Elliptical

Day 6: S81° 32' 20", W051° 51' 50" Daily distance: 11.36MI Distance to go: 972MI

There was no warm, benevolent force looking out for me today, alas. Instead I’ve had ten hours outside tussling with Antarctica in a foul mood: complete whiteout all day and a strong wind that took every opportunity to spit snow in my face, or to try to snatch my possessions away from me when I dropped my guard. Putting up or taking down my trusty Hilleberg tent is nerve-wracking in this sort of wind, and letting go at the wrong moment could spell disaster. Conversely, pitching it well and clambering inside after a hard day feels like a bit of a victory over the all-powerful elements (one of the bonuses of being solo is you can do fist-pumps and shout ‘YES’ or even ‘YEAH BABY’ as often as you like, and no one will think you’re odd).

Whiteouts are peculiar things. Someone (Fiennes?) once said it was like being trapped inside a ping-pong ball. Today’s was at times oppressive – like being an ant stuck in a giant white plastic bag – and at times surreal, looking down at my skis and not being certain they were planted on anything at all, as the sky and the ground were identical, with no delineation between the two.

Mostly though, today was very hard. Like being stuck on one of those elliptical trainer machines in a gym, turned up as hard as it will go, so that each churning stride and arm-swing takes a good three or four seconds, and looking at a blank piece of white paper for eight hours or so. It’s hardly surprising it’s not busier down here.

There was nothing at all to photograph today, so this is a grumpy selfie, sat on my sledge for one of my six breaks.

I know there are lots of schools following along, and I wanted to quickly say hello from Antarctica to:

Mr Blake and Class 8C in Malaysia

The Tigers and the Lions Classes in Epsom, Surrey

King’s Ely Geographers

Class 3 at Beer Primary

 

Ben Saunders (@polarben)
13/11/17
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Comments

Joaquin

15/11/2017

Ben, you’re doing great, keep up the good work!!!

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Brad

15/11/2017

Inspiring to read about what you are doing and your experiences. I remember your talk at the RGS where you talked about the white-out conditions on your previous expeditions. Hoping the weather clears soon. Best wishes. Brad

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Kishen Austin Nair (8C)

15/11/2017

Hello Mr.Ben Saunders we wish you all good luck from 8C class of Mr.Paul Blake and get home safely and succeed in you journey on your mission to reach the South Pole and successfully walk across the South Pole and hope your the first. Thank you Mr.Ben Saunders for enspiring us all.

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Santiago M

13/11/2017

Hey Ben!

Power to you! You are not alone in your ordeals! Today, I even had to walk to my meeting from Moorgate to just past Old Street in 7C weather because I had to take a call so I couldn’t Tube it! And get this: no gloves, and no time to have a single cup of coffee (not since the one I had at home sitting in the early morning sunlight, but that doesn’t count because I made it myself ).

Then, after slaving in the office, I worked on a keynote pitch deck for 4 hours, and caught an error in half of the 20 slides just now before midnight. And I got home so late I only had a chance to drink half a bottle of red. But this is why you and I both optimise for high performance–you with your 6 hours-a-day quantified self stuff, me with my fanatical direct debiting to a gym I haven’t even used once (I’m told that the orientation tour doesn’t count) in the 6 years since I joined (I do /ATTACK/ the various restaurants though, and I always take the steps down from the fifth floor! #verticalmilesftw ).

Yea, definitely feeling your pain and sharing the journey, urban warrior to polar warrior; while you’re out there fighting whiteouts, I’m out here fighting taxi fumes. #Legends.

Write you again when I come back from Malta. Stay Strong.

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Kevin Wright

13/11/2017

Hi Ben. Sounds like a real tuff day. An ant in a giant white plastic bag really does spell it out. The kids from Freshford School Wiltshire are also following you. Take care and hope things pick up tomorrow. Kevin, Wilf, Frank and Ned.

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Harsharn

13/11/2017

Amazing stuff Ben. The mental challenge is as much as the physical challenge from what you describe. Conditions like this must have been hard to emulate during training, but you’re experience will see you through. When things get tough, just think of all the people around the world following your progress and rooting for you.

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Phil

13/11/2017

You’re just astounding you know? 🙂
How do you divide your days? Skiing-resting-eating-drinking? And how do you sill unfrozen your water? thanks

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Penny Brook

13/11/2017

Greetings from Switzerland Ben,
We’re all following your blog closely, really great to get a window into your world. People like you are the reason people like me enjoy their job so much, you’re an inspiration.
We’re with you all the way…
Penny

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Reinhold

13/11/2017

I know you have a lot going on each night but is it possible for you to post what your daily mileage is? Thanks Ben!!

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Pip

13/11/2017

We’re working on that right now!

Andy

13/11/2017

Life in a windy cold ping pong ball beats the tube any day of the week. You’re covering massive ground considering conditions and pulk weight, well done buddy. Stay strong and keep racking up those miles. Onwards!

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Iron Lords

13/11/2017

Has this route you are taking been attempted before by anyone besides your friend who was just 30 miles shy?

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Tom

13/11/2017

Champion.

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Edwina Sutton

13/11/2017

Thinking of you hugely! Just finished a 84 mile race. Every time I felt tired or bit fed up I thought at least I’m not Ben and get a shower tonight! Onwards! Fist pumps and perhaps a few yee-has?!! X

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Mike Hammond

13/11/2017

We’re all routing for you and fist pumps are a given when even pitching a tent becomes a huge challenge. Stay safe and keep going, you’re doing great!

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Bev Nichols

13/11/2017

Hi Ben,
You are doing amazing!
Everyone is routing for you!
Stay strong!
Take care you 😌

Bev.

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Verity Coxon

13/11/2017

Keep your chin up Ben, we are with you in spirit every step of the way willing you on. My children’s school are also following your inspirational journey which is history in the making for these kids. We look out for your updates and hope the sun comes out for you soon. Keep doing those fist pumps 🤛🤛. Verity (from Ridgeview)

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Andy Lawrence

13/11/2017

It’s all good, all progress, all another well crafted step toward the finished product. Your posts help us to feel we are part of what you are doing. For me part of something that I could not ordinarily contemplate doing

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Sheila England

13/11/2017

Just read your entry out loud to my husband. We are at the ER where he is being treated for a kidney stone attack! I thought it might help get his mind off his pain. He said he experienced a whiteout in NZ many years ago; says it was very erie..
Hope the weather improves.

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