Dan Martin is in adventurer who has set himself a challenge of enormous proportions. His plan is to extend a triathlon into a “Round the World” expedition. Billed as “The single greatest feat of human endurance, ever attempted” Dan Martin will cycle across Europe and Asia, run across North America and swim 5700km across the Atlantic Ocean.
No one has ever swum across the Atlantic before, so that will be no small challenge in itself. His training has so far involved swimming in the English Channel, the North Sea, the Atlantic and Loch Ness
Swimming the Atlantic – it’s impossible
It’s three and a half thousand miles of cold, deep, dangerous water. There are huge waves, massive storm systems, hurricanes, icebergs, strong currents, sharks, poisonous jellyfish and heavy shipping traffic. I have to get into the water day after day for up to four months. It’s simply not possible; some ships can’t even do, let alone a guy with a raggedy beard. Dan Martin
Dan has undertaken two long distance cycling expeditions; from Korea to Cape Town via the Axis of Evil and from London to Cape Town. The total distance covered in these two adventures was 34,175 miles (55,000 kms). Which is a lot for someone who hates riding a bike.
Cycling from London to Cape Town Turned out to be one of the more foolish things I’ve ever done. For starters I hate cycling, and I knew this before I left, I don’t really like foreign food. I don’t like being on my own, I like sleeping in my own bed at home, I don’t like the heat, the list goes on and on. However; I did make it. And now I miss the challenge. I spent 9 months away from the world that I knew and it was tough, but I miss the toughness, I miss not knowing if I’ll make it to the next town by nightfall, I miss not knowing if that town will have food/water/bandits in it. Dan Martin.
Dan has also had an injury in almost all the joints in his body. He has inherited a bad back and is prone to damage playing rugby and drinking beer.
Interview with Dan Martin
Together with our friend, Kraig Becker, at The Adventure Blog we have asked Dan Martin to tell us about himself and the Global Triathlon…
CheapTents: What inspired you to become an adventurer?
Dan Martin: I grew up reading books about Scott, Shackleton, Fiennes and Bonnington but always assumed that they were superhuman and that I’d never be able to attempt what they did. I got into adventures by accident really. I had injured my knee playing rugby in France and was told by the physio that cycling would be a good form of rehab. Then after a few beers with some friends I’d hatched a plan to cycle from London to Cape Town via the Middle East, climbing Mt Blanc and Kilimanjaro on the way. After that I worked in Korea for a year and then cycled from Korea to Cape Town via the Axis of Evil. Once I’d realised that there were no real limits to what I could do then my imagination took hold and I’ve never let it rest since!
CheapTents: What has been the highlight of your adventures so far?
Dan Martin: It’s always tough to pick out just one highlight. Cycling across the Sahara in Northern Sudan on the first trip was pretty special. Crossing Tibet and the Himalayas was one of my favourite physical achievements. Cycling out of Kabul and up over the Salang Pass in Afghanistan and visiting North Korea and Iraq have really changed my opinion on how we perceive these Axis of Evil countries. More recently swimming the length of Loch Ness has been a great highlight as well as swimming up in the Arctic Ocean in Norway was amazing too.
CheapTents: What is you biggest weakness?
Dan Martin: Chocolate. Chocolate and stubbornness.
CheapTents: Your next challenge is the Global Triathlon. What made you decide to take on the epic adventure?
Dan Martin: Over my first two bike rides I’d covered 34000miles in 24 months and cycled through 56 countries but I’d not cycled round the world. That was the main motivation. Whichever way you look at the world there’s always a bit of ocean in the way. The original plan was to row the Atlantic and cycle the rest but when I got back from Korea to Cape Town I got more and more into open water swimming and got the idea of swimming the Atlantic and then the rest of the journey split it’s way pretty nicely into a bike ride and a run. So with all that put together you get the Global Triathlon.
CheapTents: What organisational obstacles have you had to negotiate so far?
Dan Martin: My first two trips I saved up and self funded so all the obstacles were physical and mental. With having to source sponsorship for this trip that has proven to be by far the hardest part. Swimming training for 5-8hours a day in sub ten degree Celsius temperatures is a doddle by comparison!
CheapTents: How will keep motivated swimming three and half thousand miles across the Atlantic?
Dan Martin: Motivation is the key to success on any long journey and staying enthusiastic while swimming an ocean is always going to be tough. Luckily I have a great team around me and I’m pretty stubborn. It’s always motivating to get messages from friends and encouragement from people round the world. Some people listen to waterproof mp3’s but I’ve not found a one that’s comfortable for such long periods of time.
CheapTents: What type of vessels will you rely on for support and how will you cope with bad weather during your swim?
Dan Martin: On the swim we’ll have a ‘mothership’ support sailing yacht where the crew and I will live, eat, sleep and communicate with the outside world. I’ll also have kayak support whilst actually in the water.
CheapTents: What do you think will be your biggest challenges while on the running and cycling legs of the Global Triathlon?
Dan Martin: Cycling through Siberia and eastern Europe in winter presents a lot of challenges! The biggest by far will be the cold but I’d say thinking about wolves, bears and drunken drivers will probably fill my mind up the most! The run leg is a purely physical challenge-it’ll be at the end of nearly a year of gruelling slog and I’ll need my body to adapt to running for up to thirty miles a day. Staying injury free is the big challenge there.
CheapTents: What are you most looking forward to on the Global Triathlon?
Dan Martin: Feeling the sand between my toes after the swim and diving back into the Atlantic after the run!
CheapTents: What are the main charities that the expedition is supporting?
Dan Martin: The expedition will be raising money through online donations and by fundraising en route for two great charities:
Wildhearts is a microfinance charity that has projects around the world-their motto of giving a hand up not a hand out is the way all charities should run.
Velokhaya is an organisation that brings cycling to the masses in Cape Town. Through their mass participation, team and elite programmes they’re having a massive impact in the townships around Cape Town.
CheapTents: What tips can give for people who want to add some adventure into their lives?
Dan Martin: Don’t do it. Stay home. Stay safe. Don’t open Pandora’s Box.
And if those eleven words can put you off then adventure is probably not for you. If that’s not put you off then go for it. Take that first step out your front door. That’s always the hardest one.
CheapTents: What are your favourite bits of gear, and why?
Dan Martin: My bivvy bag and my roll mat. I’m hoping to get an Australian style swag bag. I love being able to sleep under the stars and then wake up in the morning and be gone straight away.
CheapTents: Do you have any sponsors who you’d like to thank?
Dan Martin: I’d like to thank my sponsors Vivo Barefoot, Red Bull, Zoggs and Vaseline.
CheapTents: Many thanks, Dan, for answering our questions and good luck with the Global Triathlon!
More Exciting Adventure Interviews
If you enjoyed this interview, why not read some of our interviews with other adventurers?
- Gareth Jones & Aaron Chervenak – Brazil 9000 expedition
- Alastair Humphreys – Round the World Cyclist and Mircoadventurer
- Tim Moss – Adventurer and Expedition Manager
- Louis-Philippe Loncke – The Versatile Explorer
Photocredits: Dan Martin @DanielMartinAdv