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 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 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!

Day 9 – Sherwood Forest

Ride stats today

  • Leeds to Nottingham
  • 75 miles
  • 1800 feet climbed
  • 1000 sheep. Some cows. 63 pigs.
  • 2 nuclear reactors

Our route took us through Sherwood Forest, which was fun for me. It’s hard not to feel like a kid again riding through Sherwood Forest into Nottingham!

Today was a pretty nice day.  It’s a shame that as we come further south our surroundings are less desolate and the roadways are much more populated.  As a result, we spend more time concentrating and less time enjoying our environment.  Weather today was beautiful.  Winds were calm most of the day, and there was only a 15 minute patch of rain that we unintentionally but fortunately avoided on our lunch break.

To say these last 3 days have been tough would be an understatement.  Mentally, there were a lot of obstacles to overcome.  Physically the back-to-back-to-back days of punishing terrain and distance were difficult.  I can’t tell you how many times over the past several months, I’ve cursed the name of Mike Kuhn, our coach (another link) as I opened the dreaded email that laid out the workout for the day.  “Tell me again why I’m riding 6 hrs today  I just did 4 yesterday.”  Today it’s clear.  This guy isn’t just a sadist. He had a method to his madness.  It was good to finish this segment of the ride and still feel pretty strong (and injury free!)

Tomorrow we’ll rest up and take care of some minor aches and pains and then it’s on to Cambridge.

Vetta VL110HRA shout-out to Vetta, especially our friend Kin-Joe Sham, Marketing Manager. Vetta makes cycling computers and tools for our bicycles. The cycling computers kept our cadence on steady and the tools kept our bikes moving. Check out this video of us using their tool to compact tool on the road.

A second shout-out to Best Western Westminster in Nottingham, especially their manager Phil Rea who made us feel so at home. The hotel had a lovely sitting room and the best restaurant service we had during our entire trip. Nothing is better after a long ride than a hot bowl of soup and a funny and doting wait staff. 312 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire NG5 2EF, +44-115-9555000

Day 4 – More fun in the Highlands

Ride stats today

  • Banchory to Perth
  • 68 miles
  • 2500 feet climbed
  • 1 broken pedal
  • 2000 sheep

Most bikes have 2 pedals.  Today, Adam decided to up-the-ante and biked with only pedal for two-thirds of the ride.  I think he did it deliberately to make me look like a sissy.  He submits that his pedal broke and that he had no choice.  Nevertheless, it was Adam who was the first of us to squirt up most of today’s many Highland hills, using mostly one foot. Tomorrow we bike to Edinburgh, home to the first medical school in the world and a city so green I call it the emerald city. I can’t wait! Check us out tomorrow, we’ll have lots of pictures for sure.

Julbo USAA shout-out to Julbo, especially Nick Yardley, President of Julbo USA. Julbo makes sunglasses for both summits and streets. Neal wore Julbo goggles on the summit of Everest and Julbo sunglasses during our bike rides. The wrap coverage avoids the problem of looking through the frames when looking for a high-altitude icy foothold or a bump in the Scottish road.

Best Western Queens Hotel PerthAnother shout-out for the Best Western Queens Hotel in Perth, especially Mike Sheffield who made us feel so at home. The hotel was host to a wedding tonight and and they had the place dazzling. The breakfast bar was wonderful, and it even has a pool!