After a 24hr straight through leg over the final 77 miles,Derbyshire rider Andy Heading has crossed the line with Alaskan, Mike Estes. Andy agreed to finish together in true Brit style despite the Alaskan’s broken forks.
” Neither of us had much enthusiasm for the fight…27 brutal days on the trail, plus poor food and worse sleep left us feeling like zombies and mild frostbite didn’t help…It’s not about us beating each other, it’s about beating the distance, the elements, achieving the goal to finish”.
The Iditarod Impossible is an insane race across 1,100 miles of Alaskan Arctic wilderness, which was marked by particularly foul weather this year, with snow up to 22 feet deep doubling the normal race duration.
Heading’s victory is all the more remarkable after he suffered horrific injuries in a car crash in South Africa which killed his close friend Andy Baldwin. Still the determination he’d developed fighting to stay alive through constructive surgery is probably what carried him through the Impossible while over 50% of competitors – including his partner, multi Polaris champion Alan Sheldon – had to abandon.
Andy has already described how he hallucinated about the Pope eating chocolate biscuits at the side of the trail and worried about the metal plates in his skull freezing in the minus 40 conditions. If that isn’t enough to make you cry, how about the prospect of 4 weeks riding on 30 hours sleep and having to force down 10,000 calories a day (approximately 5 times the average).
Though the trip was self funded, Andy would like to thank Patagonia® clothing, Orbit Cycles, adidas eyewear and First Ascent for their support in kind and dedicates his fantastic achievement to the memory of Andy Baldwin.
Respect, as they say, is due.