After climbing Mount Everest and swimming the English Channel, Parkite Rob Lea is setting off on the third and final stage of his World Triathlon. He will be bicycling across the United States.
Lea has had a busy year, ascending the world’s tallest mountain, swimming the Channel and putting up with jellyfish stings and the effects of saltwater, and even finding the time to recently marry his fiancé Caroline Gleich, who accompanied him on his first two ventures.
Speaking last week with KPCW he said he’s seen changes in his weight.
“Dropped about 20 pounds on Everest, and then put 30 pounds on for the swim,” Lea explained. “I’ve dropped probably about seven or eight pounds since then, but I know that I’m going to drop a ton of weight on the bike. I just won’t get enough calories in. I wouldn’t be surprised if I drop another 20 or 30 pounds on the bike.
His goal is to cover 4,200 miles across the country in a month—or about 133 miles a day.
As a lover of the mountains, his route from the Northwest will follow the Cascades, over Glacier National Park, from cornfields to Manhattan and will finish up at Nantucket.
Lea said he will be alone for most of the trip, and there really are no rules, compared to his previous ventures. He said he will travel light. Except for some spots where he can stay with friends or relatives, he’s traveling motel to motel.
“Then I can kind of roll my bike into a motel, jump into a shower with basically all my bike kit on, wash off, let that dry, have on change of clothes, go grab dinner, and then do it all over again the next day,” Lea said.
He says he won’t have anyone following him.
“Caroline will be with me the first week, and then, I kind of I’m looking forward to being on my own on this,” Lea continued. “On Everest, obviously got a whole team you’re working with. On the swim, I had the boat pilot and Caroline and another crew member really taking care of me. I’m kind of looking forward to some time to just be out on the open road, and kind of reflect on this whole year. It’s been a big year.”
He said he’s staying off the Interstate and will travel on a specialized bike, the Diverge, suited for gravel roads.
Both Lea and Gleich are socially aware. While he’s on the road, Gleich will be in Washington D.C. lobby on climate change issues.
Lea said all of his adventures are part of a campaign called Tri for equality, which aims to raise awareness about implicit gender bias.
He gave a personal example, when he and Gleich went out into the backcountry.
“I’ve done very little. Caroline was a professional skier at this point. When we first met, we started backcountry skiing and we’d go out into the mountains,” Lea explained. “Everyone assumed that I was a guide, or I was guiding her, or I was taking her along for the backcountry ski where, it was really the other way around. That’s the implicit bias I’m talking about. People would in the mountains come approach me and ask me what we were doing, or who I was with, you brought somebody with you here.”