The inaugural Ice Run got underway yesterday at the southern end of the River Ob. The riders will now follow the frozen river north to the town of Salekhard, which sits above the Arctic Circle. During the brief summer months, the only way to complete that journey is by boat or airplane, but during the long winter, the frozen tundra, and even the river itself, allow for passage. Of course, the riders still have to deal with the snow, ice, and incredibly cold temperatures along the way.
Just how cold does it get there? According to this page on the Ice Run site, temperatures will fall between -10ºC and -60ºC (14ºF to -76ºF). Throw in winds that regularly hit 40mph and the windchill shaves another 40º off of those temperatures. As a result, machines start to break down and oil begins to freeze. The local police will even close the roads to prevent drivers from leaving town and getting stranded, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere.
There are currently 13 teams entered into this unique, and dare I say crazy, race. You can track their progress online by clicking here, and as of this writing they've covered roughly 150 miles so far. As with all the other events from the Adventurists, this road rally is helping to raise funds for charity. The live tracker also says that the teams have currently raised £11,980 ($18,770), with more to come.
And while we're on the subject of raising money for charity, I think it is worth pointing out that all of these great road races that the Adventurists have sponsored over the past few years have brought in more than £3.5 million ($5.5 million) for a variety of organizations. That's a pretty impressive number.
So, just what are the Ice Run riders dealing with out on the "road?" The video below, which was shot during an initial test run of the ride, will give you some indication. It's a toss up which looks colder, this video, or one of those shot on those winter climbs we've been following.