Which 10DL will be the hardest?


I’ve always thought that Antarctica will be the most physically difficult expedition of all our 7 10DL expeditions. Until now I never had a structured way of thinking about how to measure “difficulty”. From a energy expenditure perspective, Antarctica will be the hardest. Here’s how I performed my calculations. 

1. The first step is to breakdown the activities of 10DL. The 10 Degrees Latitude is an expedition series that consists of 5 sports. Those being:

  • Cycling 
  • Open water swimming
  • Kite assisted skiing cross country
  • Hiking cross country
  • Kayaking

2. The second step is to assume that calorie count is a proxy for “effort”. It’s possible to make a caloric estimate for each expedition assuming the athlete is 190 pounds and that each activity consumes a predictable amount of calories per hour at high exertion. Using this method we can figure out which of the 10DL expeditions is “hardest”, by virtue of the caloric expenditure required to complete it. The source for the calorie count information is here.

3. The third and last step is to type all this into Excel. The results show that the caloric expenditure ranges from the lowest of 57,500 calories in 10DL Australia to 138,000 calories in 10DL Antarctica. It’s not surprising that Antarctica is one of the hardest, and that calorie estimate doesn’t even take into the account the cold temperature, which will consume even more calories as our bodies try to keep warm. Below is the model I used.


The mental side of the “difficulty” equation is much more difficult to measure. I don’t have a measure for that.

Swimming in the Ocean at Night

Last night I swam in black glass. We jumped into the San Francisco Bay ocean water after dark. It was so darn peaceful as the light of the Ghirardelli Chocholate Factory shone across the black glassy water. These are the nights that can make any workday worth living. It was a wonderful cold water training swim. My buddy Dave joined us for the apres-swim sauna then we all went back to a French place and talked about adventures past and adventures future. These are the days worth remembering.

Adam has been training these days too in Denver, where the temperatures have dropped down at night to the 40s, so I suspect most of his training has been on the Wilier cycles (shameless plug, sorry, but we love these guys).

Hope everyone’s training is going awesome. Take care.

Day 22 – We swam the English Channel

14 hours 23 minutes

We made it! Everyone helped! It was awesome!

It was a gorgeous day for a swim from England to France. The middle map pretty well tells the story of our relay swim across the English Channel. We started the morning off strong on Shakespeare Beach and finished the day cold and weary just as the sun was dipping below the ocean horizon. Aches, pains, cold, and sea sickness took their toll, but they all disappeared as I walked up on the shores of France. Stay tuned for a longer trip log with more color. For now we are working through all these wonderfully supportive emails from loved ones and sponsors. Thanks for your warm vibes, we felt them in the cold channel!

Suunto CoreA shout-out to Suunto, especially our friend Martin Schamboeck, Sports Marketing Manager. Adam swam with a T6 and Neal swam with a Core. Whether we’re defending presidents (as Adam has) or climbing Everest (as Neal has), Suunto is on our wrists. They also have this really cool software that we used during our bike rides to chart heart rate, speed and distance.

Day 5 – to Emerald City

Ride stats today

  • Perth to Edinburg
  • 60 miles
  • 3000 feet climbed
  • 1 huge bridge
  • 1500 sheep

Our blog today will come in the form of 3 videos.  We’re too tired to blog.  Short version…Ride today was scheduled to be 40 miles.  Arrived at Edinburgh bridge (5 miles to hotel) at 2 PM.  Arrived at hotel just after 4 PM.  We saw a lot of Edinburgh.  It’s a beautiful city.  I would have rather seen it on foot.

Tomorrow is a rest day in the capital city of Edinburgh.  We’re looking forward to it.

Bellwether Clothing LineA shout-out to Bellwether Clothing Line, especially the awesome and honest Barry Smith, Marketing Director. The weather here is extremely temperamental. Just today we went from cold (50’s) to rain to warm (70’s). The gear has been fantastic. The chamois technology is layered and padded perfectly (FYI: chamois = butt pad) and the jerseys have awesome finishing touches like rubber gussets on the sleeves and waist to keep it from slipping. It’s gorgeous stuff, and it’s all we wear.

California Dreamin’

park-swim.jpgIt’s coming down to D-day. Less than two weeks! This past weekend, in final preps for our journey, I left the loving comfort of my family and my new Denver home and headed west to the land of fruit and nuts. The San Francisco Bay is a phenomenal training ground for the Channel. The water temps are just a bit colder than the Channel (55 degrees F), so they are a great acclimatization tool. The water conditions in the Aquatic Park did a good job of simulating the prevalent conditions in the Channel as far as chop and currents. Outside of the breakwaters proved quite rough, depending on the time of day. Another benefit of these training grounds is the Dolphin Club. Neal found this open-water-swimming jewel last year, but this was my first time experiencing it. They boast over 1000 members, and the camaraderie and enthusiasm amongst this eclectic group of swimmers is fantastic. They are also a wealth of information for those of us aspiring to swim the English Channel. They have several members who have made the crossing, and a few more that are currently training for it. Special thanks to Amber Rhett and Reuben Hechanova for all of their advice.

I was there for less than 48 hours, and Neal and I spent a good deal of that time training. We got in two decent swims on Saturday, and then we both participated in an open-water “race” put on by the Dolphin Club. We had to check in for the race by 6:00, which meant that the alarm clock went off at about 4:30! We took a boat from the club to the San Francisco Bay bridge, and once dropped off, it was an all-bridge-swim.jpgout sprint back to the club. The front group was ultra-competitive, with the winning swimmer completing the 2 ½ mile course in under 40 minutes (current assisted). Neal wasn’t too far behind at around 45 minutes, and I straggled in about 3-4 minutes after that. Many thanks to all of the volunteers who rowed beside us making this event as safe and as fun as possible.

We took a few minutes to bring our core temperatures back up to human levels, and then bee-lined for the airport. It was a fast and furious weekend, but all-in-all a great time!

English Channel temps rise above 50F, hurray!

The water temp in the English Channel has begun to rise above 50F. This is the natural spring-time tendency of the channel and it’s great news for us swimmers. NOAA shows us water temps, conditions and neat little graphs that I wish had a longer time-scale.

24-hour plot - Wind Direction Wind Direction (WDIR): SSW ( 210 deg true )
24-hour plot - Wind Speed Wind Speed (WSPD): 15.9 kts
24-hour plot - Wave Height Wave Height (WVHT): 3.3 ft
24-hour plot - Air Temperature Air Temperature (ATMP): 50.2 °F
24-hour plot - Water Temperature Water Temperature (WTMP): 50.2 °F
24-hour plot - Wind Chill Wind Chill (CHILL): 44.2 °F

[UPDATE] Another online service provides a color map of sea temperatures.


Special thanks for Mark Robson (fellow blogger and Channel aspirant) for clueing us in on the NOAA website and the color map.