Don’t you just love it when your outdoor gear simply works? I do.
The Patagonia Expedition Race and my adventures after the race in South America put me in some of the toughest conditions for outdoor kit.
Unlike the pristine Arctic wilderness where the snow keeps kit clean and the dry air prevents things from disintegrating, the Patagonian wilderness is primarily damp, cold and windy. The weather can turn from beautiful sunshine to the most ferocious storm imaginable. Gear is vital here and with a good tent, a good stove and a good sleeping bag, you can’t go too far wrong.
Let’s start at the beginning. After months of preparation, the day of departure was finally upon us. I had been working so hard to make sure everything would run as smoothly as possible and as we sat on the plane, I could finally relax, or so I thought.
I am currently sat at the kitchen table in my childhood Suffolk home. It would be easy for one to think that I’ve come home for the weekend from London to pop in for some home cooking and a log fire as a break from the city. However this would be wrong.
I haven’t been in London, nor Suffolk, for two months.
What an adventure I’ve had. In early February, the team and I headed out to Chilean Patagonia for what I now know for sure, is the toughest endurance race in the world.
After the race, Tim and I stayed on. We had another six weeks worth of expeditions from high altitude mountains in Argentina to huge icebergs in the wilderness of Patagonia. We witnessed first hand some of the effects that climate change is having on the landscape of Chile and Argentina. When we returned to internet land, we were all to happy to hear how well Elon Musk’s sustainable companies (and SpaceX!) like Tesla and SolarCity are doing.
I am struggling to wind down from all of the excitement and I’ll have to make sure I keep myself busy so not to fall into PED (Post Expedition Depression – a horrible mindset to be in!)
I have many stories to tell but for now, I stare at a mountain of kit to be sorted and hours of washing to be done. Here’s a few pictures from the trip as a taster of what’s to come.
I am downright terrified. It’s now less than two weeks until I fly out to do the Patagonia Expedition Race and I can’t quite come to terms with it.
It’s not the race I’m nervous about. No, it’s the possibility of failure, of letting my team mates down, of not going fast enough to make the check point times.
I know I can do it, I can go on and on in pain and suffering but it’s whether I can do that at a pace that will get us through each round. My team are incredible and I feel honoured to have them but I do feel a huge responsibility to go much faster than my legs would like. They all seem to have an immunity when it comes to speed and endurance that I so envy.
To be honest, I’d be happy to go faster but lately, especially on the bike, I reach a point on hills where I simply cannot get the bike to move any quicker as my thighs burn to the point of exhaustion. All I can hope for is that as long as I push through, we will make the time and complete the race. My gosh, I want to complete it. All I can do is try my very best and believe in my mind as much as possible that finishing will happen and that I will achieve the impossible.
A more upbeat blog will come shortly, I just needed a little panic time.
2015 is over and we are well into the epic year that is 2016.
I thought I’d take a look back at 2015 with all of its highs and its lows. And although it went like the clappers, I managed to fit rather a lot in.
Fairly well into the start of 2015, my world crashed down on me a little. Relationship status changed/crashed and burned and job contracts came to their end. However, all of this, which at the time seemed like the doom of all dooms, worked out to be the very best thing that could have happened to me.
If I hadn’t have had those gloomy days, I don’t think I would have been so in search of adventure and, dare I say it, ‘finding myself’ and remembering what makes me happy again. Sorry that’s cheese but true.
Last night I had a dream that I was with Ranulph Fiennes having a long chat about what a mission in itself planning an expedition is. This chat I had with him in my dream, isn’t that far fetched from when I met him the other day. Within a few short seconds of meeting Ran (in real life) he was giving me advice on life in general and also expeditions.
Oh my, oh my. The weeks are flying by. Even though I am packing training and planning into every single day, it still seems like there isn’t enough time to feel at ease.
This weekend we were back in Dartmoor in the snow, wind, rain and even, sun. It was another chance to test out our kit and admin skills. We did a lot of navigation work and strategy planning.
Dartmoor is the perfect training ground. It’s wet, the ground is rubbish to walk on and the wind bites through any layer. As I sit and write this I can feel I’ve got repercussions from the wind and snow in my eye… Goggles/good glasses needed. Noted.