Meet Patrick Sweeney
-40 degrees with 18 hours of darkness: a Winter Hell
How cold is -40? So cold that when you dump a steaming cup of coffee out of the mug it freezes before it hits the ground. You can’t breathe through your mouth because the cold sears your throat and lungs. You learn to breath through your nose. You can’t take gloves or hat or anything off for more than a couple of seconds. Forget touching anything metal your skin will bond to it like superglue. This is just the human, any equipment is apt to fail and fail hard. Lubricants and hydraulics are not just useless, if they are in a machine it will stop functioning as theses normally helpful liquids freeze and seize what ever part they were meant to help.
98 degrees and 100% humidity – the lowest level of Dante’s Inferno
What is 98% and 100% humidity like? As much a challenge as the cold – with a feeling of continual rotting. Skin rots from constant sweat and chaffing, equipment begins to rust and corrode at a rate several times faster than normal conditions. The body needs 3-4x the normal hydration, but since the temperature fosters extensive bacterial and viral growth water and food have to be carefully protected and sterilized.
The World’s Toughest Environments – the workplace of the Navy SEALs
Now imagine any one of those environments and the need to execute a very complex mission with millisecond precision. If that’s not difficult enough – add in a whole bunch of people trying to kill you. That’s the everyday workplace of the Navy SEAL.
A Tribute: Mountain Biking in the Hottest and Coldest Races in the World
Most people never hear about the missions carried out by the stealthy warriors of the Navy SEAL Teams. They happen in some of the most challenging environments in the world – from -40 to in the triple digits. And sadly some of these brave men never make it home to see kids they may have never met, wives that were once high school sweethearts or boys needing to learn how to throw a baseball or what to say to a girl. The brave men who risk their lives every day as part of the special operation community take these risks to protect our freedom and keep the world a safe place for democracy.
When those brave men don’t make it home the government does not do enough to help their families. That’s where the Navy SEAL foundation stepped in. The NSF provide scholarship for children of fallen SEAL team members, help with mortgages or car payments and counseling for the families of our fallen heroes.
Riding through their work place: $50,000 of suffering
Patrick Sweeney is a former Olympic class athlete who has been lucky enough to work with SEAL members over the years and wanted to do some small part to show his gratitude for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. He is going to race a mountain bike through the hottest, toughest, most challenging conditions in the world and then head off to the coldest harshest most unforgiving spot to compete again. Two of the most difficult mountain bike races in an effort to raise $50,000 for the Navy SEAL foundation. You can help by making a small donation toward Sweeney’s quest today:
The two toughest races in the world – where and how long
The first part of this fund raising effort is a race from one coast of Costa Rica through the jungle, over volcanoes and race to the other coast. Three days of the hottest, most humid and dangerous riding that can be found on a mountain bike. There are many river crossings of water populated by aggressive crocodiles, poisonous snakes and dangerous currents, in addition the route uses railroad trestles that are hundreds of feet in the air with no railings or support structure.
The second part is a race across Alaska in the dead of winter. Normally a race reserved for Eskimos and their hearty dog sled teams, the riders of the Iditarod Trail Invitational will be self-sustaining for up to a week in the cold hundreds of miles from civilization and doing everything in their power to make it to the other side.
The two races La Ruta de Los Conquistadores and the Iditarod Trail Invitational epitomize incredibly difficult and harsh conditions that Navy SEAL operate within, day in and day out. The difference is Sweeney will be doing it as a one time challenge and with any luck no one will be shooting at him.
Donate today and follow the progress
You can make a tax deductible donation to the Navy SEAL foundation today by supporting Patrick Sweeney’s efforts.
As Sweeney embarks upon this epic journey updates will be posted via social media on Facebook – and Twitter from his support staff. You can follow him on Twitter at: @PJSweeney and Facebook SEALFoundationMTB.