What is the Arch to Arc?

The Arch to Arc is a mega-triathlon from Marble Arch in London to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It involves an 87 mile ultra-marathon run from London to Dover, a 21mile swim across the English Channel and then a 181mile bike ride from Calais to Paris. When it is raced in a relay format it is classically done by 6 individuals doing an hour of exercise and then 5 hours off. Vickie and I will be the first 2 person team to attempt the Arch to Arc and we intend to break the 40hour barrier which will challenge some of the fastest 6-person relay teams. To make it even more unique Vickie will do the entire 87mile run, I will do the Channel swim and we will relay the bike ride (got to play to our strengths, plus I don't like running).

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Wetsuits - getting to the rub of it.

In 2009 I swam the channel in accordance with channel swimming rules - one pair of bathers, one swim cap (non-neoprene) and one pair of goggles. This year's Arch to Arc swim is a 'wetsuit allowed' swim which means, if successful, I will be one of the very few people that will have swum the English Channel both with and without a wetsuit. On the one hand it is this wetsuit assistance that convinced me that swimming the channel was worth doing again - my previous swim was memorable for how miserable I found it, how bitterly cold and sick I got and I swore at the end I would never ever contemplate a repeat effort. On the other hand I have never really got on with swimming in a wetsuit. I find them physically restrictive, uncomfortable and I invariably end up with a nasty wetsuit rub around the neck. It is this last issue that has weighed on my mind recently. The sort of rub that I have had in the past from a 2 hour fresh-water swim is potentially nothing compared to what I may suffer after 9-10hours in salt water. The advice I have received is to lather on the vaseline and lubricants and hope for the best. Next weekend I plan to do a long swim in Dover harbour so I will take my supply of "channel grease" with me (lanolin + vaseline) and see if I can overcome the wetsuit  rash after 6 hours of sea swimming, if it works well then great, if not it'll be back to the drawing board and a week of looking like I have some sort of S&M fetish pastime (which is probably as equally socially unacceptable as trying to swim the channel in a wetsuit).

Classic wetsuit rub on my neck 

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