World in a Day

Lockdown is a real problem for training. There’s the obvious lack of opportunity to train as a crew, but the bigger issue (at least for me) is trying to maintain the motivation to jump onto that ergo and row. Clive, Dunc, Ross and I all compete on the Scottish Coastal Rowing circuit and we, like many others, are staring down the barrel of an entire season going by without ever stepping into a boat. It’s not good for your head.

Dunc messaged the group to say he’d found a lockdown ergo challenge for us to do and we signed up immediately. Anything that breaks from the current norms and gives you a challenge to get your teeth into has got to be good!

World in a Day is the brainchild of Mark Beaumont, cyclist and adventurer extraordinaire, who wanted to recreate his epic Round the World record by covering the 240 miles that he’d cycled each day during that challenge, but this time on his turbo trainer. His aim was to get another 79 cyclists to do the same so that between them they could cycle the whole world in one, very sweaty, day.

The first session, hosted on a massive live Zoom call last Thursday, was a great success and on the back of that John Davidson (of Mad Giraffe Atlantic Rowing) decided to get in on the action and recruit 150 rowers to help him cross the Atlantic in one day. It meant rowing 20 miles or 32k each which would easily be the longest any of our crew has ever sat continuously on an ergo.

What a fantastic day! The online peloton (Zoom chat) meant you could see and chat to the other rowers and cyclists taking part, and periodically Mark brought on special guests to be interviewed, including Jamie Maclean of the Broar brothers who rowed Talisker last year and Laura Penhaul of the Coxless Crew (their documentary Losing Sight of Shore is on Netflix) who rowed the Pacific in 2015.

There was no competition mentality and since it wasn’t a distance any of us had tried before it was quite relaxing to just find a rhythm and stick to it. The other guys all had childcare and homeschooling to deal with, so split the distance into manageable chunks, but I had decided to do it in one go, reasoning that I might not want to get back on again if I stopped! I started fairly conservatively to make sure I didn’t blow but by the end had found my stride and was ticking along very nicely. I finished in 2 hours and 15 mins and had a little trouble standing up after the finish, and my crew mates all put in big finishes for their last sessions. The video below is of our post challenge reactions. We’re all in surprisingly good form, which probably explains why we’re going to do it again next Thursday!