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Ice queen claims world first in South Pole cycle

Maria Leijerstam beat two male rivals in the race to claim a world first. Credit: Ryan Edy

An adventurer from the Vale of Glamorgan has achieved a world first by cycling to the South Pole from the edge of the continent in just 10 days. Maria Leijerstam managed the feat this Friday morning following a gruelling 500 mile ride in "vicious" conditions.

The 35-year-old set off from the Novo Russian air force base on December 16 and went head to head against two other male riders. Her team said at one point the sweat on the inside of her boots froze and she heated her freeze-dried food by melting snow on a small stove inside her wind blasted tent.

Maria described the Antartica as vicious but beautiful in her winning journey. Credit: Ryan Edy

However, the former management consultant dug deep and pedalled her way into the record books while on a customised recumbent bike PolarCycle. Ms Leijerstam's mother Adrianne said her daughter's success was due to "meticulous planning, super fitness and pure determination".

Before setting out on her journey the extreme cyclist said: "I've had to get my body prepared for burning fat and not carbohydrates, so I've been training for two to three hours on an empty stomach which teaches my body to become more efficient."

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South Pole cycle record within sight

Maria Leijerstam is hoping to become the first person in the world to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of Antarctica. Credit: Ryan Edy

It's Christmas Day but for Maria it means another hard day of cycling.

She's cycled 81km per day. On a continent where it never gets dark she has spent as little time as possible sleeping and maximum time she can cycling.

Maria is determined to reach the South Pole within the next three days.

In her blog yesterday she described the Antartica as vicious but beautiful.

You can follow Maria's journey here.

Welsh adventurer leads in South Pole cycle title

Maria is hoping to become the first person in the world to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of Antarctica. Credit: Ryan Edy

Welsh adventurer Maria Leijerstam is well ahead of her two male rivals in the race to claim a world first cycle title this Christmas.

Although Maria, 35, from the Vale of Glamorgan started days later and took a different route to the South Pole from the edge of the continent, her average of 40 km per day is putting her well in the running for a first.

Maria battling temperatures of up to minus 40 degrees celcius Credit: Ryan Edy

With over 45kg of food and fuel, Maria started her journey started on 17th December.

After the first 80km she spent two days cycling up the Leverett glacier against very strong wind.

Fresh snow is making the task difficult and increasing the drag but she is continuing to travel 40-60 km per day.

She will spend both Christmas day and New Years day cycling in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees with the aim of reaching the South Pole by 7th January 2014.

You can follow Maria's journey here.

Adventurer sets sights on South Pole cycling record

An adventurer from Wales has set off on her latest dare devil trip which could see her achieve a world first. Maria Leijerstam from the Vale of Glamorgan is hoping to become the first person in the world to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of Antarctica.

She will spend Christmas day and New Year's day on a specially designed bike in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees as Kevin Ashford reports.

Welsh adventurer prepares for South Pole cycle

Maria Leijerstam hopes to be the first person in the world to cycle to the South Pole Credit: Ryan Edy

Adventurer Maria Leijerstam, 35, is heading out to Antarctica in an attempt to become the first person in the world to cycle to the South Pole from the edge of the continent.

She will spend both Christmas day and New Years day cycling in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees with the aim of reaching the South Pole by January 7 2014.

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World Record attempts underway in Llandudno

The team get stuck in to the first challenge - eating chocolates Credit: ITV News/Rob Shelley

A team of six people are hoping to break four world records in one day in a bid to raise awareness of charity Blind Veterans UK. Among the challenges facing the team, which includes members of the charity, are scoffing chocolates, bobbing for apples, peeling carrots and slicing cucumbers.

Here are the record they're hoping to beat:

  • Eating 15 chocolates: current record is 3mins 59 seconds

  • Most carrots peeled in a minute: current record 591grammes,

  • Fastest time take to slice a cucumber into 264 pieces: currently 13.4 seconds,

  • Most apples bobbed in three minutes by a six-person team: current record 361.

One of the team, Billy Baxter, is no stranger to world records. Billy, a former British Army Staff Sergeant who lost his sight after contracting a virus whilst exhuming bodies in Bosnia in 1997, already holds a a world motorbike speed record.

The event is taking place at the Blind Veterans UK's rehabilitation and training centre in Llandudno.

Ellie Simmonds breaks world record

Ellie Simmonds is a paralympic gold medalist Credit: ITV News Wales

Swansea's Ellie Simmonds, 17, has become the first person to break a world record at London's Aquatics Centre in the 200 metre individual medley.

The Double Paralympic Champion finished in a time of three minutes 8.14 seconds.This means she has beaten her previous best time by over half a second.