CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - When you think of summer break you may picture swimming, traveling, or barbecuing in the backyard. But for Seven Hills teacher Bryce Carlson, summer break is a time to challenge himself.
Carlson is trading in his running shoes from two oars.
He is no stranger to pushing his body to the extreme. But this time, he will be all alone, in the middle of the ocean, constantly pushing himself toward England. He'll battle weather, waves, and fatigue. And he knows there are many other factors that could keep him from accomplishing his goal.
No stranger to endurance sports, Carlson has done more than 100 marathons, many ultra marathons, ran a 150-mile race in Greece and even spent several months running across America a few years ago. But this summer, he will embark on an adventure no American has ever done.
"l grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan looking out over what seemed like an endless body of water wondering what was out there," he said. "So I think this adventure speaks to me on a number of levels."
From Lake Michigan to the Atlantic Ocean, he will spend 50 to 60 days rowing, all alone, across the northern Atlantic from New Foundland to Penzance in England.
Carlson has never rowed in the Atlantic Ocean but has spent a lot of time on Lake Michigan. He was also a competitive rower in college at the University of Michigan. Now he coaches The Cincinnati Junior Row Club.
He says his passion for the sport has brought him to this point. He knows no matter how prepared he is, there are many uncertainties he will face over the 2,000-mile trip.
Especially weather. He says this boat can withstand almost anything except a hurricane.
"The nature of this adventure is if I make a poor decision, it may be the last decision I ever make," he said.
His boat, named Lucille, after his grandma, weighs 700 lbs. She will also have an additional 700 lbs. of equipment, including food (mostly dehydrated meals to save space). But he'll have some sweets, too, including chocolate.
And what about staying hydrated?
"We've all heard the phrase, 'Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink,' that will be me," he said. "That will be the story of my life for the 50 to 60 days it takes me to cross."
Carlson has two de-salinators to turn ocean water into drinking water. That process takes a lot of energy. The sun will help provide that power through several solar panels.
He says on the hard days, he will depend on music, and words of encouragement from his friends and loved ones -- and maybe some humor too.
"The only thing worse than being up a creek without a paddle is in the middle of the ocean without an oar -- or two oars," he said.