Ice Run Bad Week Good Week
The Pioneers Ice Run launched a meer 7 days yester from the Russian town of Irbit. The 11 teams have coaxed their vintage Ural sidecar beasts through the unimaginable cold and even more unimaginably odd encounters. Below is a selection of the good and the bad updates from the past week including tales of wolves, bear meat, 2km drags, burnt arms, cross-bow related lip incidents, tow trains, Russian Mafia, frozen faces, technical candles and police encounters to name but a few.
Reliable Progress Without Distraction or Delay: Will of Team Mechanical Mounties reported on day 2 - 'Initial northern approach blocked, helpful locals guided team across back-country, going slowed by stopping to eat bear meat and fire guns. Hairy encounter with drunk villager led to all night push at -27°C. All vehicles busted but towed in column by local lorry and awaiting repairs.'
Persons With Lupophobia (Dread of Wolves): 'Someone's dog got munched by a wolf last week - the Siberian version weighs in at 100 kilos... which is a whole lot of fur and teeth!'
Numb Nuts Mechanics: Team Numb Nuts had the odd thing wrong with their Siberian steed - 'fuses in ignition system blown, coil in ignition system blown, timing in ignition system destroyed, spare coils all broken, spark plugs all broken as are spares, brakes for side car seized and brake cable been ripped out by concrete, huge dent in side car where Olly slid the bike on the ice and went into the back of the jeep towing him, rear tyre flat, gear box is screwed, gear lever bent into the floor, foot peg spinning round and one of the rear shocks has snapped.'
Getting Stuck and Breaking Down: Team Mechanical Mounties found themselves an old school Ural Manual similar to a Haynes. That makes life far too easy as you might very well know how to fix something, may we suggest some lighter fluid and a match Messrs. of Mechanical Mounties.
Cats' Butts: A short but sweet update from Team XieXie - 'I would rather poke hot butter up a wild cats butt than work on a bike in this weather.' Which they followed up with - 'I've got blossom on my plum tree and isty bitsy little plums growing too... its cold out here.' which we're still trying to decipher, any thoughts? Post in the comments below if you have any idea what they're on about.
Limb Awareness: Our very own Rob Mills (Chief of Mongol Rally) of Team Numb Nuts momentarily misplaced his arm and stumbled across some arms - 'I just melted my fleece to my arm on the burning hot head whilst reattaching the timing cover, idiot. Luckily there's plenty of ice around! Also the owner of our hotel showed me his sniper rifle and shotgun this afternoon.'
Lips, -20°C & Metal Cross-Bows: Simon of Team APACHE phonecasted an absurd story of his team mate Dave Murray - 'Quite a funny thing happened. Dave's got a cross-bow and he went to check the sight and his lip stuck to the sight and he started to panic. I said don't do anything just hold it there. Luckily we had some water on the boil and freed his lip from the telescopic sight. Its -20°C here at the moment which is fairly mild but you know, you just can't touch metal it'll just stick.' To hear the story for yourself and all about their gas bottle heating techniques skip to 1min50sec on their 13th Phonecast.
Triple Tow Train: Chris Meachin of Team Tundra & Lightning recounts a triple tow of bikes - 'Rode for 23 hrs. For the last few hours all 3 bikes were towed in a chain behind one truck on an ice road, in -30°C. At night, with no lights.'
Русская Мафия: That same Chris' tweets on the 18th Feb are most entertaining, from gangsters to hookers and everything in between and goes a little like this:
- The "boss" has "asked" us to go to his club. He openly introduced himself as a gangster. Please god this turns out ok... Scare / intrigue
- Fuck. We're in a car with no number plates.
- They're showing us weapons and playing loud Russian rap. Holy, holy shit...
- We're not allowed to pay for anything. Politely declined the prostitutes, but accepted a beer. Kinda having fun...
- Imagine the worst provincial nightclub you've ever been to but armed & dangerous. That's where we are. Discreetly pouring drugs on the floor.
- Do not look at the gangsters' girlfriends. Do not look at the gangsters' girlfriends. Do not look at the gangsters' girlfriends.
- Just got my wallet out to buy a beer. Answer: "No cash. No beer. We Mafia..."
- The 'protection man' (with a Makarov 9mm in his pants) wants to be friends on Facebook, so I think we'll be ok. Odd, but reassuring.
- I'd like to go home now. There's nobody to call. Nowhere to go. I don't want a prostitute, or drugs. Just. Want. Out. Better man up...
- Ok we win. Thankfully we're British. We do drinking at an OLYMPIC level...
- We did not die today. Splendid.
Enjoying -50°C Immensely: Rob Mills & Nick Dodd really revelling in the cold weather climate
Anglo-Ruskie International Relations: Team Mechanical Mounties experience '...an amazing day. Barrelling along an ice road on the bikes at whatever speed Masha [their Ural] allows. Now in another brilliant and bizarre town. Everyone is marvellous, all we pass laugh and wave and last night the local police gave us a siren escort to their garage.'
Getting Fantastically Lost: Rob & his team mate, professional stunt man Olly Rowland found themselves in a fantastic spot of bother on day 2 - 'Still alive. Took a seriously dangerous wrong turn, turned out to not be a shortcut but a dangerous off road long cut. 3 days away from civilisation, we would have been screwed if it wasn't for some locals off roading. Bikes broken and smashed to bits after being towed 15k off road. Camped in -27°C last 3 nights. Knackered.'
It Doesn't Stop There: Rob continues the tale '...also Olly came off the bike while it was being towed. It flipped over going into a ditch and got his foot caught under the carb and got dragged along under the bike for 2km until the truck driver realised what was going on.' Hear about this in another of Team APACHE's Phonecasts.
Russian Delicacies: 'He took us to his house for chicken neck soup and reindeer fat slices!' is one of Team Numb Nuts stranger dishes. With Team Buff enjoying particularly raw chunks of frozen bear and wolf meat in the photos below:
Bridal Hospitality: Team Ice Ice Maybe recount a wonderfully unusual evening - 'With 11pm looming & only a few miles to Nyagan we broke down & were quickly assisted by this crazy old chap. We thought we were going to a hotel however we arrived at the guys house & were quickly ushered in & next thing you know we have a table full of food & a bottle of vodka in front of us. After some bizarre conversations (mainly through drawing pictures) we think Rob was offered his daughter in marriage before we were shown our room for the night.'
Local Russian Audience: The Ice Run has attracted quite an audience in the local region with many locals following the teams' progress on the Live Tracking Page and leaving comments on updates from teams they've met. With the 'assistance' of Google Translate we translated this from a certain Edward Muhameeff - 'Guys, we are following your journey, you are very brave people that have chosen our domestic appliances... good luck to you on the road and look at the bowl of the technical condition of candles.' We couldn't agree more Edward, look at the bowl of the technical condition of candles chaps, look at that bowl, look at it!
Charming the Police: One moment we're hearing a report on Twitter from Tundra & Lightning of 'Hmm. @NickFarnhill and @WillKC have been escorted away with our bikes by the Russian police. We'll have a beer and see if they come back...' and seconds later the quote 'All fine, charmed them :-)' along with this photo is posted:
Follow the teams live
The teams are now well on their way to the finish line in Salekhard. We'll be posting more updates on the blog and you can follow the teams GPS locations on the Live Tracking Page.
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