Exploring the limits of human potential: physiology, psychology and technology

28 Jun

Watched a great talk by an Arctic adventurer on TED. Ben Saunder’s experience resonates with my own, although my adventures have been on far smaller scale. Cross country skiing is an easy and natural thing to do here in Norway. A massive trail network groomed daily by heavy machinery lies waiting every day for use in season. Even 3pm sunsets don’t put a damper on things because there’s either lighted trails or powerful headlights that work great. The elements are occasionally harsh (minus 15C minimums or heavy falling snow), but once you’ve mastered basic classic technique, conditions matter surprisingly little. Wearing light clothes, your activity generates plenty of heat. Yes, it’s easy but I wouldn’t have thought that were the case. I’m not very coordinated but it doesn’t matter. I’ve just gone long distances and my body and brain have adapted. In fact, the only thing I’ve found difficult is adapting to warm, snow free conditions. As part of another adaptation strategy, I branched out and learned skate technique as a way of dealing with crappy late season snow. Skate technique is the easiest one to simulate on wheels and I can thereby keep in shape and continue to improve during the warm months. The capital of experience I’m thereby accumulating will pay off when the snow comes back. And then I’ll see where it takes me from there.


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