The Other Kind Of Endurance Racing, Or Super Long Travel With An Infant (Aka Operation Motherland)
My last ultra endurance race (aka getting from Canada to Russia with a baby) wrapped up last week after twenty four hours in transit, three airplanes one way, and twelve hours time difference. Extra weight of a nine month old infant. Gear – stroller, car seat, carry on bag. Crew – mom.
Two things made the journey super long – 1. there is no direct flight from Toronto to Moscow, and 2. we are not from Moscow. Thus, three flights were as follows:
Operation Motherland – Leg 1:
Toronto –> Warsaw
Flight duration: 8.5 hours
This was the longest flight of the three, and, to be honest, did not suck significantly more than a regular long overnight flight. [I think overnight flights were specifically designed to torture people. Because sleep deprivation IS a form of torture, and what better way to up the ante, than to carry out said torture in a flying machine NOT meant for any sort of horizontal positioning.]
We were at the airport with time to spare, so I even had time to hunt for extra salty shitty chicken soup, while the kid played on the carpeted floor with the plastic utensils. On the plane we enjoyed the entire row to ourselves with extra leg room, and few hours in, the flight attendants installed a baby bassinet – a contraption that looks like a mummy sarcophagus. Baby T barely fit, but she did get a bit of snooze time in there, and I think I even managed to catch a bit of sleep.
Operation Motherland – Leg 2:
Warsaw –> Moscow
Layover in the airport: 4 hours
Flight duration: 2.25 hours
The most painless flight – both because it was the shortest, AND because the babe slept through most of it, then cooed for the remainder. This is the kind of air travel with a baby I do not mind. By this time in the journey, I was seriously regretting not getting my food prep game on, and bringing our own meals (wraps, snacks go through security without issues and sit in the stomach oh-so-much-better than the endless supply of pretzels, and chocolate bars).
Operation Motherland – Leg 3:
Moscow –> Novokuznetsk
Layover in the airport: 3 hours
Flight duration: 4.5 hours
In retrospect, it would have been nice to stop in Moscow for a night or two. One more flight is not just one more flight. It’s 4.5 hours of flight + 3 hours of layover + waiting for luggage at your final destination + driving to wherever it is you are actually staying.
By the time we got on a plane, the baby was exhausted, as she has not slept for more than couple of hours in a row, so it was quite meltdowny in our row. The guy sitting next to us stared straight ahead for the entire flight, trying to ignore the pandemonium of clean and dirty diapers, plastic ducks, rice snacks, water bottles and swaddles happening few inches away. I felt quite bad for him.
All in all, this has gone better than expected (mostly because I expected hell). I get to do this all over again in reverse order in about three weeks.