Parkite Rob Lea Reflects On Final Leg Of His World Triathlon
Earlier this month Park City resident Rob Lea completed the third leg of his world triathlon by riding his bicycle into the Atlantic Ocean.
Rob Lea finished his ride across the United States and his world triathlon on October 7th. Earlier in 2019, Lea climbed Mt. Everest with his then fiancé and swam across the English Channel becoming the first person to complete all three challenges in the same year. He did all that and got married to his wife Caroline Gleich in a six-month period.
The ride across the US took 39 days. Lea assumed it would be an easier portion of the triathlon, but weight put on for swimming the channel and lack of training made it more difficult than anticipated.
“Gosh I think it was probably just how relentless it was,” Lea explained. “It was everyday waking up an hour before sunrise and getting on the road pretty much at sunrise. Knowing that I was going to be on the bike most of the day. I rode about 100 miles every day. I think my longest days were little over 130 miles, but when you add in stops for refueling and to get more liquid's and even to go to the bathroom and then maybe a lunch stop I was basically on the bike typically seven to probably nine or ten hours a day. So, it was just relentless. The other thing I would say is that the saddle sores were pretty bad and it was hard to get on the bike and be excited to be getting on the bike when it's not comfortable to be on the bike. At this point I would probably say the bike was the hardest. That's probably because it's the freshest in my mind, maybe over time that answer will change a little bit.”
Lea had support from his wife Caroline during the early and late stages of the ride and from his mother during the middle portion. He also had help from a series of music playlists, podcasts and books. Lea said difficult parts included nearly crashing on the second day and navigating traffic in Newark. He said he wished he had more time to spend in nearly every place he rode through.
“There was a lot of places that I went that I would not have seen if I was in a car,” Lea continued. “Even just driving back on the Interstate was like a completely different experience, I think that goes without saying. I went through a lot of small towns and saw some things that I thought were pretty cool. I would say that when I was in some of these places, I thought OK I can see why someone who lives here would have pride in this place and would want to live here. That's not necessary to say that I would go back to all these places, but there's a lot of really great places that I rode through.”
Lea says he hasn’t been on a bike since and just recently went on his first swim three months after he swam the length of the English Channel. Part of the purpose of completing the triathlon was to raise awareness around gender equality issues, Lea hopes to continue those conversations. He says his next plan is to simply adjust to everyday life.
“It certainly feels good to sleep in the same bed, in my own bed,” Lea said. “Every night on the bike ride I was in a different motel or hotel and so it feels really good to be home. I'm probably going to do a lot of home projects probably replace the poles on my kitchen cabinets. There're always ideas out there that I'm looking to do, and I hope to go on some more adventures, but right now I'm just kind of trying to reflect on it and just enjoy it. Actually, probably the first thing I need to think about is taking Caroline on a honeymoon. We’ll probably just go to the beach somewhere, but I'd really love to go somewhere like Antarctica. I don't know that she wants to go there for our honeymoon, but we really want to go to Vinson Massif the highest mountain in Antarctica and ski that. So, whether that happens now or probably in a year or two or something like that if we can raise the funds that's kind of an expensive one there with the flights but would love to go down to Antarctica.”