 1km loop. I made the fatal mistake of not eating during that time which was stupid as I knew it would cause me to blow up. In fact I lost the plot and started getting dizzy and seeing stars at around 2 hours. As I came back past the start finish line Mary the Race Director shouted over was I tired today. I could barely respond but tried to keep it covered up. I walked a hundred yards to eat something and then started jogging slowly. My energy never came back but I did recover slightly. As long as Evgeniy and Dean did not lap me I would be allocated the same distance so I fought to hang on for that last hour. I managed to do it, putting a lap into Paul at the same time. 3km between him in 1st and me in 2nd Evgeniy 1.5km back in 3rd with 2 stages to go.