"On 12 December 2022 team TWO-INNA-ROW, Darryl & Sean, will embark on their challenge of a lifetime, rowing 3000 miles over the Atlantic ocean between La Gomera, Canary Islands and English Harbour, Antigua. We will be faced with all that mother nature has to offer and we will succeed."
Expedition Foods caught up with Darryl to discuss race preparation and planning.
Darryl Thole (DT): TWO-INNA-ROW are two distant relatives who met accidentally and became friends as well as family. Both South African born, we met up in the UK only to find out that we were actually cousins. Fifteen years later we have taken on the world's toughest ocean row.
EF: Tell us a bit about the row: Where will you go? How far is it?
DT: The row that we have undertaken is a 3000-mile east-to-west Atlantic row from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean.
EF: What made you sign up for TWAC22?
DT: I have been a long sufferer of back issues which leave me in constant pain. There is no medication that I am able to take to help alleviate the pain and as such I have had to build up a mental resilience to it. This strong mental attitude towards the pain and a habitual positivity have helped me get through some incredibly difficult times and has led me to challenge myself to do things. This is a way of proving to myself that I am capable but also to other people that pain doesn't have to get you down. I have a choice.
EF: How long do you expect to be rowing?
DT: We will be at sea for roughly 60 days, rowing 24 hours a day between the two of us.
EF: What will you do if you get bored?
DT: Boredom can be quite a big problem because there is nothing to catch your attention. When we lose sight of the Canary Islands the next time we see land is in two months when Antigua appears over the horizon. In between that there is nothing but blue water and blue sky, so there is nothing to catch your eye or pique your interest. The thing that will get us through is knowing that it is just a short time in our life, and not many people will do what we are doing, so to make the most of every single moment and enjoy them. On top there is music... A lot of music.
EF: Will you take all of your supplies with you? What will you need?
DT: This will be an unassisted row which means we are not allowed any outside help. We will need to take everything that we could possibly need to complete the journey on the boat with us. We are carrying spare parts for every piece of equipment, and medical supplies and a lot of food.
EF: How many calories will you consume per day and what does your meal plan look like?
DT: We will be taking in just under 6000 calories a day of freeze-dried meals to help sustain energy levels for the crossing. We could end up burning anywhere up to 10,000 calories a day depending on the amount of effort we're putting in and the conditions. I have chosen to have four main meals a day with Expedition Foods being the flavour of choice. I have found that the quality and variety of the Expedition Foods is superior and most importantly they are easy to eat. I also have a snack pack for every day of the row as a way of boosting my calorie intake. The Expedition Foods Chocolate Chip Biscuit Pudding is one of those treats that you really look forward to, so is part of my snack packs as a bit of a 'pick me up' treat.
EF: How do you train for an ocean row?
DT: The training regime is very much split into two areas. There is the physical training, which includes a lot of time on the rowing machine, and a fair amount of strength and endurance training. Coupled with yoga and Pilates for flexibility and core strength, it puts you on a very good track physically. Mentally it's a whole different story. The need to prepare mentally for what you will go through is vitally important, and also a lot more challenging because, having never rowed an ocean before, I have no experience to draw on. Rather, it is the advice and input from other people that you need to use to get your head in the right space.
EF: What have you found the most challenging part of preparing for TWAC22 so far?
DT: The preparations are relentless and all consuming. There are so many elements to juggle and make time for and commitments to various people. There truly aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. It takes a lot more effort than you think it will.
EF: Do you have any advice for aspiring ocean rowers?