Nothing can prepare you to row an ocean – but…

But you STILL have to prepare!

And preparation takes time. That’s why with 417 days before the start of the 2019 Atlantic Challenge, today I began training with the elite rowing coach, Lauren Rubini of CrossFit Roots.

In our first hour, Lauren corrected two movements in my stroke. This feedback is critical to become as efficient as possible, since during the race, I’ll row 2 marathons a day for 2 months.

I’ll work with Lauren each Saturday to improve my technique and will also participate in CrossFit Roots’ annual 100km Erg Challenge from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day.

This week is a landmark for second reason: It’s exactly two years since I attended theĀ Ocean Film Festival in London, where Sarah Outen and Justine Curgenven’s film “Kayaking the Aleutians” inspired me to imagine myself rowing an ocean.

Sarah made a small, passing comment that seized my attention. She explained that the rowboat she used on the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans would self-right if capsized, but kayaks do not. I think she meant to imply that kayaking the Aleutians was insanely difficult – but with some optimistic zeal, I interpreted her statement to mean that ocean rowing is something a novice can learn to do. Turns out, I was right.

That’s the magical paradox of ocean rowing: nothing can prepare you for the challenge – it’s too unique – which means there’s nothing holding you back but yourself.

Fast forward two years, and here we are: growing the United World Challenge. Learning to prepare for an experience that’s almost impossible to comprehend before doing it. Preparing as best I can, one day at a time.


Trailer of the film that inspired the United World Challenge

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