Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First Stop Denver

I have been at Denver airport a million times but never set foot outside. Today is my first time really being in Denver. It's cold. When I arrived this afternoon, it was 3F (-16C). Two hours ago when I was outside driving around looking to buy a camcorder and hotel accommodation, it was -5F (-21C). This condition is perfect for me. I should get used to the cold before it only gets colder in Antarctica.

This trip to Colorado is for training purpose.

First, ovbviously the weather. Colorado can be quite cold as it is on higher altitude. I talked to a hotel staff, she said it's been pretty bad, temperature wise, and lots of snow. Usually it is warmer, as in the 20s (-6C) and wet. The weather turned nasty lately, through out the west coast and here. I don't complain tho :)

Secondly, altitude acclimatization. Denver is called mile high city for a reason, it is elevated at 5281 ft (1609 meters). But I am going to be in Keystone, a ski area which has trails near to 9000ft, almost the same altitude as the South Pole. I did quite a few mountaineering trips and hiking over 14000 ft, so 9000 is not too much of a concern but it's best to get some acclimation before the big trip. I was told due to the extreme weather at the South pole, 10000 ft can feel like 14000. I'll have to find out, soon enough.

And last, to practice cross country skiing again. Since the North pole trip, I did not have a chance to do any cross country. Although how we ski to the pole is not really skiing, let alone cross country. It's almost impossible to glide on the hard, rough sastrugi (ridges formed by snow, everywhere in the polar region) unless there is some smooth snow surface which is quite rare. We found a few place in the North pole we could do that but that was on thin ice! The Antarctic, however does have some as reported by Eric Larsen, who's three weeks into his expedition. Will see what we will find when we are there. Back to the practice, again, it's good to get back the skills, and certainly (and hopefully :)) develop some muscles that were not used in my other trainings (tire pulling, stairmasters, hiking, etc..).

I probbaly do not need to have this training, but hey, I need to give my all to make this expedtion as succesful and enjoyable as possible, right?

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