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  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Yeah. You'll up your odds of getting there first if you start on a significantly shorter route.
    What am l missing here? They all started from "virtual" shoreline. Juan and Dan picked their route that is not the longest possible route, at least it doesn't look like it. She picked a shorter route. How is this wrong?
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  2. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Yeah. You'll up your odds of getting there first if you start on a significantly shorter route.
    I noticed that on the map. How can one call it an even race if all don't start from equal distances?


    I guess one will be the first person on a trike, another on a bike and lastly one on skis to reach the south pole.
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  3. #203
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    Chalk one up for the recumbent trike! Woohoo!
    I've toured thousands of road miles by recumbent trike and hundreds of miles on dirt but never on snow. I normally ride a Pugsley on snow, and it even surprised me that she beat the fatbikes to the pole. I guess the extra floatation and better aerodynamics paid off.

  4. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtDad View Post
    Awesome! Congratulations to her.

    I hope all 3 riders finish. There will be discussion about bike vs trike vs ski, but in the end, Maria got there first and as others have observed, everything else will be just a technicality for most people.
    +1 - good to see her make it. She seemed to be well prepared and executed her plan well.

    I hope the two guys make it as well in due course.
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  5. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solo-Rider View Post
    I noticed that on the map. How can one call it an even race if all don't start from equal distances?


    I guess one will be the first person on a trike, another on a bike and lastly one on skis to reach the south pole.
    Bike, trikes, quads, they are all human powered vehicles that you pedal. Skis are a different category. The UCI drew an arbitrary delineation back in 1934 between diamond frame bikes and recumbents in racing because recumbents were winning most of the races. Regardless of what a few dead French guys said 80 years ago, they are still all human powered vehicles.

  6. #206
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solo-Rider View Post
    How can one call it an even race if all don't start from equal distances?
    A race? How did they all end up down there at the same time to begin with?
    Coincidence? My understanding is that these are 3 completely independent efforts that just happened to arrive at the same time (or thereabouts)?

    I've a buddy that's the chief heli pilot at Mcmurdo.. he and his team have been down there for quite some time flying this season so I don't think departure date would have been weather related.

    Was there some law/rule that stated they couldn't start at an earlier date?

  7. #207
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    Re: An Antartic bike ride unassisted to the South Pole

    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    +1 - good to see her make it. She seemed to be well prepared and executed her plan well.

    I hope the two guys make it as well in due course.
    Ah but she didn't. Her trike was too heavy so she gave all of her gear to her following camera crew. Also abandoning her unsupported status at the same time.
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  8. #208
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    It is still badass that she made it. Further than me for sure since I'm sitting at home on my couch!
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  9. #209
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Ah but she didn't. Her trike was too heavy so she gave all of her gear to her following camera crew. Also abandoning her unsupported status at the same time.
    Bummer. I wasn't aware of that.
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  10. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solo-Rider View Post
    I noticed that on the map. How can one call it an even race if all don't start from equal distances?


    I guess one will be the first person on a trike, another on a bike and lastly one on skis to reach the south pole.
    What about equal climbs or equal equipment? Oh no! The world is not Nascar.
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  11. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Maria made it to the south pole today on her trike. It took her 10 days.
    Sorry, but *yawn*. If a fjord pierced the Antarctic continent to within 100 meters of the South Pole would that have been a legitimate starting point for a quest to the pole because it was technically "on the coast"? Any human-first-expedition that isn't even long enough for your underwear to start stinking is basically a farce in my book.

    Sorry, but not impressed.
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  12. #212
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    ...yeah, but to be impressive, you've got to start where you would have gotten off of a boat...IMHO...although just getting of the couch impresses me lately...
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  13. #213
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    Funny how Maria's starting point is considered "not valid" by some.

    Consider this: if Mt Denali wouldn't have been climbed as of yet and two mountaineers would try it, one starting on foot in Anchorage and the other one at the base of the mountain...
    Would you consider the guy who made the summit first but hitched a ride to get as close as possible to the actual goal a cheat, or just smart logistics ?
    Would a guy starting on foot in the south of Argentina be granted the honor of being the first "real one" on Denali ?

    The long way around is only interesting if you can make much faster progress compared to very slow going taking a shortcut. Here that was obviously not the case, so she was just being smarter in her preparation.

    Wether she and Dan did that assisted (like using oxygen and a sherpa team on a big summit), or solo like Juan, is another discussion.

    And if summutting while carrying a bike on your backpack and then claiming you're the first biking to the summit is worth mentioning, yet another.

    If I were Juan I'd maybe have choosen a cyclocross bike: that would have shaved 20 lbs off the weight he has to pull along .

    All that really matters is that it's a big adventure for all three, I hope they enjoy(ed) it - I wish I would be concluding the year in similar style :-).

  14. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    Funny how Maria's starting point is considered "not valid" by some.

    Consider this: if Mt Denali wouldn't have been climbed as of yet and two mountaineers would try it, one starting on foot in Anchorage and the other one at the base of the mountain...
    Would you consider the guy who made the summit first but hitched a ride to get as close as possible to the actual goal a cheat, or just smart logistics ?
    Would a guy starting on foot in the south of Argentina be granted the honor of being the first "real one" on Denali ?

    The long way around is only interesting if you can make much faster progress compared to very slow going taking a shortcut. Here that was obviously not the case, so she was just being smarter in her preparation.

    Wether she and Dan did that assisted (like using oxygen and a sherpa team on a big summit), or solo like Juan, is another discussion.

    And if summutting while carrying a bike on your backpack and then claiming you're the first biking to the summit is worth mentioning, yet another.

    If I were Juan I'd maybe have choosen a cyclocross bike: that would have shaved 20 lbs off the weight he has to pull along .

    All that really matters is that it's a big adventure for all three, I hope they enjoy(ed) it - I wish I would be concluding the year in similar style :-).
    ^^^This.
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  15. #215
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    In your Denali analogy, she didn't start in Anchorage or even at the base of the mountain. She got dropped off at the top of Motorcycle Hill and had someone carry her pack the rest of the way up. I'm not against being smart and doing trips efficiently, I just would not put her "achievement" in the same category as a real expedition like biking (with some help from your friends) to the base of Denali, climbing the north side, skiing out, and packrafting home (with a little more help from your friends). E.g., Bike/Ski/Raft Denali Traverse |
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  16. #216
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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    Funny how Maria's starting point is considered "not valid" by some.

    Consider this: if Mt Denali wouldn't have been climbed as of yet and two mountaineers would try it, one starting on foot in Anchorage and the other one at the base of the mountain...
    Would you consider the guy who made the summit first but hitched a ride to get as close as possible to the actual goal a cheat, or just smart logistics ?
    Would a guy starting on foot in the south of Argentina be granted the honor of being the first "real one" on Denali ?

    The long way around is only interesting if you can make much faster progress compared to very slow going taking a shortcut. Here that was obviously not the case, so she was just being smarter in her preparation.

    Wether she and Dan did that assisted (like using oxygen and a sherpa team on a big summit), or solo like Juan, is another discussion.

    And if summutting while carrying a bike on your backpack and then claiming you're the first biking to the summit is worth mentioning, yet another.

    If I were Juan I'd maybe have choosen a cyclocross bike: that would have shaved 20 lbs off the weight he has to pull along .

    All that really matters is that it's a big adventure for all three, I hope they enjoy(ed) it - I wish I would be concluding the year in similar style :-).
    I think a more accurate analogy would be comparing a guy who starts climbing Denali from the base of the mountain to a guy who gets a helicopter ride and gets dropped off halfway up the mountain. Either way, I salute all who have made the effort to ride to the South pole. And I think fat trikes are bad ass. Not quite as bad ass as fat bikes, but I plan on making a fat trike too! Not riding to the south pole though.

  17. #217
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    So that means that all these attempts are basically for naught, because they all got started more or less close to the south pole.

    The only real 1st & badass south pole biker should start as far from that pole as he/she can possibly get. For the record, that's even outside the polar circle, one of those tips of land that stick out.

    Or... do we we have to take into account the ice shelves as well...

    But... those change each year, so any serious attempt should wait for a nice & big ice shelf at one of those tips to start an attempt at the one and only real page in history books (until a longer ice shelf comes along).
    Imagine starting such an attempt, only to have to break the shelf off just before you get to the "beach" !

    Just trolling a bit, sorry, couldn't help it - happy new year !

  18. #218
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    I'm not trying to take away anyone's accomplishments. It's awesome no matter how it gets sliced. I realize, this is three independent efforts. However, if the goal is to traverse across and continent and be the first to a given point. Then once word gets passed down, that two other teams are attempting the same feat, at that point it becomes a race. (In my mind)

    As for what distance is required in order to say, one has crossed a continent.

    That's up to someone else to decide.

    Congrats to whoever!
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  19. #219
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    In my mind....even if all three of them make it.....the record books will still be open for an attempt at completion in good style.

    I liken these attempts to the rock climbing world. You might be the first to "climb" something and use all sorts of aid.....but someone will eventually come along and free climb what you climbed with aid. For alot of people(myself included).....this is the end goal. To do something in the purest form possible.

    All three of this years cyclists might make it to the pole......but someone will hopefully come along at a later date and repeat it with more admirable style.
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    If someone could be dropped of at the base of Hillary Step, could they say they climbed Mt. Everest?

  21. #221
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    I agree, it's an open door. I kind of think the point is just to show it can be done. With that in mind, I hope they all make their point. I have PM'd Eric Larsen who made the attempt last year. I wanted to know the specific reason he, Juan, and Dan all started from that specific point. I am assuming there is a very good reason. I'll pass on what I find out.
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  22. #222
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    For what it is worth:

    I have a buddy that has been stationed at the South Pole the last 2 years.
    He's at McMurdo this year so didn't get to meet Maria.

    That said.. he mentioned people arriving at the pole with bicycles LAST year when he was there.

    His words:
    "Everyone who rides a bike to the pole has a support team and ends up skiing most of the way. Last year 2 showed up and unloaded their bikes off their sledges about 100 meters from the pole and rode in for a "successful" ride to the pole."

    I've messaged him to ask him for more details. I'll post up when I hear back.

  23. #223
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Yeah. You'll up your odds of getting there first if you start on a significantly shorter route.
    Even when you start later and your route is too steep for the others?

    Kudos to all of them- it's still a kick-ass achievement.

    I can see the advantage to the monster trike in horrific side winds, but think an AWD pedal quad might have been even better.

    The door is still open for more records building on the experience from this time, perhaps all the way across or Scott's route etc...

  24. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ofroad'bent View Post
    I can see the advantage to the monster trike in horrific side winds, but think an AWD pedal quad might have been even better.
    One of the members over at Bentrider.com built a custom quad for touring, but it was so slow due to the extra weight and rolling resistance of the tires that the tour was aborted and in 2yrs or so since then I don't think that bent has rolled on another tour.

    Trouble with these human powered adventures is the human power is really limited so it's important to be efficient in all senses of the word.
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  25. #225
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    True, but this was a $10k custom job, so a lot of tech there already. Not sure it would be much harder to at least get 2WD, like the Lighfoot quad.
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    kudos to these bad ass adventurers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ofroad'bent View Post
    True, but this was a $10k custom job, so a lot of tech there already. Not sure it would be much harder to at least get 2WD, like the Lighfoot quad.
    Getting the machine built is not the hard part. Pedalling/pushing the extra weight and rolling resistance is the problem given the power available from the rider is fixed.
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  28. #228
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    One of the members over at Bentrider.com built a custom quad for touring, but it was so slow due to the extra weight and rolling resistance of the tires that the tour was aborted and in 2yrs or so since then I don't think that bent has rolled on another tour.

    Trouble with these human powered adventures is the human power is really limited so it's important to be efficient in all senses of the word.
    What kind of touring was he doing? Pavement or off-raod. For flat pavement this may be true, but when you get into difficult terrain with limited traction, etc. the game changes. The priority can switch from speed and efficiency to maintaining momentum and traction. You can always gear down as far as you need to to be able to power the quad.

    For difficult terrains like antarctica, I think a 2wd quad with much more traction, stability, and floatation, would excel in certain sections where the fatbike was not even rideable and had to be pushed. In other sections where the fatbike could be ridden efficiently, it would excel. There comes a point when the nastiness of the terrain changes what constitutes cycling efficiency and the method to achieve it.

    It would come down to analyzing the terrain to be ridden and deciding which vehicle would be more efficient over the average of it all. I would rather ride a quad slowly geared down than push a fatbike. I think that we'll start seeing development in quads for off-road riding/touring, but it will be for a different kind of riding. By people who want to explore the limits of what can be ridden by pedal power, not rideable on two wheels. Slow crawling type stuff. That being said, I think in most type of riding a fatbike would be much more efficient and the way to go.

  29. #229
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    Quote Originally Posted by N8R View Post
    What kind of touring was he doing? Pavement or off-raod. For flat pavement this may be true, but when you get into difficult terrain with limited traction, etc. the game changes. The priority can switch from speed and efficiency to maintaining momentum and traction. You can always gear down as far as you need to to be able to power the quad.
    He was on a paved road. Flat road riding wasn't the problem. Climbing was. Soft snow is like climbing all the time.

    When you are dealing with carrying your own gear and food. There is an inescapable equation between rider power - speed - time - food/fuel weight that means speed and efficiency is vital. If you go slowly you need to carry so much food you can't pedal the Quad/trike/bike effectively no matter how much traction you have.

    You also have to compare your speed with pushing the bike through the same terrain. As soon as you can push faster than pedal it makes sense to do so.

    A "bike" that is easier to push is a big benefit.

    I've never been on an offroad bike tour that didn't involve a bunch of pushing and/or carrying the bike/gear.

    I wouldn't want to add more complexity/weight/rolling resistance to the machine I was riding as a solution. In fact I'd go the other way to make it as simple/light/efficient as possible in both riding and pushing modes.
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  30. #230
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    He was on a paved road. Flat road riding wasn't the problem. Climbing was. Soft snow is like climbing all the time.

    When you are dealing with carrying your own gear and food. There is an inescapable equation between rider power - speed - time - food/fuel weight that means speed and efficiency is vital. If you go slowly you need to carry so much food you can't pedal the Quad/trike/bike effectively no matter how much traction you have.

    You also have to compare your speed with pushing the bike through the same terrain. As soon as you can push faster than pedal it makes sense to do so.

    A "bike" that is easier to push is a big benefit.

    I've never been on an offroad bike tour that didn't involve a bunch of pushing and/or carrying the bike/gear.

    I wouldn't want to add more complexity/weight/rolling resistance to the machine I was riding as a solution. In fact I'd go the other way to make it as simple/light/efficient as possible in both riding and pushing modes.
    That's true. It is a complex equation with many variables. I still wouldn't dismiss the viability of a quad for certain applications though. It easy to make a blanket statement for all conditions without actually testing things, as well as come to incomplete conclusions with insufficient testing. For example soft snow is only part of the equation with many variables, and there are many variables to be tested and compared. It's possible that having the right width tires on a quad with the right psi in soft snow won't sink down into the snow as much which will make it easier to ride at a faster speed than a fatbike or even pushing. I'm not saying this is the case, just saying it' possible and takes thorough testing. I don't think anyone one has done complete and thorough testing with quads yet to be able to say they won't work.
    To me it doesn't make sense to make blanket statements or jump to conclusions based on theory mixed with limited testing/conditions.

  31. #231
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    I looked at the video of the quad in action from the link posted. We can deduce from it's use under prim conditions, that it looks more difficult then a standard fatbike. Going by that, it's easier to come to the conclusion that under the extremely harsh conditions of a polar expedition that it would not be the best choice.

    Just going the video.
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  32. #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I agree, it's an open door. I kind of think the point is just to show it can be done. With that in mind, I hope they all make their point. I have PM'd Eric Larsen who made the attempt last year. I wanted to know the specific reason he, Juan, and Dan all started from that specific point. I am assuming there is a very good reason. I'll pass on what I find out.
    The start location probably has a lot to do with access/proximity to blue ice runways.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  33. #233
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    Quote Originally Posted by N8R View Post
    To me it doesn't make sense to make blanket statements or jump to conclusions based on theory mixed with limited testing/conditions.
    I am basing my opinions on doing and seeing lots of simple bike touring setups being successful in challenging conditions and never seeing an overly complex setup being successful.

    I'm open to new data if any exists.
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  34. #234
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solo-Rider View Post
    I looked at the video of the quad in action from the link posted. We can deduce from it's use under prim conditions, that it looks more difficult then a standard fatbike. Going by that, it's easier to come to the conclusion that under the extremely harsh conditions of a polar expedition that it would not be the best choice.

    Just going the video.
    Fair enough, without trying any of them I really can't say.

    From looking at it, the Quad has an advantage of easier cargo hauling, more flotation due to 1 more wheel and the ability for rear wheels to track behind the front rather than breaking trail like a trike.
    I know a differential is more complex, but ATVs have solved that issue, perhaps with a loss of efficiency. With a $10k budget it may be possible to come up with something even more robust than Lightfoot's solution.

    They discontinued 3-wheel ATVs years ago, but I think that was more about stability issues.
    Again, just a quick thought based on zero experience.

  35. #235
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ofroad'bent View Post
    ...I know a differential is more complex...
    Is one necessary on snow or ice? There should be enough tyre slippage to permit a solid axle.

    That being said, there's a tradition of people riding trikes in the UK, so sourcing a suitable axle is not difficult.
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  36. #236
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ofroad'bent View Post
    Fair enough, without trying any of them I really can't say.

    From looking at it, the Quad has an advantage of easier cargo hauling, more flotation due to 1 more wheel and the ability for rear wheels to track behind the front rather than breaking trail like a trike.
    I know a differential is more complex, but ATVs have solved that issue, perhaps with a loss of efficiency. With a $10k budget it may be possible to come up with something even more robust than Lightfoot's solution.

    They discontinued 3-wheel ATVs years ago, but I think that was more about stability issues.
    Again, just a quick thought based on zero experience.

    Not only differential.
    What about the weight od differential , axle, wheel, part of frame, ...
    What about flexibility of the frame? Again probably some kilogram more. Or suspension will do this work on solid frame? That means again some kilograms.


    I can imagine better something like recumbent bike with sidecar, if you'd like to have only 2 tracks.

  37. #237
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    she made it link

  38. #238
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    Wow, that was a beat down. Good on her.

  39. #239
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    ^^^Totally agree.^^^

    Given what this weird, totally-hyped and media-involved challenge has become, she crushed her competition, within the confines of the "rules". I've not done exhaustive research, but enough to figure out that she put in way more time and development effort and climate-appropriate training than either of her 'competitors'. I'm of the belief that it wasn't an easy feat, or someone would have already done it. So to echo the sentiment, "Good on her."

  40. #240
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    Quote Originally Posted by spovegas View Post
    ...So to echo the sentiment, "Good on her."
    Yup. Her bike may not have worked in theory, but it sure did the job!

    And it couldn't have done it without her fitness and preparation.

    It's also the fastest human powered journey to the Pole.

    We have a new hero.
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  41. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    ...
    It's also the fastest human powered journey to the Pole.
    ...
    Comparing this to previous human powered records is rather unfair, since she had motorized support. ExplorersWeb's take on it can be read here.

    Otherwise she did impressively well (good preparation and training?) and was the first to pedal there. Since the "competition" also started from a virtual shoreline, it is hard to see why her shorter route should be any less acceptable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Yup. Her bike may not have worked in theory, but it sure did the job!
    What was wrong with her bike?
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  43. #243
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    What was wrong with her bike?
    I know I was wondering how the three wheels would work as opposed to a bike. It seemed to me that there would be three wheels breaking trails as opposed to a bike where the rear tire follows along in a track mostly packed down by the front wheel. So I supposed there would be a lot more rolling resistance. Obviously for her purposes the trike worked well and I now humbly eat those words and congratulate Maria on an awesome feat.
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  44. #244
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    Re: An Antartic bike ride unassisted to the South Pole

    Quote Originally Posted by Outsider View Post
    Comparing this to previous human powered records is rather unfair, since she had motorized support. ExplorersWeb's take on it can be read here.

    Otherwise she did impressively well (good preparation and training?) and was the first to pedal there. Since the "competition" also started from a virtual shoreline, it is hard to see why her shorter route should be any less acceptable.
    That is interesting. Explorer Web are the official gate keepers of records there and it is interesting to see how they are not backing her claims. I also found it interesting to read that she claims to have started only 2 days behind the boys. Uh, didn't she start on the 16th for her claimed 10 day ride? Dan and Juan started on the 2nd, verified by their blogs. Sounds like a 2 week difference to me.
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  45. #245
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    ExplorersWeb didn't question her claim of arriving at the pole or the route, but pointed out that the speed record isn't comparable to anything else. The Leverett Glacier route is significantly shorter, but also starts from an ice shelf. Another discussion on the routes and speed records is here.
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    12/30 GMT-8 9am update

    Here is the latest good tracking data update from Juan and Daniel

    An Antartic bike ride unassisted to the South Pole-bikers131230.jpg

    Notes:

    1) I am starting to add in a point for every day for both riders and a track, but I am not yet done.

    2) Google Earth is the only mapping program I have found that can display tracks all the way to the south pole well. Google maps, Daniel's InReach page, etc. do not draw points well as they approach the pole. So I keep attaching the kmz export from Google Earth so you can look at the points there.
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  47. #247
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    Assisted, Supported, Motorized expeditions. "Look, I'm the world's longest apple," said the banana.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Outsider View Post
    ExplorersWeb didn't question her claim of arriving at the pole or the route, but pointed out that the speed record isn't comparable to anything else. The Leverett Glacier route is significantly shorter, but also starts from an ice shelf. Another discussion on the routes and speed records is here.
    Ya the race aspect of her PR releases was silly.

    Much better to claim the suff that is 100% legit than to start getting ridiculous and have your true accomplishments overshadowed by controversy over the goofy claims.
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    An Antartic bike ride unassisted to the South Pole

    I am not 100% on this but it seems to me that the Leverett Glacier is a legitimate route but requires the use of an Arctic truck for support/transportation. These vehicles have not been on the ice for that long.

    As far as I know the Hercules Inlet and Messner start route are more common because of 2 factors: the location of the ALE base and the range of a Twin Otter

    Seems like the issue that ExWeb has is for speed claims that for fastest trip to the pole not fastest trip on X route. They have a lot of experience with fastest this longest that claims. Also they don't seem to have any love to expeditions with motorized support.

    Interested to see that Dan has streamlined his load and shed some weight. Wishing him all the best for the last degrees.

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    Congrats to Maria, but seeing as I am a bike rider, not a trike rider, I'm still far more interested in what Dan is doing. Not trying to diminish what she accomplished but to me it's no more interesting that reading about someone that skied, snowshoed, kited, etc.

  51. #251
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikb View Post
    What was wrong with her bike?
    Absolutely nothing IMO, but there were some doubts as to the suitability of a trike.
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    Looks like it's time to start gearing up for the IditaTrike race.
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    Ah crap, I landed an airplane with the same configuration in snow today. According to this thread I wasn't supposed to do that!
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  54. #254
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Ah crap, I landed an airplane with the same configuration in snow today. According to this thread I wasn't supposed to do that!
    Maybe you didn't and just imagined it, everyone knows trikes don't work on snow...

    Anyhow one thing stands out.

    Maria Leijerstam* is the only person to have pedalled to the South Pole and she did it on a fat trike.









    *Remember that name - she'll probably run it next. (wild guess)
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    Dan's freehub gave up the ghost yesterday. Completely inoperable. He has wired it up somehow to his wheel so that he can ride short distances on it. He's pushing forward and trying to get to his next food/fuel drop where we've gotten a new wheel to him. Talked to him on the sat phone yesterday and he's still in good spirits.
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    That's great to hear that he's still in good spirits. That's what will carry him through.
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  57. #257
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    I can see why ExplorersWeb puts Maria's trip in a totally different category than Dan's. Even though Dan has supply drops along the way, he is totally alone the whole trip. If he falls into a crevasse and he can activate his signaling device, he is still going to be lying there for hours even if everything works as it is supposed to and the weather cooperates. And even when everything is going well, he still has to navigate on his own, take the time at the end of the day to set up his tent and cook and do all of those little things that are still hard in a polar environment.

    Whereas Maria had a camera crew with her in a motorized vehicle. When it turned out that she was going to miss her "cutoff", she unloaded her gear from her trike and put it in the vehicle. When you look at this from ExplorersWeb's point of view, they have no idea how much assistance Maria actually received from her camera crew. I think that she did actually transport herself all of the way on the trip. But from ExplorersWeb's point of view they have no way of knowing how much of the distance she just rode in the vehicle, so her trip is classified as if she did just ride in a vehicle the whole way.

  58. #258
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    ...from ExplorersWeb's point of view they have no way of knowing how much of the distance she just rode in the vehicle, so her trip is classified as if she did just ride in a vehicle the whole way.
    Looking at her background I'm more inclined to believe her than an organisation I haven't heard off. She has done other just as exacting challenges and goes in fully prepared.

    "Her journey has not been without its problems. At one point the sweat on the inside of her boots froze to minus 35 degrees and each rest time she struggled to erect her tent in howling winds. For ten days she heated her freeze-dried food by melting snow on a small primus stove inside her tent."

    She's the first and they can't take that away from her.
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  59. #259
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welnic View Post
    I can see why ExplorersWeb puts Maria's trip in a totally different category than Dan's.
    ...
    It is not entirely clear what ExplorersWeb questions. As I understood it, ExplorersWeb doesn't question that she was the first one to pedal all the way, but rather says that the speed record claim should not be compared with the other records made by people using less or no support. I might have it wrong, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    Looking at her background I'm more inclined to believe her than an organisation I haven't heard off.
    ...
    She's the first and they can't take that away from her.
    Even though you haven't heard of ExplorersWeb, it is a respected organization and by many considered "the" resource for real adventurers. The reason they are not overly exited by expeditions using motorized support is probably that the really tough guys and gals have been doing unsupported/unassisted crossings of Antarctica and stuff like that for some time now.

    I agree that she was the first one to pedal to the South Pole, though. The route was shorter, but as legitimate as the that of the others.

    Still, I think Daniel Burton's approach is the most "pure" one at this moment. He's riding or pushing the bike, though the level of support with having e.g. a new real wheel flown there from the US does detract from the achievement a bit. I do hope he makes it, since he has suprised a lot of people by doing as well as he does, despite his obvious lack of preparation and training.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outsider View Post
    Still, I think Daniel Burton's approach is the most "pure" one at this moment. He's riding or pushing the bike, though the level of support with having e.g. a new real wheel flown there from the US does detract from the achievement a bit. I do hope he makes it, since he has suprised a lot of people by doing as well as he does, despite his obvious lack of preparation and training.
    You're forgetting the Spanish guy: no support nor material drops - just on his own. He might not be biking much, but he has a bike with him and he's totally unsupported.
    I think Dan's trip is going to be labelled "neither fish nor flesh" like they say in my country: Maria did it fully supported (in my opinion the only way to "truly bike" to the pole for the moment), Dan does it wishy-washy and Juan's is the real expedition but it remains to be seen if it will be listed as a biking or a skiing thing.

    I'd say there's still room for an expedition to the pole by an "interesting route" where the participant(s) go unsupported and on natural-powered wheels for, let's say 70% of the time ;-) !

  61. #261
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    How is Dans trip "wishy washy"? He has supply drops. It doesn't matter what's in them. He still has to ride the whole distance, on a bike, alone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    How is Dans trip "wishy washy"? He has supply drops. It doesn't matter what's in them. He still has to ride the whole distance, on a bike, alone.
    Sigh... I meant that his style to get to the pole falls between the fully supported and the non-supported. Neither the one, nor the other. Neither milk, nor water. Something in between.

  63. #263
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    How is Dans trip "wishy washy"? He has supply drops. It doesn't matter what's in them. He still has to ride the whole distance, on a bike, alone.
    Well, for one, he wasn't prepared equipment wise and had to have a wheel flown out to him. I'd consider this separate from which trip is most "physically demanding", but just because someone is making a trip needlessly harder (with the wrong equipment) doesn't make it "better". It does make it different. I think that's what it comes down to, different approaches, neither one is wrong or right and each has it's highlights and negatives. The 1st one to get there is the 1st one. The 1st one unsupported will be the 1st one to do it that way (if it ever happens).
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  64. #264
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    Quote Originally Posted by caminoloco View Post
    You're forgetting the Spanish guy: no support nor material drops - just on his own. He might not be biking much, but he has a bike with him and he's totally unsupported.
    ...
    True, but I wouldn't considered his approach "riding a bike to the South Pole", when he mostly moves on skis as I've understood it. He's mainly transporting a bike (and himself) to the South Pole. The unsupported aspect does make it very harder, but he is still skiing, something which has been done a number of times before. I don't mean to diminish his effort, though. Of these three he is definitely taking the hardest approach.

    It seems like a pure unsupported bike riding (and pushing) trip isn't possible with current gear. Eric Larsen didn't succeed last year and the current ones are quite far from that definition. I think someone like Mikesee (is there even anyone else?) would have had a better chance after all that preparation, but he already mentioned his reasons for no longer pursuing it.
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    An Antartic bike ride unassisted to the South Pole

    It would seem that rather than equipment being the limiting factor it is instead the solo approach to these expeditions.

    So much of the equipment required for life on the ice can be shared between a small group. Also with the wind as such a factor a group may be of some advantage. No to mention the company, the sharing of chores etc.

    I look at the Scott Expedition as an example of a totally dialed polar Exp. Do the same approach with bikes on either long route and there is a good chance of success. Biggest hurdle is as mikesee has said - cost. Anyone have 200k they don't need?

    Regardless of armchair debates about style both Dan and Juan are moving toward the pole and that is a huge achievement

  66. #266
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outsider View Post
    ...The unsupported aspect does make it very harder, but he is still skiing, something which has been done a number of times before. I don't mean to diminish his effort, though...
    Has anyone ever pulled a bike all the way to the Pole before?

  67. #267
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    I just noticed this on kottke.org about an attempt to retrace the route of the Scott expedition (hopefully minus the mortality):

    Quote Originally Posted by kottke.org
    70 days ago, Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere set out from the edge of Antarctica, bound south. Their goal was to ski, alone and unsupported, to the South Pole and back along the route Captain Robert Falcon Scott travelled in 1912. I've been following their blog every day since then, and they were making the whole thing -- skiing 19 miles/day in -30° white-outs hauling 300 lbs. and blogging about it the whole way -- seem easy somehow. They reached the Pole the day after Christmas were hauling ass (and sled) back toward the coast.

    But their seemingly steady progress hid a potentially life-threatening truth: they needed to be skiing more miles a day in order to travel quickly enough to not exhaust their food supply. They'd been missing their mileage goals and in an attempt to catch up, weren't sleeping and eating as much as they should have been. Things could have gone very wrong at this point, but luckily Ben and Tarka came out ok.

    "Our depot was still 74km away and we had barely more than half a day's food to reach it; eight energy bars each, half a breakfast and half an evening meal. 16km into the following day Tarka started to slow again as he led, before stopping entirely and waving me forward to talk. "I feel really weak in the legs again", he said. "OK. What do you want to do?" I answered snappily, before realising this was on me. I came here to be challenged and tested, to give my all to the hardest task I have ever set myself and to the biggest dream I have ever had. And here was the crux. This was the moment that mattered, not standing by the Pole having my photograph taken, but standing next to my friend, in a howling gale, miles away from anyone or anything. "Let's put the tent up", I said, "I've got an idea"."

    Adventure is never about battling the environment or elements or whatever. It's always a struggle with the self. And as this battle reached a fevered pitch, Ben and Tarka were not found wanting. Calling for resupply, and thereby giving up on one of the major goals of this expedition 10 years in the making, was probably the hardest thing Ben has ever had to do in his entire life. But he did it, for his family, his loved ones, and his teammate. Ben, Tarka, I'm proud of you. Thank you for letting us follow along on your journey, for showing us what is humanly possible, and for the reminder that pushing the boundaries is never about how far you can tow a sled but about what you do when confronted with the no-win scenario: beating yourself.
    Now that is with style and honor, even if their goal was not achieved as explicitly stated.

    Somehow, nowadays being the 'first' is a way to skip matching the ferocious effort of real adventurers and instead just notching the belt with a made-for-TV "reality" piece with the real accomplishment of the trip being undermined by a thousand tiny iterative compromises.

    If you feel like reading one of the most wrenching accounts of the limits of human endurance, look at the post on the decision to resupply: Resupply | Blog | The Scott Expedition
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    Map update time. Daniel continues in spite of gear problems, still blogging about getting his replacement wheel. Juan has not updated his position since 12/30 or blog since 12/31. I hope all is going well from him and we get a backlog of several days of updates soon.

    An Antartic bike ride unassisted to the South Pole-antarctic140104.jpg

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  69. #269
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    His replacement wheel left Punta Arenas yesterday. It should be leaving Union Glacier today and it'll be placed in his third drop. I don't know how far out he is from that drop. I was surprised to read how much Dan is able to ride and yet he's still seeing ski tracks from Juan. Since Juan is the only person out in front of Dan, it's safe to assume that Dan is correct in his observations. I have a funny mental image of Juan skiing the whole way and then hoping on his bike for the last mile, finishing with a triumphant fist pump.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy View Post
    I just noticed this on kottke.org about an attempt to retrace the route of the Scott expedition (hopefully minus the mortality):



    Now that is with style and honor, even if their goal was not achieved as explicitly stated.

    Somehow, nowadays being the 'first' is a way to skip matching the ferocious effort of real adventurers and instead just notching the belt with a made-for-TV "reality" piece with the real accomplishment of the trip being undermined by a thousand tiny iterative compromises.

    If you feel like reading one of the most wrenching accounts of the limits of human endurance, look at the post on the decision to resupply: Resupply | Blog | The Scott Expedition
    So it wasn't a ferocious effort on her part and she isn't a "real" adventurer, but the guy who has caches and a wheel flown out to him is? That's a little ridiculous. Being "first" is as much about good decisions as anything else. Being the "hardest" or "longest" isn't necessarily better. Is every "first" attempt a reality-TV show? Of course not, that's just a straw-man argument.
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  71. #271
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Is every "first" attempt a reality-TV show? Of course not, that's just a straw-man argument.
    Dan was also planning on making a TV show[s] from his trip. On his website the two members of his "Team" that are listed are himself and a TV producer.

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    An Antartic bike ride unassisted to the South Pole

    It is amazing that Dan's support team was able to get a new wheel to him. From the factory to a tent at 87 degrees south latitude. Quite the journey and speaks to the increasing accessibility of Antarctica.

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  74. #274
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    Ha! I took that picture. Dan will reach his third and final cache tomorrow. His replacement wheel is also there. He is planning on pushing pretty hard after that.
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  75. #275
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    This is good news. Hope it all works out.
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    Great . I've been following intermittently, good on all three.

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    Dan reports that Juan has run out of food. It sounds like they are about 150+ miles from finishing. Can he make it?
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    An Antartic bike ride unassisted to the South Pole

    I know of a ski expedition that will finish tomorrow. He will probably get a resupply dropped from the twin going to pick them up.

    Silentfoe, i am most impressed with your friend on the ice. He is one tough dude!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Dan reports that Juan has run out of food. It sounds like they are about 150+ miles from finishing. Can he make it?
    Wow, that sucks!

    I hope he can make it...

    I know, I couldn't without food. That's a hell of a long haul under normal circumstances and to go into the extreme without food. Damn, that will make it feel like 1000+ miles.

    Good luck, and best wishes!
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  81. #281
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    Juan just blogged that he is trying to manage what he has left. He'll be skiing the rest of the way to make better time. He is adamant in maintaining his solo, unsupported and unassisted status.

    Edit: not so worried about his "cycling" status apparently.
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  82. #282
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    Good on Juan for pushing forward. He can make those claims but he can't claim to have ridden to the pole. That's all Dan.

  83. #283
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mamba29er View Post
    Good on Juan for pushing forward. He can make those claims but he can't claim to have ridden to the pole. That's all Dan.
    What about Maria? Dan can claim bicycled, but not ridden or cycled, at least not first. Props to all of them though, they are all pretty tough.
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  84. #284
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    Marias effort has officially been classified as assisted, supported, motorized by ExplorersWeb. They are the "gatekeepers" of the records. I think they discovered she rode in her support trucks for some distance.
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  85. #285
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    Caveat: I don't have all the details on Maria, just the scuttlebutt that works it's wah back through A.L.E..
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  86. #286
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Marias effort has officially been classified as assisted, supported, motorized by ExplorersWeb. They are the "gatekeepers" of the records. I think they discovered she rode in her support trucks for some distance.
    Link to this claim?

    I spent some time reading ExWeb tonight and the only thing I can find approaching what you're suggesting is this:

    "Maria Leijerstam, along with her support team and a car, cycled on the Leverett route into the Pole on December 26th.

    Maria claims to be “the first person to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of the continent in 10 days beating all other speed records”.

    Why the claim is incorrect:

    This is a motorized expedition and should not be compared to man-hauling skiing expeditions."

    Nowhere in there have they disallowed her record, they're just calling it what it was--supported by vehicle.

    Please provide evidence for your accusation.

  87. #287
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    I'd like to see evidence of that too.

    Looking at her background I think it unlikely, but the temptation would have been massive.

    One thing, were the trucks grooming the track for her?
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  88. #288
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    I think that ExWeb just gets around the whole deal of worrying what goes on when you have a motor vehicle accompanying you when you are cycling by just calling it a motorized expedition. If they have to have a category for cycling, accompanied by motor vehicle, and skiing, accompanied by motor vehicle, then they would have to set boundaries on what the motor vehicle could do to help. And then they would have to worry about whether those boundaries were crossed. So instead they just say if you travel with a motorized vehicle, it is a motorized trip.

    I don't know what actual help she had on the trip. I do know that at some point her gear was moved from the cycle in the truck, that was in post that she made on Dec 21st: "Made the tough decision to unload my kit mid morning as my pace meant i would miss my cut off.". I don't think that she rode in a truck. But it also seems that carrying your gear with you is a huge part of any wilderness travel, and being able to just unload your gear because you are behind schedule just makes it a totally different thing.

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    Like I said, some of what I hear is from Dan, who hears things through A.L.E., and also my own conversations with A.L.E.. I guess that makes it third hand info which isn't always the most accurate. Just passing along what I know. I can't find the link on ExplorersWeb that I had also read (impossible site to navigate) but I'll keep working on that. It just shows her effort as listed under assisited, supported, motorized.

    I would agree with Welnic though. I think he pretty well summed it up.
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  90. #290
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike View Post
    One thing, were the trucks grooming the track for her?
    This has been my question all along. So, you dump all your equipment on the truck, the truck blazes a trail, then they set up your tent before you even arrive at camp and have a hot meal ready to eat, etc. That might not have been what happened at all, but at least with Dan and Juan we know what did happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Like I said, some of what I hear is from Dan, who hears things through A.L.E., and also my own conversations with A.L.E.. I guess that makes it third hand info which isn't always the most accurate. Just passing along what I know. I can't find the link on ExplorersWeb that I had also read (impossible site to navigate) but I'll keep working on that. It just shows her effort as listed under assisited, supported, motorized.

    I would agree with Welnic though. I think he pretty well summed it up.
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    I'm just passing on what I hear, when I hear it. Of course I'm a friend so I have my own opinions.

    Dan just posted that he hit the 100 miles to go mark. Totally hearsay though.
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  93. #293
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I'm just passing on what I hear, when I hear it. Of course I'm a friend so I have my own opinions.

    Dan just posted that he hit the 100 miles to go mark. Totally hearsay though.
    I like that you've got a sense of humor about this. I think your consistently uninformed slander of Juan and Maria is uncalled for, at best.

    You seem to have a problem with Maria having trucks along to document and support her ride, yet she never intended her ride to be anything different.

    You're entitled to that opinion, of course, I just wonder if you can explain how trucks are low-brow but a *minimum* of five airplanes were dispatched to help Dan (get him to his start, drop his caches, drop his wheel off, pick up his caches/gear he dropped and should have known better than to bring, then fly him back from wherever he finishes) and that's all OK?

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    There's a lot of things that aren't O.K. IMO, but I don't talk shit about my friend on a public forum. Dan's a good guy (as are the others) and he is doing exactly what he said he'd do. The wheel was an "oh shit" moment but no extra work or effort was required to get it to him. At least not by him or his expedition company. That was all done by his friends. We had the wheel hitch a ride to his last, already scheduled food drop. Problem solved. If he had your experience he may have brought some more spare parts but really, how much can you bring? I know he brought a lot of spare parts but apparently not a freehub. Too little too late.

    I am cheering for all three of these people. I think it's bad ass. If I'm "uninformed" it is because I am at the mercy of what I'm told. I may minunderstand some things as I'm really just an enthusiastic bystander but I am not purposefully putting out false information. If it proves to be false later, then so be it.

    What I do have a problem with is Maria initially claiming she was unsupported, she fully intended for her ride to be different (see her webpage). This has turned out to be patently false (fact). Then she goes on to claim a record without stating the unique nature of her accomplishment, all the while claiming how she beat out the boys.

    Juan is skiing to the South Pole with a bike on a sled. "nuff said. I don't consider than slander.

    I am happy to discuss this and I do realize you know exponentially more about this crap than I do. I do have some inside information and unique ways to get it compared to the rest and I'm happy to pass along what I can.

    Btw, your claim that Dan has used so many airplanes. Who cares? Nearly everyone takes a plane to get there. That's 1. Plane to get home? 2. Dan paid A.L.E. for 3 food caches. I don't know or care how they get them there. That's what they are paid for and what Dan planned for. The wheel went on a normal shipment to Punta Arenas. From there it went to Union Glacier with A.L.E. on a normal resupply. From there they got it to his third cache with the rest of his stuff. Pretty much standard.
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  95. #295
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    Edit: I'll get this right sometime. Go to Explorersweb - the pioneers checkpoint and follow the directions below:

    It's a really slow website, at least for me. I can't get it to pull up half the time.

    Go to the page, then in the grey menu bar go to Polar then in the menu box with the orange heading scroll down to the label South Pole arrivals and False Record Claims. At this point you'll have to use the buttons in the lower right to get down there. Sometimes when I click one of the articles, nothing happens (like now). It will eventually link to the pertinent article.

    I think that might clear some things up. That, or make it muddier.
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  96. #296
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    ^ If you get to the article, it reads pretty straight forward and fairly brutal.

    Edit: It looks like even being accompanied by a car counts as motorized.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    Edit: I'll get this right sometime. Go to Explorersweb - the pioneers checkpoint and follow the directions below:

    It's a really slow website, at least for me. I can't get it to pull up half the time.

    Go to the page, then in the grey menu bar go to Polar then in the menu box with the orange heading scroll down to the label South Pole arrivals and False Record Claims. At this point you'll have to use the buttons in the lower right to get down there. Sometimes when I click one of the articles, nothing happens (like now). It will eventually link to the pertinent article.

    I think that might clear some things up. That, or make it muddier.
    You're pointing at the article that I already cut-and-pasted in here. There's nothing 'brutal' about it--they're simply saying that an expedition supported by motors is not comparable to a solo trip, nor to one where man-haulage occurred. Nothing whatsoever about her having ridden in vehicles or any other tomfoolery.

    They're saying, "Maria had vehicle support on her way to becoming the first human to pedal to the South Pole".

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    Sorry, I thought this header was pretty brutal, imo. "Assisted, Supported, Motorized expeditions. "Look, I'm the world's longest apple," said the banana."

    I wouldn't want my expedion classified under than heading.

    I didn't realize you had posted that same article.

    As for the other claim, I have that direct from another source. She got cold, she got in the truck. All I know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    There's nothing 'brutal' about it--they're simply saying that an expedition supported by motors is not comparable to a solo trip, nor to one where man-haulage occurred.
    From the article:

    Assisted, Supported, Motorized expeditions. "Look, I'm the world's longest apple," said the banana.

    Staff and cars offer major advantages. The below expeditions used motorized and other assistance, claiming records from polar explorers who achieved much harder feats.
    Whether you agree with their take on things, hard to read the sarcasm and accusations of false claims as anything but brutal on their part.

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    Subtlety isn't getting my point across.

    Both Maria and Dan were/are so fixated on being first that they took every shortcut that they could buy. Maria chose a short route and had vehicle support the whole way, even dumping her gear into the truck when her lack of physical prep (knee woes from pushing hard in a position she'd never ridden before? whodathunkit…) became evident and even emergent.

    Dan had hoped to have skidoos hauling his gear but couldn't get funding (because of a lack of experience? hmmm…), had hoped to have a camera crew on the sleds, had even said that his wasn't the most pure way to do it but that it would allow him to be first. Rather than take the time to test his gear and figure things out in an environment similar to where he was heading, he charged forth blindly, seemingly fixated only on priority at Pole. Once on the ice where his inexperience and lack of prep could only shine through, he has repeatedly taken liberties with his rapidly evolving 'standard' of what is and is not acceptable: Using the harder surface of packed vehicle tracks even while calling himself unsupported, having a new wheel flown from a hemisphere and several continents away when the one that he failed to test shit the bed, leaving a pile of untested and (surprise!) unneeded gear at his last cache for an airplane to pick up.

    Nothing 'wrong' per se with either of their strategies. But to call either of them expeditions is to short-sell the term, and it lessens the achievements of all those that came before. The verbal end-runs being affected by each team's minions are only underscoring this point.

    Boiling it down to the least common denominator: Maria and Dan both bought their way to Pole.

    They both get an A for effort and adaptability, but they've both failed miserably when it comes to integrity and actually achieving something of significance.

    Juan may not have ridden much, but he gets full credit for being unsupported to the bitter end.

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