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The Cycle Race to the South Pole: Girl power, Kate Leeming

Posted: Apr 22, 2013 03:42 pm EDT

(Newsdesk) The challenge is set, to be the first to cycle from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole. In March ExplorersWeb talked to Daniel Burton about his and team mate Todd Tueller's plan to cycle from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole and back with skidoo support and an ANI guide.

Down Under, in Australia, professional athlete, Kate Leeming is also preparing to take up the challenge to cycle to the South Pole with her Christini all-wheel-drive fatbike . "It is amazing - a 2WD fatbike," an excited Kate said to ExplorersWeb after picking up her brand new bike in Portland, Maine, US, on March 17th. In her blog Kate explains, "Making the [world’s first all-wheel-drive fatbike] required totally redesigning the frame to house both his technology and accommodate the 12cm wide tyres."

In the US the bike was dismantled and boxed and flew with Kate to Spitsbergen, Svalbard, for a training session with her crew under the leadership of veteran Australian polar guide, Eric Philips.

"The training session was excellent and a big learning curve for me," Kate said to ExplorersWeb. "We have a great team. I was just concentrating on making the most out of the new tech nology and learning how to deal with the cold."

Kate might be a novice in the extreme cold, but not in long distance cycling expeditions. She had done her previous ultra cycling expeditions in warm conditions and explained to ExWeb after the freezing conditions in Svalbard, "It is very hard work, so I am learning how to control the moisture loss. We still need to come up with a further adaption to deal with the softer snow. All in all, we could do very well though. Much work to do to make it happen, but at least I now know what to focus on."

Kate Leeming testing world's first all-wheel-drive Fatbike (built by Steve Christini) from Claudio von Planta on Vimeo.

Kate's previous cycle expeditions:

- 1993: Trans-Siberian Cycle Expedition, a 153-day, 13,400 kilometer bicycle journey from St Petersburg to Vladivostok, accompanied by Brit Greg Yeoman and five different Russian cyclists who covered various sections of the trip.

- 2003: Great Australian Cycle Expedition (GRACE), a 25 000-kilometre journey through her own country, 7000 kilometers of which were ‘off road’ on isolated tracks in remote regions.

- 2009-10: a ten month 22,040km journey across Africa from Point des Almadies in Senegal to Cape Hafun in Puntland, Somalia.

In between expeditions Kate works as a tennis professional (currently at the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club). Among her tennis achievements she won 4 Australian Open singles titles and 5 doubles titles, and have been ranked as world number 2.

This expedition (and other expeditions/ adventures/ projects with RSS feeds) can be followed in the live Dispatch stream at the Pythom App for iPhone/iPad and on Android as well as at ExplorersWeb.

Previous - Arctic, Antarctica, Greenland and Baikal icebiking: Make your own

ExWeb South Pole kick-off interview: Daniel Burton, return cycle journey

Kate Leeming's website

ExplorersWeb Expedition List


After collecting her bike from Portland, Maine, Kate said to ExplorersWeb, "It is amazing - a 2WD fatbike."
courtesy Eric Philips, SOURCE
"Much work to do to make it happen, but at least I now know what to focus on."
courtesy Eric Philips, SOURCE
The team on Spitsbergen during Kate's training and preparation, (from left) filmmaker Claudio von Planta, cyclist Kate Leeming, Polar guide, Eric Philips, and photographer Phil Coates.
courtesy Svalbard - Spitsbergen Travel