British adventurer Maria Leijerstam achieves world first by cycling to South Pole
35-year-old completed challenge today after gruelling 500-mile ride in 'vicious' conditions
Friday 27 December 2013
A British adventurer has achieved a world first after becoming the first person to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of the continent in just 10 days.
Maria Leijerstam, from the Vale of Glamorgan, managed the feat this morning following a gruelling 500 mile ride in "vicious" conditions.
The 35-year-old set off from the Novo Russian air force base on December 16 and went head to head against two other riders - American Daniel Burton and Spaniard Juan Menendez Granados.
Her team said at one point the sweat on the inside of Ms Leijerstam's boots froze and for ten days she heated her freeze-dried food by melting snow on a small stove inside her wind blasted tent.
Snow drifts, complete white outs and crevasses, marred her journey too.
However, the former management consultant dug deep and pedalled her way into the record books while on a customised recumbent bike PolarCycle.
Ms Leijerstam's mother Adrianne said her daughter's success was due to "meticulous planning, super fitness and pure determination".
Maria Leijerstam, from the Vale of Glamorgan, managed the feat this morning following a gruelling 500 mile ride in "vicious" conditions "From the time she was 12 years old and announced she wanted to be an astronaut, Maria has always been an adventurer," she said. "We are thrilled she has made it in such good time."
Ms Leijerstam, who previously took part in the Marathon des Sables seven-day run across the Sahara, also had to entirely retrain her metabolism for the Antarctic challenge.
Before setting out on her journey the extreme cyclist said: "I've had to get my body prepared for burning fat and not carbohydrates, so I've been training for two to three hours on an empty stomach which teaches my body to become more efficient."
Norwegian Roald Amundsen was the first person to reach the South Pole in 1911 using two-metre long skis.
He was five weeks ahead of the tragic expedition party led by Briton Robert Falcon Scott.
Amundsen and his team returned safely to their base, and later learned that Scott and his four companions had died on their return journey.
- 1 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
- 5 We have six months to save the world, says leading economist
California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
Sepp Blatter resigns: FBI are investigating outgoing Fifa president, claims report
Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...
£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...