Saddle Sand Sea is a series of the world’s toughest endurance events that we put together ourselves. Once we have finished we will be the first people to have completed all three events. The events are:
Saddle – Race Across Europe (August 2015) – “Toughest non-stop cycling event in the world” – A 2933 mile cycle race to be completed within 13 days
We in fact completed this in 11 days, 12 hours, 21 minutes and 4 seconds, winning the pairs category and setting the pairs record.
Sand – Marathon des Sables (April 2016) – “The toughest footrace on earth” – Six day ultra-marathon covering 257km in the Sahara desert
Sea – Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge (December 2017) – “The World’s Toughest Row” – 3000 nautical mile rowing race across the Atlantic Ocean
Who is going on the journey and how did you put the team together?
It is Paddy Montgomery and Seamus Crawford.
We are two friends who went to university together and had always discussed doing a big challenge together. Then following a few years living in London we decided after a few drinks that it would be a great idea to Row the Atlantic together in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. We then thought if we going to do that, why not combine it with some other awesome challenges and Saddle Sand Sea came to life
Why are you undertaking this challenge?
Two main reasons. The first was to push ourselves and get outside of our comfort zones. It safe to say we got a bit lazy when we eventually moved to London after university so the idea of doing all these amazing challenges got us super excited (and terrified but in a good way)
Secondly for two amazing charities we wanted to raise money for:
– The Prostate Project: A charity supporting ground-breaking research and treatment of prostate cancer
– Shooting Stare Chase: A children’s hospice charity caring for babies, children and young people with terminal illnesses, and their families
How many days training have you completed and what has been the biggest challenge?
Very good question. A lot. Having been training for these three events over the course of the last three years, has meant a lot of time in the gym and out there on our bikes, feet and the boat.
Having spoken to a number of people about endurance events shortly after we signed up, they all said getting to the start line of anything like the challenges we signed up for is almost the hardest part. There is an unbelievable amount of training you need to do, but also the admin side of things, making sure you have all the relevant qualifications, kit, medical screens etc..
It has been a challenge to get to the start line of each, but is almost part of the journey and even thought is seriously tough at times, means you enjoy the challenge a bit more, as you are out there on the adventure!
What types of food and drink will you be taking on the journey?
For the row, food is key! Not only will it fuel us as we row 3,000 miles, but also is a key morale booster, so is something we have spent a lot of time thinking about.
In total we each need in the region of 6,000 calories every day, so we need to eat a lot. A large part of our calories will come from freeze dried meals, but we need to supplement this with snacks, to varying things up.
Things such as Jerky/Biltong are great as they are super tasty and high in protein. Another great aspect of it, is that it is really light and doesn’t need to refrigerated, so is a great snack to take on long expeditions, Pork scratchings will also be another great source of calories and definitely keep morale up on board our boat
How will you manage eating, sleeping and rowing with just the two of you?
Is a fairly brutal existence whilst we are out there. The typical routine will consist of 2 hours on, 2 hours off. So whilst one of us is rowing the other will be resting. 2 hours is not long at all though, especially with all the various day to day tasks we need to be doing. Aside from keeping ourselves clean which is key, we also need to be analysing the weather to ensure we remain on the fastest course, check in with the race organisers, update our blogs etc… so will be hard to get sleep
However having already completed the Race Across Europe where we cycled four hours on fours hours off, we have a good understanding of the struggles we will face and how to try and combat these.
Finally, what are you looking forward to most on the journey?
There are a number of aspects of it. I think the feeling once we have lost sight of shore will be exhilarating and terrifying all together, but something we look forward to. I am also really looking forward to seeing some truly breath taking sun sets and sunrises.
Overall is going to be an amazing journey and having talked and thought about it for so long, just being out there taking on the challenge will be awesome