The Adventurists would like to add a disclaimer to this blog post. We never, ever, celebrate the first team across the finish line on any of our adventures. Normally they are just tossers intent on getting back to work on Monday. Even on the Mongol Derby, our only genuinely competitive adventure, whilst the TV stations and global press celebrate the winner, we tend to celebrate the last across the line and all the attendant chaos and adversity they endured whist still getting to the finish line.
Well, this Ice Run, 2014, has broken every rule we have ever made in the annals and architecture of adventurism, with conditions hitherto only referred to for hyperbole. This evening as the sun set scarlet over the polar Urals, two gentlemen alighted from the ice road, or zimnik, in Salekhard, after a most remarkable and commendable journey. We wish to celebrate them without a trace of sarcasm or irony, as they have endured conditions and episodes of astonishing severity and danger.
At approximately 6.15pm, Team Ice Ice Baby, the Germans Sam Schellenburg and Moritz Suess, sputtered over the finish line in the beautiful Arctic resort of Yamalkan, some 12 kms from the city of Salekhard and just metres from the frozen river Ob, which has been their main thoroughfare for the past 400kms as they have battled -70 windchill and a bike doing its best to fall apart on them. Their stoicism and good humour in genuinely agonising cold has been a remarkable and commendable feature on this adventure. Once over the finish line it was clear that Sam was in very bad shape and needed sleep and a warm room immediately.
After a couple of hours' kip in a warm cabin, Mo was more than ready for a plate of pork ribs and some strenuous karaoke, but Sam was still catatonic, having picked up a gastro bug which appears to have afflicted several more Ice Run teams, including Boris and Natasha and Oznog Racing, who have travelled with Sam and Mo for the last few days. We have high hopes of seeing them at Yamalkan tomorrow once they have stopped puking. With more teams poised at Beryozovo, hopes are high for a full complement of Ice Runners by Monday night or Tuesday, after what has been possibly the toughest and most adversarial adventure we have ever staged, thanks to a barnstorming appearance by Mother Nature. When the Siberians say its suicidal to travel, it's hard to argue...
Ice Run Chief, live from the karaoke bar, Yamalkan Resort, Salekhard