RACE COVERAGE

The Last Desert Blogs

View All Posts From : Shayne Stoik

Final Thoughts

21st December 2012 10:57 AM[(GMT-06:00) Central Time(US & Canada)]

Well, it has been several weeks since the end of the Last Desert and I think it finally has all sunk in. The Last Desert was a blast. It was by far the most fun of the 4 Deserts for me. It wasn't because we got to sleeping in a beds, or eat real meals, it was the unique atmosphere. There were 49 competitors on the boat and we had all set out on an epic journey to conquer our Last Desert. Each of my fellow competitors had endured at least two of the other majestic desert challenges was prepared to go through it all again. We travelled to the end of the earth and saw what very few others have seen. We raced as best we could in unpredictable conditions and witness epic scenery that we will never forget. I made some great friends that I hope to see again. It was an amazing experience that is going to be very difficult to top. The 4 Deserts was an amazing experience for me. Before starting training for the Atacama Crossing I never really ran that much. I was out of shape and I had never left North America. Here I sit over 9 months after the Atacama, in the best shape of my adult life and much happier. I have come a long way in those 9 months and I thank Racing the Planet for putting on these wonderful events. They have greatly enriched my life and brought me much joy. I look forward to Iceland next year and the challenge that it represents. I hope to see some amazing scenery and many of the people I have met in the last year. Shayne

Comments: Total (1) comments

Elston Kk

Posted On: 26 Mar 2017 16:55 PM

I don’t get this article. Can someone summarize it for me and make it easy for me as I’ve to give this to essay writers, so that they can complete their essays as soon as possible as they are relying on me.
The Penguin Highway...

1st December 2012 04:30 AM[(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

The Last Desert is finally complete. I am not sure what to feel now. For 15 months I worked towards completing one goal and now I have made it.

The last stage consisted of a 1.5km loop through a penguin highway. The penguins made there colonies on rocks halfway up a 100m hill. There was a well beaten path from the ocean up to their isolated home. When we ran our laps, the penguins would often get on our course and just stand there, looking unsure of what to do. They weren't really scared of us, they were just unsure of what to do with us. Often the competitors would pile up with weird looks on our faces, waiting for the penguins to waddle on out of the way. The course was only 1.5km because there was a second, bigger penguin highway at the end of loop. The penguins would just hang out in there dozens as we would run past, minding there own business.

The course was fairly flat and was quite easy to run compared to the last 2 courses. The setting was as amazing as ever. Beautiful mountains, shimmering blue water and all of the penguins you could ever hope for.

I ran 10 laps before the race ended. I wanted to go more, but they stopped due to the necessity of us getting back on the boat.

Crossing the finish line was poignant reminder that the 4 Deserts was over. I ran under a giant blue Last Desert banner and received the last of my medals. It depicts 3 deserts races marching through the cold snow of Antarctica with icy mountains looming ahead of them. It was quite suitable as it looked similar to the race at stages.

After I got my medal, I went over to the Canadian flag and got a picture with my medal. Of all of the deserts that I have completed, this was the one I was proudest of. It was the hardest of the course and I wanted a picture with my countries flag to show how proud I was.

Soon afterwards, I got onto a zodiac, got back to the ship and promptly showered and ate. The mood on the ship was the most jubilant I have seen after a race. People were happy to be done the 4 deserts challenge and they wanted to celebrate!

Today, we got up and went of a last zodiac cruise around the ship. We went and looked at some impressive icebergs that had collected around the harbor. There were some monolith icebergs that were amazingly beautiful and added even more joy to an already amazing trip.

My roommate Scott Smith is crazy. He decided that he wanted to go for a polar plunge and I was stupid enough to follow him. Before we left he put on his custom Speedo and he was kind enough to lend me his swimming trunks. The expedition leader found us a rock to jump off of for our plunge, so at the end of our cruise we took a polar dip.

When we got to the rock, Scott stripped down in record speed and dove head first into the water like a mad man. He had the biggest smile I have ever seen when he got out and seem to genuinely enjoy it. I on the other had remembered what jumping into cold water feels like, so I was little slower then him. Whereas he had jumped right in, I was more cautious with my footing and rather gingerly got in. I dunked my head in the water, started to freeze and immediately got back in shore and waited a few moments for the zodiac to get back, so I could dry off. I was shivering for 15 minutes after I went in. For everyone at home, I have video evidence that I will be putting up on the internet. I look like I was completely miserable as I went in, which is good, because it accurately showcases how I really felt. Scott Manthey, the race photographer was kind enough to come out and document Scott's joy and my misery with his camera. I am told there will be pictures coming up on the internet soon...

I am glad I did it, to say I have done it. It was terrible at the time, but it was definitely worth it.

I will blog at least one more time. We have a banquet coming.Sunday night and I want to share my final thoughts about the series. It was an amazing time and I will need a few days to process it all and put it into words that do the 4 deserts justice. It still hasn't sunk in that it is all over.

Shayne

Comments: Total (5) comments

Jeff Guthrie

Posted On: 02 Dec 2012 20:20 PM

Shayne, congratulations on this race and the completion of the grand slam. What an accomplishment. Stand proud. You did what few other could of even imagined doing. It was a pleasure to have met you and to be a small part of this incredible goal. For you it's back to the same environment, san penguins. Jeff

Andrew Swenson

Posted On: 03 Dec 2012 19:43 PM

Nicely done Shayne, Congratulations!! Now what? maybe the Arctic?

Austin Mueller

Posted On: 06 Dec 2012 06:35 AM

can't wait to see what your next set of goals will be! you da man!!!

Yourkshire Kk

Posted On: 22 Apr 2017 17:35 PM

I really like how everyone here share their final thoughts, it is actually very nice! I am always providing paper writing help and not even sure if I have any final thoughts. It has actually been very nice coming here and reading this.

Zzzzz Zzzzz

Posted On: 01 Jun 2017 08:06 AM

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Lulled To Sleep By The Gentle Cooing Of Penguins

29th November 2012 02:15 AM[(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Yesterday was an amazing day. It was the first time we landed on manland Antarctica. We arrived at the next stop too late to race in the morning. Most of the competitors chose to stay on the boat and sleep, but I decided to go out to shore and get some amazing shots with the penguins. I wore my penguins jersey and hat, as I was trying for some great photos with the local fauna.

I got to shore and there were several penguins penguin colonies scattered around the landing. There scenery was typical of Antarctica, giant mountains of ice, melting glaciers and beautiful blue waters. The penguins often waddled around the island in groups of 5 or more. Watching them struggle to make it up a large hill without falling was both super cute and hilarious at the same time.

After 45 minutes on shore we got back into the zodiacs and did a tour around the bay. There were some remarkable glaciers of cool blue ice with all sorts of interesting icicles hanging off if then. Horizonal, vertical and diagonal icicles were a common sight. Someone on the boat suggested that I do some push ups on the side of the zodiac for a picture. I obliged and soon got tired as most the zodiac wanted to keep doing push ups so they could get some great photos of the crazy canadian.

After the tour we got back to ship, ate lunch and went onshore again to do another run. The course was a hard 1.25km loop. It started with about a 100m climb up a massive hill followed by a run down the same hill but with a little less steep. We went for two hours before we stopped. The terrain, was absolutely remarkable. From the bottom of the course you could see the competitors making there way to the top of the hill like little ants. The view from the top was quite beautiful too. Pink course markers lined the hill as compeitors could be see making there way down. The back drop was icy blue waters with pale blue glaciers and icy mountains rising from the background.

Once we finished the racing for the day, we got back to the boat, ate a delicous Antarctic bbq outside and went back on shore to sleep for the night. Some competitors sleep in a tent and others chose to bivy outside. Bivying involved sleeping with a rain//wind proof outerlayer, a sleeping mat underneath and a warm sleeping bag on the inside. I found it quite warm in the night. It only got down to -3 or so, it really wasn't that cold. I sleep like a baby and if Scott the photographer hadn't woken me up, I think the zodiac would of left with me still on shore. The only difficult parts of the night was the constant cooing of the penguins and it never getting dark. We were far enough south that there is 24 hour sunlight.

I am doing well and having a great time. I am not sure if we will get more racing in today. It is very windy and we have already left one port.

Shayne

Comments: Total (2) comments

Colyssa Duce

Posted On: 01 Dec 2012 00:56 AM

Hey! Sounds like you got to take a dip into the freezing water anyways! Hope the boat ride back goes smooth and you don't get sick! See ya soonish!

Austin Mueller

Posted On: 05 Dec 2012 22:20 PM

What exactly did you eat in an Antartica BBQ?
Stage 2

27th November 2012 07:12 AM[(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

Another Couple of Days and Several Thousand Penguins

I am not joking about the thousands of penguins(gentoo's for those who are interested in such things). I will get to that in a bit though.

Yesterday, we got to deception island, only to find 50 knot winds and an iced in shore. The passage in involved passing by Neptune's bellows. Neptune's bellows was a giant piece of stone protruding from the shoreline like one of the mythical pillars of Hercules.

The decision was made to head to Trinity island. When we got to Trinity island, there were too many Penguin colonies around, so we could not run a course without getting too close to the wildlife. Shucks.

We were forced into having a rest day. I had the option of kayaking around the bay or going onto shore and taking pictures of a penguin colony. I figured I could take pictures from my kayak of the penguins, and when was I ever going to get the chance to kayak around Antarctica again????

As soon as I entered my kayak, I knew that I had made the right choice. Pristine blue waters, penguins splashing around the kayak and the freedom to enjoy the open water.

The first thing was did was kayak to the penguin colony and take an obscene amount of penguin photos. Eventually our guide got us on our way and led us to the most beautiful iceberg that I have seen in my life. The top and sides were the glistening white of melting snow. Nothing remarkable there. The middle was a pale blue that you only get from the crushing pressure of a glacier over thousands of years. The oxygen was gone from the snow and the result could not have been more amazing.

After 10 minutes of enjoying the gorgeous view, we headed to another penguin colony and got some more photos. This was my idea. I spotted it in the distance and my tour guide said she would indulge me and let us row to it. At this point we were a good 4-5km from the boat. We paddled halfway back and our guide got us to turn a random direction, paddle 30 strokes, find a point in the exquisite scenery and stare at it for 5 minutes.

When we were done I felt a peace that is hard to describe. It felt like my soul had been uplifted and my soulf rejuvinated.

The next day we went to wiencke island and started racing at about 11am. We did about a 3km loop up a ridiculously large hill and down the side. We had to do 400m trek from the shore to the course before we could start. This involved walking through several magestic penguin colonies.

When I started I didn't really want to race. The scenery around us was so magnificent that t I just wanted to stare in wonder. The mountains around us were the biggest yet. Towering monuments of icy beauty that exist no where else in the world. From the hill we could see several penguins colonies by the shore, with the mountains in the background. The water was as blue as ever and there were a few lonely icebergs floating around the bay.The ice shelfs around opposing shoreline were mostly white, but they had an pale blue reflecting out from the inside.

The race itself went well. I did 15 laps, however many km that is. The course was harder this day, but I was feeling stronger. Slush and steep ascent took a lot out of me. At times I felt weak, but normally a gel or two would rejuvinate me. If that didn't work, i would watch a lonely penguin wander around, with his flippers back and his head held high.was fairly warm. I am guessing that it only got down to -10 with wind chill max. People were complaining it was cold, but I was running in similar temperatures at the beginining of October.

The temperature

I ended the day on a high note and wanted to go another lap, but they held me back. My adrenealine is pumping right now, but I am sure it will wear off soon and I will sleep well tonight.

If you are reading this Stephen, could you send a link to this blog to Jason and Nathan? They might be intersted.

Shayne

Comments: Total (4) comments

Rayray Roberts

Posted On: 29 Nov 2012 00:07 AM

Soo I was trying to figure out if you were back or not.. Mainly because I want to celebrate at OJs. But turns out you are in the middle of your race, which so far sounds AMAZING!! Sounds like its impressive. Keep it up and bring pictures back to share!

Sharon Stoik

Posted On: 29 Nov 2012 05:17 AM

All are fine here. Kayaking and penguins in one day sounds amazing. Looking forward to seeing photos of you with the penguins. Way to go with your adventure. Now you know what truly awesome means. Glad our weather helped prepare you for this race. Love you

Lisa Cox

Posted On: 29 Nov 2012 19:05 PM

Shayne I just read your blog entirely wow it sounds absolutely amazing.Stunning views and so beautiful scenery. I so wish I was there. You look so happy. Tell my South Korean buddies hello for me. I also know girl from India from Sahara. I recognize so many people from the races.Have fun can't wait to talk to you about it. LISA

Austin Mueller

Posted On: 05 Dec 2012 22:13 PM

Maybe you should write for National Geographic after your running career is over.
First Penguin Sighting

26th November 2012 07:05 AM[(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

After a rough voyage though the Drake passage, we awoke to calmer seas. Our wake up call was the pleasant sound of the anchor being dropped. I got out of bed and immediately looked out my cabin window. I was immediately rewarded with a view of several penguins diving in and out of the water in a playful fashion. Not a bad way to start the day.
The landscape around the ship was simply magnificent. The water was a shimmering blue so intense that it seemed surreal. Our ship was moored in a natural harbour that was protected by monolithic mountains of unforgiving ice. The shoreline was covered in a blanket of the whitest snow, and dotted with a smattering of international structures. There were several research stations on King George island as well as a tiny Russian Orthodox church.

After breakfast and a briefing, we headed to shore in zodiacs. As we neared shore the was a group of 3 gentoo penguins hanging out under an ice alcove by the shoreline.

The atmosphere was jubilant as we prepared to start the race. After so much hard work and so much sacrifice, we were about to start the final step in our quest to conquer the 4 deserts.

After the race started, I couldn't help but ponder that this was the most beautiful of the deserts we have dared challenged.

The course was as usual a breath taking affair. It reminded me of home with the snow and ice.

We ran a 14km circuit with two loops. The first loop went had several large hills and ended at the Uruguayan base. The was a large whale skeleton by the entrance.

The second, smaller loop end at the Chinese base. It was more challenging as the snow turned to slush as the day went on. There were several spots that my legs sunk to my knees as I wandered along the cold trail.

The best part about the course was the magnificent ocean view with random penguins appearing on shore. I was told there were several seals on shore, but unfortunately I never saw any that day.

As I was finish my last lap of the day, the clouds filtered the sun in such a way that the bay was covered in golden light, highlighting a line zodiac as it came into shore.

I believe we ran for approximately 13 hours by the end of the day. It was tough going and definitely the hardest long day I have ever endured. I was a little slower then I would of liked, but this is still my first year of ultra running. I never gave up and did a extra half lap when I was given the opportunity to call it a day despite my body calling for me to submit.

Once I got back to the ship, I immediately took a hot shower followed by a warm meal and a well deserved rest.

More updates to follow soon. I appreciate any comments.

Comments: Total (1) comments

Robin Jack

Posted On: 09 Nov 2017 10:45 AM

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First Penguins Sighting

25th November 2012 02:04 AM[(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

On the day of the first stage we woke up to the lovely sound of the anchor coming down. Not the most pleasant sound I have ever heard, but an effective wake up call. I immediately got up and looked through my cabin window. In the distance I see several penguins jumping in and out of the water and steadily coming towards the boat. Definitely a great start to the day.

Comments: Total (0) comments

The Journey To The End Of The World

24th November 2012 10:47 AM[(GMT+08:00) Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Urumqi]

This is my first time being on a real ship. It is also my first time doing one of these events where I get to sleep in a bed AND have proper meals. No freeze dried food this trip!

The journey so far has been unforgettable. Walking down to the docks with my fellow competitors in front if me and mountains all around was spectacular. Once we got on the ship and started to move, it got even better. There were beautiful mountains all covered with snow, and then there was the bluish grey of the ocean all around us. The seas were calm until we left the beagle channel and got into the Drake.

'Wandering around a ship that is swaying from side to side can be quite the challenge. Walking up stairs that wont stay in one place and trying to sleep when your bed won't stop moving is interesting to say the least. I was having trouble eating at first, so the doctor gave me some anti nausea pills which have provided a great deal of relief.

We are not yet in sight of any icebergs or penguins, but I have great hopes for tomorrow. We should be running for up to 14hrs, so it should be a fun day. I am told that we might get to go kayaking for half a day if weather permits and I am super excited about that! I believe our first stop tomorrow is King George island.

Thanks for all of the comments, I appreciate every one. I am having a great time here and I hope that my friends and family wherever you may be, are living life to the fullest and doing awesome things.

Shayne

Comments: Total (4) comments

Alina B

Posted On: 25 Nov 2012 13:18 PM

Hi Shane - Already looking forward to reading more of your blogs... it's been an incredible year for you! There are some great pre-race photos of you on the website. Where's your penguin hat? And a push-up competition? Really? Cheers, Alina

Zachary Larocque-walker

Posted On: 26 Nov 2012 04:49 AM

Oh man, it sounds like this trip is shaping up to be even crazier than all the other ones. Glad to hear you're doing well even with all the movement on the ocean and such. I can't wait to see pictures, and you better find yourself a penguin of course. Me, Amy and Charlie wish you the best of luck, we'll keep tabs on how the week is going. keep warm! Oh, and I would say that we are living life to the fullest here, can't wait for you to meet Charlie (not penny's boat) LaRocque-Walker thezlw

Sharon Stoik

Posted On: 26 Nov 2012 06:08 AM

Following the pictures and note how happy everyone looks. Is this partially the joy of trying so uniquely different? Did you have yield to penguins yet? Told my Primary class about your adventure and they were excited about the penguins. How does the weather compare to home? -21C predicted here for Monday night. Glad you are blogging.

Colin Jack

Posted On: 26 Nov 2012 14:32 PM

Hi Shayne Great first day. Some great photos of you on Stage 1. You look more at home in the snow than you do in the sand lol. Best of luck tomorrow cheers Colin
The Final Desert

22nd November 2012 02:22 AM[(GMT-03:00) Buenos Aires, Georgetown]

In less then 6 hours I will be boarding a boat for Antarctica, The Final Desert, in my Four Deserts journey this year. The 4 Deserts has been an amazing journey so far. Running 250km through Atacama, Gobi and Sahara have been amazing experiences that I can never forget. At times during my journey I have wanted to give up. These races have challenged me in ways that I never expected and it I am amazed that I have managed to come so far. These races are both a physical and mental challenge that are rewarding beyond words if you can complete them. Only one more journey awaits this year and it is going to be epic. A two day journey across the Drake passage followed by running 250km(weather dependent) on Antarctia is something I have dreamed about for years and I can't believe that this day is here! Expect updates to follow as the race unfolds. This is going to be an amazing journey and I hope that I can rise to the occasion of documenting this amazing experience. Shayne

Comments: Total (6) comments

Austin Mueller

Posted On: 22 Nov 2012 15:51 PM

I'm proud of you brother! Your an amazing guy, Barrhead represent son! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Colin Jack

Posted On: 23 Nov 2012 01:28 AM

Hi Shayne, Incredible journey in just 1 year. What an achievement. Enjoy the last part to the full. I will be following closely cheers Colin

Sharon Stoik

Posted On: 23 Nov 2012 06:53 AM

Your thoughtful text was received with thanks. Read your blog and will follow your amazing adventure. Definitely should be a highlight of your life. More goals will follow and with your determination you will succeed. Have fun! Love you.

Karolina Kaluzna

Posted On: 24 Nov 2012 00:37 AM

Wow, I almost got tears in my eye reading this. ALMOST. But no worries, I kept my composure. I am soooooooooo incredibly proud of you right now. You have come such a long way. I mean, hiking through the snow with us in Jasper back in 2010 to THIS.... HUGE difference. Say hi to the penguins for me.... AND BRING ME BACK A ROCK. But above all, I hope you have the time of your life. This is beyond incredible. I think you may have become my most inspiring friend. Because heck, now I want to get into shape too, haha. Love ya, buddy.

Jeff Guthrie

Posted On: 24 Nov 2012 13:36 PM

Shayne, best of luck man. You were born and bred in cold and ice, it's in your blood. This will be a cakewalk for you. This is your chance to give Jimmy a run for his money. I'll be watching and cheering for you (as well as Jimmy, as a tent 1 alumni). Have a good race. Hopefully there wasn't a 'puke-party' on the boat ride to the start. Yuk . Jeff

Sam Karras

Posted On: 26 Nov 2012 18:18 PM

So proud of you man. you're pretty much the coolest ever.. definitely the only person i know who's been to the realm of the penguins! Never stop man!
On Route To Argentina

19th November 2012 08:42 AM[(GMT-03:00) Buenos Aires, Georgetown]

I'm at the Houston airport trying to kill time, so I figured now would be a great time to test out my blog.

Comments: Total (1) comments

Lisa Cox

Posted On: 20 Nov 2012 21:04 PM

Shayne I am so excited for you. Good Luck Have fun and stay warm.