Day 25 – Back on the saddle

Ride stats today

  • 80 miles
  • Ingelmunster, Belgium to Fin, France
  • Gorgeous countryside, 15 mph headwind
  • 4 baguettes in rear pockets, 3 weddings, 7 barets

Holy smokes was it blowing out there today, but we pushed through. The French countryside was gorgeous, which made it easier. We started in Belgium and crossed the border into France during our ride. Belgium was industrial. France was filled with agrarian villages … and WEDDINGS.

Just by chance, we got to be a part of three French wedding motorcades. The cars were decorated and driving the same speed as we were biking. Everyone was happy and honking. We said “Bonjour” with our best frenchy accents. It was awesome.

Here are some pictures from the day. Time for us to rest up now, tomorrow is a 130 mile day.

Zipp Speed WeaponryThis blog post is dedicated to our friends at Zipp Speed Weaponry, especially our friend Greg Kopecky, Sponsorship Coordinator. Our bicycles have a 808 rear wheel, and 404 front wheel. This configuration is becoming the sine qua non for triathletes worldwide. The aerodynamic dimples in the carbon rim are the same as golf balls and race cars.

Hotel Les Beaux ArtsA shout-out to Best Western Hotel Les Beaux Arts in downtown Compiegne, France. Special thanks to managers Talvay and Ouidade for making us feel so at home. The rooms were the biggest we’ve had yet and the location was right along our route and on the river. Best Western Hotel Les Beaux Arts. +33 3 44922626. 33 Cours Guynemer, Compiègne, France.

Day 24 – Back on the bikes

We put our bike shoes on today for a short and fast (20 miles) warm-up ride from Dover to Canterbury. Tomorrow and the next day we have back-to-back 100-mile rides through France. We are going to France to begin the final leg of 10 Degrees Latitude. The remaining portion is a bike from Calais to Paris. Once we finish this we will have traversed 10 Degrees of Latitude under human power.

[UPDATE] We took the ferry to France. It took around 2 hours. During the whole trip I just gazed out the window. I could not believe how wide and rough the channel looked. It still doesn’t seem real to either of us that we swam that huge distance just two days ago.

Best Western Hotel Du ParcA shout-out to Best Western Hotel Du Parc and Celine Delaplace who did so much to make us feel at home. This hotel has gorgeous grounds, a sunny outdoor pool, and a top-notch restaurant. We recommend the ostrich, it’s delic.

Day 23 – Channel Day Moments

We swam the channel yesterday.  Today is a planned day to rest, recoop and reenergize. We still have 200 more miles to bike to get to Paris — which will start day after tomorrow.

Some stats about our swim:

  • Dover, UK to Calais, France
  • 14 hours 23 minutes
  • 21 miles
  • Water temp 60F
  • In terms of nutrition… We each fed once every 30 minutes in the water on GU Roctane and GU20 using the Gu-Bot bottle. The bottle held 2 GU packets in a separate chamber from the warmed GU hydration. We ate 2 packets and 12 ounces of warm water during each feeding.
  • Seas were pretty rough at times
  • Our pilot on channel day was David Whyte. Seriously folks, he’s the best in the business and has piloted over 350 successful channel swims. 350!!! His support was phenomenal. His thoughts we only on the swimmers — and his hand-picked crew helped our crew huge. His boat is one of the largest in the fleet. I remember late during the swim when he turned around and shouted encouragement to me in the water at the top of his lungs, flinging his arms in celebration. He was wonderful. It’s a pity he’s retiring this year — but we hear he’s trained an awesome successor in Chris Osmond.

Check out these videos and photographs:

Predator goggleA shout-out to Skyline Goggles, especially our friend Rick Runckel, President. Neal used the Predator goggles (pictured) during his crossing. These goggles are built for open water swimming — they have a huge viewing angle and don’t hurt eye sockets during swims, whether those swims are 1 hour or 14 hours.

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 21 – 8th training swim in Dover

Got word again from our pilot that tomorrow is our Channel Swim Day. We will start at 6AM from English sand and swim till we hit sand (i.e. France).  It will take us 14 hours or so. Wish us luck.

The below picture is a view near our sandy starting point in Dover. The videos are taken from the hilltop shoreline of Dover, looking out across the channel toward Calais, France.

Day 20 – Shoutout & 7th training swim in Dover

Adam and I are seriously ready to swim — and the weather has us land-locked. We talked to our awesome pilot boat captain today and Wednesday (7/16) seems like our day. One of the big challenges of swimming the English Channel is having the patience to wait for the perfect weather day.

In this blog post we wanted to give a SHOUT-OUT to all the folks out there who are reading us:

  • Katie/Holly/Greg/Matt/Marie & all our sponsors who make our adventures possible
  • AlexF/Mark/AmyF/Amber/DavidH/Karah & all our athlete friends
  • Jim/Betty/Karen/Jessie/Isaac/Tom/Chris and the rest of my wonderful family
  • Mark/Tina, Chad/Kylie, Tim/Megan & so many of Adam’s/Amy’s close friends and family
  • Lindy/Ben/Jac/Dan/Anthony/Carla/Jonathan & all our bullish Wharton Friends
  • Paul/Chad/Steve/Bruce/Barney/Richard and the highly valued Powerset gang (now MSFT)
  • Joe/Mike/Maggie/Wendy/Tracy & everyone else in Edina, Minnesota
  • Camile, Isaac/Nicole and so many other of my friends from Chaska, Minnesota
  • Brandon/LateralLine
  • And of course Zoe (with the two dots) who is busily greening our world so 10 Degrees Latitude can continue for centuries more.

Thanks for your support and warm vibes. Stay tuned.