Photos from 10 Degrees Europe

We did it man, and here are the photographs to show you our journey.

Best Western - Travel BlogA shout-out to Best Western, especially Marie Yarroll, Senior Manager of Public Relations. Best Western sponsored 10 Degrees Latitude and asked Neal to contribute content for their newly launched blog called “You Must Be Trippin”. The latest one is Healthy Continental Breakfasting. Give it a read and tell us what you think.

Day 18 – 5th training swim in Dover

Met at Dover Harbor today for the regular weekend CS&PF Swim. There were heaps of swimmers (at least 50) there at 9AM. Adam and I swam for 1 hour in the harbor just to loosen up. We were joined by our families, and after the swim the kids decided to stick their feet in the water. Lots of fun. Adam and I wanted to give another SHOUT-OUT to our support crew again: Michelle, Bob, Amy, Laura, Flora, Tricia, Andrew, Joshua, and Princess Ava. They are always ready with fluffy towels, GU nutrition, hot water, and loving praise. They rock.

Before, during and after the swim we met lots of fellow channel swimmers. We finally put a name to a face with Mark Robson.  We also met some new folks from New Jersey and California — folks I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of during our upcoming North America swims. Some of the folks we met have blogs:

  • Mark Robson (congrats on your 6 hr swim today mate!)
  • Karah Nazor (always nice to see a fellow San Franciscan, good luck tomorrow!)

We are close to GO-TIME here in Dover. Tomorrow there is a chance we’ll swim. Our pilot (Dave Whyte) will call us tonight at 7PM to let us know. So, keep us in your thoughts tonight, hopefully we’ll swim the channel tomorrow.

Here are some pictures that we grafted from other folk’s blogs. Enjoy. Hope you’re all well.

Day 10 – 5 Tips to ensure your bike never slows you down

Today is a scheduled rest day in Nottingham.  We’ve got beautiful weather here and it’s a great little town to enjoy.  Since we don’t have any ride stories from today, I thought I’d share a short article that I came across in Outside Magazine.  Here is a link to the web version of the article.  The original can be found in this year’s “Summer 2008 Buyer’s Guide.”  It’s written by Levi Leipheimer, America’s top cyclist.

An Ounce of Prevention: 5 Tips to ensure your bike never slows you down

1. Never Let Your Tread Wear Out: Replace your tires frequently. With fresher rubber, you’ll have fewer flats and also a better-handling bike.

2. Regularly Inspect Your Tires: Sometimes you’ll come back from a ride with small bits of glass or debris embedded in the outer casing. If you habitually clean this stuff off, it won’t have a chance to work through the tire.

3. Same Goes for Your Chain: Keep it clean and lubed and your bike will shift, and look, better. And if you replace your chain before it gets too worn out, you’ll save the expense of having to fix or replace pricier items like cassettes and chainrings, which suffer increased wear and tear from old chains.

4. Buy a Torque Wrench: Modern bike components are made of expensive materials like carbon and titanium and highly engineered to save weight. But that also means they can be damaged by overtightening. Manufacturers test their products and provide torque recommendations. Make sure you follow them.

5. Find a Good Local Bike Shop and Mechanic, and Be Loyal: The more familiar they become with your bike and your riding style, the more able they’ll be to keep everything working to your liking.

The final tip is one that I can’t emphasize enough.  It’s one of those things that until you experience it, you don’t know how disadvantaged you are.  We’ve mentioned Cadence Cycling on this blog several times. One of my most valuable relationships that has come from 10 Degrees Latitude has been through Cadence.  I have learned more about cycling/multisport from the coaches and staff here than I ever could have imagined.  Cadence has been a great supporter of ours but they’ve given us no money.  Our promotion of them comes out of respect.  I wish every serious athlete could have a top tier bike shop in their area.  Any bike retailer can sell you a bike.  Most of them can even put together a 30 minute bike fit for you.  But in order to make the step from recreational athlete to competitor you absolutely must plug yourself in to a first rate knowledge base. Cadence Cycling squared me away, and put me on a course to ensure a successful event this summer. Here were just a few of my problem areas that I never knew I had:

  1. Bad bike fit
  2. Poor nutrition regimen (racing and training)
  3. Bought products based on price/brand.  Paid little attention to catering to my race needs.

Last but not least — pictures from our rest day in Nottingham. We visited the Nottingham Castle, and the local bike shop Freewheel where the head mechanic rebuilt Neal’s bottom bracket and tightened Adam’s rear cassette. Thanks guys!

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.

Swimming the Schuylkill River


He who wants to find the sea should take a river for his guide.

We are training in the Schuylkill River! We’ve done it 3 of last 4 days. Today we swam for 80 minutes. And after doing those miles we plan to swim more and more. Here’s why we love it…

  • It’s cold. Cold is important for us to acclimatize our bodies. The water temps in the Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River has been 58-64F, which is pretty close to the water temps that we’ll see in the English Channel which is 56-58F. So far the cold is treating us well and only our toes are cold during the swim.
  • It’s beautiful. And a fun change of pace from the pool. Keeping the mind busy lets us forget about our shoulders and biceps.
  • It’s clean. Despite popular belief it’s a very clean river. The Philadelphia Department of Water has a website with daily coliform/bacteria counts, water flow, and water temp. These three together form a proxy for water quality. Nothing instills confidence that the river is safe like that big green banner on the Rivercast website!

The green banner means the water is safe.


From behind the camera the river is idealistically beautiful! Up close there tends to be more duck weed and gunk. But we still like it.