Soyez prêts à suivre durant ces mois d’avril, mai et juin 2014 le si sympathique explorateur polaire belge Dixie Dansercoer (photos ci-dessous) qui se lancera, avec son partenaire d’expédition Eric McNair-Landry, pour un nouveau record du monde en Arctique, à savoir de parcourir sur la calotte glaciaire du Groenland plus de 5.000km en kite et en ski et ce en parfaite autonomie…
Seulement cette année, la concurrence sera particulièrement rude vu la présence des vents glacés extrêmes de saison, des témpératures basses, des crevasses inattendues, des impacts du réchauffement climatique sur la calotte glaciaire groenlandaise…mais aussi, la présence de deux autres équipes qui relèveront à cette même période le même défi: une espagnole et l’autre, franco-allemande…Les paris sont donc lancés!
Dixie Dansercoer est un vrai « modèle sportif » tant pour les jeunes, que pour les managers…qui souhaitent savoir comment améliorer leur performance, leur concentration et acquérir des valeurs indispensables pour assurer du « bien être » au sein de l’équipe dont ils ont la charge. Nous sommes allés à sa rencontre pour une interview exclusive que vous trouverez ci-dessous!
– You and Eric Mc Nair-Landry will be starting in a few days a « sports expedition » on the Greenland ice-cap with your kites & skis, can you please explain us your goals?
We want to consider this expedition as the sequel to the Antarctic ICE expedition back in 2011-12 (www.antarcticice.be ) and so we have moved up from the Southern Hemisphere to the second largest icecap to be found on this planet, namely Greenland.
– Did you prepare well your physical and mental training to be fit to confront the rough & cold Arctic winds ?
I keep my base fitness level in between expeditions, but in the last phase of physical preparation I am back at pulling tires through the fields of Huldenberg. In addition to that I have trained the specific, intrinsic muscle groups that I now know will be solicited much during an expedition like this. On a mental level, I realize that – once again – we will be faced again with the big unknown of the Eastern part of the ‘mini-continent’ of Greenland, but that keeps me on edge, alert and ready to be resilient.
– What’s your age Dixie if we may ask ? How do you remain so fit & sharp? Do you see yourself still challenging the Poles at 65 years old ? Any secrets to share with us in terms of attitude, diet, philospohy ?
Ha, that’s a good one. I remember when driving the zodiac and explaining to Queen Paola during a cruise in NE Greenland all of the little secrets of snow and ice, she suddenly asked me how old I was and when at the time I said that I was almost 50, she blurted out that I would be good for 10 more years of ‘service’. So I guess that another 8 years at this moment should not be a problem and we’ll take it from there! I will certainly be guiding beyond that because I have only just started to structure well these activities. Since that requires a solid organization, investment and long-term planning, it helps me keep myself fit for many more years to come. But I must admit that comes naturally, since it is more of a life’s vision and attitude.
At home we truly believe in a healthy diet and we can be called ‘flexitarians’, only eating meat when people offer it to us as a gesture of friendship and hospitality, something that cannot be refused.
I also love sports and focus on running, which I have done ever since I was a kid. I still love windsurfing and have made the transition to kiteboarding as well. Together with my wife Julie, we find much pleasure in a good game of tennis, and when I have time to spare I love long-distance race – or mountainbiking.
We also believe that our generation – barring incidents or accidents – can easily live beyond 100 years on condition that we do not abuse our bodies….
– Still, you must have weak points…how do you challenge them during an expedition ?
Oh, you know, I am just as cold as anyone else, but I believe I can now rely on all these years of experience and with age we can ‘place’ things better. Frame them. So, even when I dip, I know I’ll crawl out of that short moment of weakness and that is perfectly fine. But I know I may not lose the focus, and the weight of such expeditions really keeps you on your toes. It is probably best that there are so many people you have to account to, because if I were just alone, doing my thing, I think I would let go easier and be less ambitious.
– Where did you meet your expedition partner Eric ? Did you train together ? What did you already learn from him which may help you to achieve your mutual project with great success?
I met Eric in Cape Town before the start of the Antarctic Ice Expedition and I immediately liked him. I pretty much have the same feeling as with Sam Deltour, who was also a solid guy on all levels. So my gut feeling gives me full confidence, especially since he has such a great CV and he is also a super snowkiter, very important for this upcoming expedition.
We will be seeing each other in Spitsbergen in March, when I also guide a group of 6 for a ‘mini-expedition’, which is part of my future focus on guiding.
I am certain that Eric has full knowledge of the Ozone kites we will be using and since we only received the new quiver two weeks ago, we’ll have plenty of adaptations to do. I will listen carefully to his advice! And he is curious what I have to say about the mega-kites Sam an I used in Antarctica!
– Did you some training at the Belgian coast, in Huldenberg woods or/& rather somewhere like Iceland? Any good spots you would recommand ?
As we are not in the best place for specific snow training in Belgium where we have only little snow in the winter, it is all about simulating. So, yes, I do go out in the fields around Huldenberg to pull tires.
Additionally, I do go out to the ice & snow in Switzerland, Lapland or Spitsbergen for specific cold training. Embracing guiding people more also gives me the opportunity to not lose touch with the hard reality of the cold!
– Give us please some insight on your next Arctic expedition in 2015 with Alain Hubert (left in below picture, Dixie on the right)?
This is an expedition that will depart from the North Pole at the beginning of April and our azimuth will be the archipelago of Franz Jozef Land. Clearly, this is asking for trouble, as there is less and less ice as you approach this collection of island to the east of Spitsbergen. We will drag kayaks behind us instead of sleds in order to cross extensive areas of open water. We have no solution as of yet to get away from there, but we are working on that. There is a lot of Russian red tape involved, but we have learned the tricks of the trade to deal with those situations as well!
– Where can all Arctic lovers follow you, Eric and your day by day adventure in Greenland ?
There will be a dedicated website www.greenlandice.be
We will, of course, give updates on Twitter and Facebook and Jullie will be writing the blogs & updates.
– Any special message you would like to address to Arctic05/Ice and Green fans ?