Friday, 4 March 2011

Free Hugs!


Northern Exposure - Stand by, Stand by

The weather is currently looking good for insertion by DC3 into Cape Discovery for 1800Z on the 4 March. This will give us about 53 days to reach the Pole. More to follow.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

One day!


Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Some consolation - we lost to Chelsea FC

Message on the hoof

Mulebar hit the Big screen...

Message on the hoof

The PEA awards - Mulebar is nominated, fingers crossed...

Message on the hoof

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Pics from Scott of Almanzora...

'you'll never forget with this on your top tube, or which fuel to use to make sure that you can...'

'see the trail coming down the ridge, was part of today's intro riding'

From Scott Cornish (Cadence RT) - "Putting the Niner Air 9 Carbon through is initiation on dry trails under blue skies, being guided by Vic and Einat from Mountain Biking Spain, Almanzora."

Crashed at 30 miles

Shaggys out the race...

Crashed at 30 miles. Hit a patch of soft snow, that looked perfectly ridable. Pulled the muscles in my right shoulder and can't hold on the the handlebar. Had to push the bike in one handed for the last 20miles in to Skwentna. Had to scratch as there was no way I was going to be able to carry my bike over Rainy Pass. The possibility of not making McGrath really hadn't occurred to me. Hugely disappointed a quite upset. Getting a flight back to Anchorage tomorrow.

Northern Exposure - The Arctic

Dogs sleeping on the Arctic pack ice

1 Mar, 11 - 01:27

The icy fang that bites and blows until I shrink with cold.


Monday, 28 February 2011

Fuel for snowy adventures...

Here are some images of the Mule kite, still pulling me all over the mountains, still in great shape and still making me smile from ear to ear.

This is on the French Italian border in the Alps, between La Rosiere and La Thuile, we had a day of amazing powder and ripping across the frozen powder covered lakes, climbing the foot hills of Mont Blanc, fully plugged in with strong wind and deep snow.

Hope you are having a good winter too ! Iain

Good luck Shaggy and Happy Birthday Mule

February 27th, 2011

The race started under sunny skies at 2:00 PM. 44 racers left the starting line. I flew into the Skwentna checkpoint with Denali Flying Service from Willow. I have posted some pictures from the start this afternoon here. If you were at the start and have pictures you can post them to our Flickr Account or on our facebook page. Based on last years times we should have some updates from Yentna Station ( mile 60) our first checkpoint between 9:00-10:00 PM tonight.

I am reporting from the Skwentna checkpoint this year for the first couple of days. I expect to see the leaders to come into the 2nd checkpoint around 2:00-3:00 AM Monday morning.


Mule Shaggy off again...

My second ride on the Iditarod starts on Sunday, my Birthday. If I tell people what I’ve got planned, I get a, pretty much universal, response- Confusion, disbelief and perhaps questions about my sanity. Why do I want to travel half way around the world to race through ice and snow? It must be the prize money, right? No. The winner simply gets free entry for next year. So why then? I haven’t got a good answer. Hillary’s famous “because it’s there” adage doesn’t even really hold true- The Iditarod Trail isn’t a “thing” as such. It’s a constantly changing line that has been pretty much invented for racing. People will talk about the mushers, who in 1925 rushed to get vital Diphtheria serum to Nome, a truly impressive feat. The trail honours them, but it doesn’t follow the route those brave men used. The trail is in fact a marketing tool for Alaska. It’s a line on a map that doesn’t really correspond to anything on the ground. A line that was sketched out in the ’70s as an attempt to pull in tourists to Alaska. The dog race draws in a large number of tourists to the starts (for there are 2) and, I’m sure, the “Legend of the Iditarod” has helped romanticise the vision of Alaska. I find this pretty funny, yes, it’s “tricked” me in to visiting, but out there on the trail it’s a different story. It’s somewhere that you average tourist would never visit, and that’s part of the charm. The weather is brutal, but the scenery is amazing. The people are, without fail, characters. I think you have to be to live in rural Alaska. The racers are a lovely, unassuming, softly spoken, tough as nails bunch of people from all walks of life. Everyone is different, but with a certain common string. Perhaps we are all missing the same screw? The riding is tough. Why this is a positive, is the hardest element to explain. If you aren’t of the mindset of simply doing something because it is hard you may well never understand. It all adds up, and while I can’t really justify it, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.

People have been asking about following my progress. Obviously communication is pretty limited while on the trail, but if Mel hears anything hopefully she can post it here. Spot Trackers are banned so there will be no satellite tracking. However there should be regular updates on the ITI website.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Wiltshire rides... .

Mule Gasper out in the Slovenian woods.. . today

Hurrah for Mule Bar

Having been on the search for the right food for my attempt on Troll Wall I’m very pleased to announce that I have just taken delivery of a tremendous weight of Mule Bar energy bars and gels which should go a great way towards simplifying and improving my consumption on the wall.

Pete Rhodes - expedition prep

Pete Rhodes is off to Norway to climb the Troll Wall.

Here are his words from the van en route...

Right now I’m sat in the van on the way to Troll Wall! Mildly surreal. Thankfully I have a chauffeur for the first two hours so I can ease into the 1800 miles of joy that lay ahead. Having had the plan to be on this face since well before christmas I am so relieved to be doing it and not having to think about it. They say a man thinks about ‘it’ every six seconds. If that is the case then the spare five seconds of my life have all been filled with thoughts of the climb, its exhausting.
I thought I’d sum the pre-climb preparation up by considering these three factors:
I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, this much is certain. My advice for reaching new levels would be to marry a motivated Ironman triathlete and do as many of the training sessions as you can. Thankfully I’m done with them now but Kate has five months of it left - serious. Doing sessions after a full day on the ropes has been a good way to get used to greater output each day.
The other good news is that my body has managed to survive all this. Knees and ankles are all reporting for duty at around 85-98% which is phenomenal for me! Time to return them to their usual level with some bouts of load carrying.
The rack and equipment that I’ve packed into the van is without doubt the best I’ve had had for a wall and with all the little tricks I’ve learnt from Patagonia and other walls included. Things to look forward to include a full length, thick Alpkit sleeping mat, custom rope bags from Beast Products, pre-made ration packs with finest Stag and Mule Bars. Being able to shop in Tesco and organise the rack in the garage has been an incredible change, so much more relaxing than having to fly somewhere and pack haulbags in the dirt.
Forgoing freak weather or route conditions this is surely the reason for trying this route. I want to find out exactly what I’m capable of, find out if I have the capacity to achieve something that I once considered the realm of the select few. I’m not carrying a drill and the aim of my climbing Is to make solely the best decision in every situation and it is for this reason why I am so excited to try the climb solo.
In truth my current headspace is slightly hard to describe so if that makes no sense know that I’m fit, racked and super psyched to push my limits. I’d like to thank everyone for helping me out with this trip.
Look g
ood, be cool, safety third!