PART 4 – BIKERAFTING IN SIBERIA – THE HEEBIEJEEBIES
A blog on how to get the heebiejeebies.
Funny word though, ha? Heebiejeebies. Although sounding funny, it really isn’t something you want to get, when friends go along asking:
„You guys are crazy!“, „Yakutia – where the hell is hat?“, „That sounds dangerous, doesn’t it?“, „There are bears there, no?“, „How will you manage getting food?“.
Friends and family have been drowning us in those and similar questions the past few weeks. But nearly the same amount of questions remain within ourselves. One year of planning is being funnelled and in two weeks we are off to the far away place called Yakutia. The ‚grande finale’ as you would call it. But no fireworks for us. Those are reserved for when we return, safely. And in one piece.
Currently our anticipation is mingling with kind of an unpleasant feeling. I mean – you can only plan a trip of this dimension to around 50 or 60 percent. The remaining percentage belongs to weather, technical problems, physical issues, bears and all the rest. So failure is probable.
It’s kind of a technical knockout like in boxing, without having any influence.
Of course we are trying to minimize chances of getting knocked our. We rely on rugged and suitable equipment from our sponsors. But did we really consider everything? Do you want to get an insight into our bike setup. Check it here:
Questions remain – like: Will the weather work to our advantage? Currently it’s a little moody. A few days of rain will transform the road of bones into an impassable mud hole.
On it goes with: will we be able to pass by the goldmine in the Sakha mountain range. Will the river we want to paddle down be negotiable? Oh, and will we actually be able to return from Russia? This now seems a major problem, because the Airline messed our flight back. We may have to stay in the airport in Moscow for a while. Have you guys ever seen ‚The Terminal’ were Tom Hanks get’s stranded in JFK Airport. Except he didn’t smell as bad as us after five weeks of no showering in Siberia. Same, same but different.
A couple of excel charts help us to exactly calculate our positions to a specific time. A tight schedule. The plan will fail quickly, when the situations change and we loose time. But what is evenly important for such and expedition is the motivation and mind-set of each individual. Roman recently, while talking about failure, said, he’d give us a 50/50 chance of actually finishing the tour. I, myself didn’t calculate as strict, giving us a 60/40 or even 70/30 chance.
Irrespectively our own estimates won’t be important, because in difficult situations we need to think together. There won’t be any solo attempts or decisions.
Whoever is interested in some more numbers and figures: I’d estimate that we burn around 6000 to 10.000 calories daily. 2000 calories is what a grown man needs to merely exist. The rest we’ll use while cycling, paddling, sweating, freezing and cursing along the way. Everything will burn energy. Unfortunately we’ll never be able to bring and consume enough energy for the entire trip. Everything will be minimized and rationalized: breakfast to around 400 kilocalories, lunch to around 300 and the only warm meal, dinner to also around 400. That not only sounds to little, it also is. But no chance to carry more. In between, we’ll squeeze in some mousse chocolate or an extra ration of Russian pasta. Oh how I hated that stuff back in Tajikistan, when you threw in a kilo of noodles and after a while a single noodle glued together came back out. This trip surely won’t be a culinary highlight.
To prevent completely starving, we are now filling up on as many calories as we can. A kind of energy storage, the body can rely on. A lot of fat and carbohydrates are on the menu lately. An entire bar of chocolate or a few spoons of peanut butter as a snack. Not a problem! Piece of cake? Give me more!
Adding to our meals, we will try and catch fish along the rivers, we paddle down. A nice trout with some sage and fresh potatoes, does sound good, ha? But unfortunately there is no guarantee and so we cant reconsider it into our calculations. Every fish is a nice to have.
In one of the earlier blog posts, I wrote about us loosing around 7 kilograms of body weight in the five weeks of cycling through Tajikistan. And we weren’t even completely cut of from civilisation there. We were able to buy bread and fruit along the way. And multiple times we got invited to chai and homemade bread. Delightful!
But I don’t know, if you ever had the feeling of not being hungry after a long and hard day of outdoor activities? You need to force feed yourself.
So now at the moment we are trying to organize the last items we need, like a sat phone, missing camera gear, functioning gps maps and all the rest.
Do you want an overview over our safety equipment? Or see how our bikes are packed onto the boat? Stay tuned for the next entry.