British woman Maria Leijerstam ahead in bike race to South Pole

Fat trike rider eating up Antarctic miles

by John Stevenson   December 20, 2013  

Maria ICEland

British adventurer Maria Leijerstam is three days into her attempt to cycle to the South Pole and already ahead of her rivals American Daniel Burton and Spaniard Juan Menendez Granados despite starting days behind them.

Maria has spent the first three days of the ride climbing, as you can see from the elevation profile below. She now faces a ride of 500km on her fat-tyred recumbent trike across the Antarctic plateau, one of the most inhospitable places on Earth.

In her last tweet, she wrote: “I now must survive 500k on polar plateau.  Have sore back from misplaced strap but cured cold feet!”

She sounds in good spirits and is covering ground surprisingly quickly - 41km on December 17 and almost 50km on December 18, after which she tweeted: “Can't believe I am camped half way up Leverett which has been giving me nightmares for a year! All I want for Christmas is to get to the top of this glacier!”

Meanwhile, Daniel Burton has been covering 10-20 nautical miles per day on his fatbike, towing his supplies in a sled. He has described each day of his ride so far as “the hardest day of my life”.

On his blog, he writes: “On a spin bike, turn the resistance up as high as you can and still be able to turn over the pedals, I mean even harder than that. Now ride like that for 10 hours a day for two months and you will have an idea what it is like to bike to the South Pole.”

Juan Menendez Granados has struggled with bad weather and has mysteriously managed to pick up a touch of frostbite on the skin over his collarbone.

Both Daniel and Juan are listening to music to keep their spirits up, though Daniel writes: “When you are dead tired and don't want to go on anymore is not a good time for Pink Floyd's Goodbye Cruel World to come up on the playlist.”

You can follow Maria’s progress on her YellowBrick tracker here, and via Twitter.

Daniel Burton is writing fairly extensively on his blog, as is Juan Menendez Granados.

5 user comments

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posted by m0rjc [36 posts]
20th December 2013 - 12:32


"Fat trike rider eating up Antarctic miles". Hmmm.

posted by consciousbadger [30 posts]
20th December 2013 - 13:02


Yeah, unfortunate wording! That said I've met her and she is anything but.

posted by bendertherobot [464 posts]
20th December 2013 - 20:43


How is it a mystery that he got frostbite. He is cycling to the SOUTH POLE!!!

posted by jarredscycling [457 posts]
20th December 2013 - 21:40


That's amazing, incredible athletes. And what a cool bike - thats what I want for Xmas!

Ride For Precious Lives - Annual Cornwall to Bristol charity ride.

posted by graphite [63 posts]
20th December 2013 - 22:12