Sunday, 26 August 2012

Fuelling up

Behaving like a seal makes you eligible to be fed like one too... but this is a bit more scientific than a bucket of dead hake every day.

Wayne will be using a massive amount of energy over the duration of the swim. He will obtain this from two sources: his stored body fat (yes, he was for a stage really referred to as “fat boy Soutter”!) and the nutrients he takes in during the swim. Oh, yes, and even though he is in near-freezing water, he is dehydrating, so taking in copious fluids is just as important to avoid hitting the ‘wall’.

He will be ‘fed’ by his zookeepers on the boat every half an hour. This will include 250ml of water, as hot as he can take it to bring up his core temperature, mixed with two energy supplements - SIS Go fuel (which has some taste, but ironically for someone stroking through the freezing Irish Sea, he goes for ‘tropical’ flavour), and is packed with carbohydrate, and Maxim, which is tasteless but packed with power too.

Every one and a half hours, he stops for a snack too, either half a banana or the innocuously named ‘porridge’, which we believe he found in a long-lost annexure to Lance Armstrong’s memoir. No, actually, it’s simply porridge - something to fill the belly.

And there’s another thing: given the severely strict rules of solo open water crossings, in true seal fashion this stuff is literally tossed to him, so there is no physical contact with him at any time.

And so it goes, until that hand strikes land... and be rest assured there will be a beef and guinness pie and a pint of Ballycastle's finest on order.

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Wayne likes pork pies and Guinness. He likes routine and predictability. He loves his family. He's 40+, short(ish), balding and battling with waistline expansion. He's been known to occasionally play a good round of golf, likes to tinker with 'stuff' and has rescued a group of friends from the African wild by fixing a Land Rover with a jellybaby.

He's never been a great fan of physical exertion. In short (apart from the jellybaby incident), Wayne is an ordinary person. And he's about to do something really amazingly, astoundingly and astonishingly extra-ordinary. He's going to swim the the treacherous, never-been-swum-before channel between Kintyre (Scotland) and Ballycastle (Ireland). For charity. This is his story.