With just two months to go until we usher in a new year, many of us are no doubt looking back at 2019 and thinking about how busy we’ve been. After all, when you pile up all the days spent working, finding a little time to travel and plot our own adventures, and just relaxing a bit along the way, an entire year can go by in a blink. But, no matter how busy your year has been, chances are it hasn’t been quite as active as the one Rob Lea has just gone through. That’s because, over the course of a few short months, he’s not only managed to climb Mt. Everest, he’s also swam across the English Channel, and rode his bike across the U.S. too.
The Adventure Journal has the details on Rob’s very busy year, which also included getting married to pro skier Caroline Gleich too. The couple famously got engaged on the summit of Cho Oyu last autumn when she proposed to him. They managed to somehow find time to plan a wedding around their busy schedules this year, which meant picking a date that didn’t interfere with Rob’s Everest expedition this past spring, nor his attempt to swim the Channel just 43 days later.
His cross-country bike ride was suppose to be the “fun” part of the year, capping what Lea called his “ultimate world triathlon.” As it turns out, that was a more challenging experience than he had expected, particularly as he focused on riding 100 miles (160 km) every day. The mental and physical drain that put on his body, as he rode for 40 straight days, covering 3608 miles (5806 km) and enduring 118,853 feet (36,226 meters) of elevation gain left him feeling incredibly emotional when he reached the Atlantic Coast back on October 8.
The AJ article goes into depth on Lea’s background (a good young athlete who became a great triathlete), how he got started in mountaineering and skiing (his wife!), and how he came up with the idea of climbing Everest and swimming the English Channel in the same year. Apparently, he’s the first to accomplish that feat and he just decided to throw in his long distance bike ride for good measure. In the interview he talks about the most challenging situations he faced along the way, what it means for him to “test” himself, and the most rewarding moments of the entire journey. Rob’s insights into these questions are definitely worth a read for those looking for some inspiration.
This is a pretty impressive “triathlon” for sure. A big salute to Rob on his accomplishment. What did you do this year?