The ORS Int. is the official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for Guinness World Records

 


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WHEN I'D FIRST HEARD of adventurer Erden Eruç's human-powered odyssey - a multi-year expedition to summit the tallest peaks on six of the world's continents, by boat, by bike, and on foot images of rescue teams searching for avalanche survivors and plucking people out of the drink quickly sprung to mind.

Eruç is disciple of Goran r, the Swedish explorer who famously cycled from Stockholm to Mount Everest and then summited the world's highest famously cycled without the help of supplemental oxygen. Though an accomplished mountaineer, Eruç has minimal rowing experience and absolutely no experience in the dangerous sport of ocean rowing. Cynically, I saw his trip as needlessly risk,- stunt to one-up the Swede.

That is, until I read our special report this issue, "Sea to Summit" (page 46), by regular Rowing News contributor Neil Wit Becker. Kropp, tragically, has become the inspiration rather than the motivation behind Eruç's self-propelled circumnavigation. The two met in 2001 in Seattle, Washington, where Kropp was giving presentation on his Everest trip. In Kropp, Eruç saw kindred spirit who lived life to the fullest. The Swedish climber, meanwhile, was intrigued by Eruçs plan to journey around the world. friendship developed, forged by mutual love of climbing, and they set their sights on climbing Frenchman Coulee in eastern Washington.

 The rest, writes Becker, is unfortunately history. It was on that 2002 climb, with Eruç holding the belay, that Kropp fell to his death. Now, nearly three years after the fatal fall, Eruç is determined to keep the memory of the passionate expeditioner alive by dedicating his journey to him.

Hearing all of this has made me rethink my original reaction, which looking back on it, is pretty typical of someone who has perhaps focused little too much on 2,000 meters. As rowers, so much of what we do is internal; the limits we explore through training and racing are usually just the ones we place on ourselves.

May 2005

As rowers, the limits we explore are usually
 just the ones we place on ourselves.

Eruç will have no shortage of time to figure out his own limits when he begins the rowing leg of his trip in November that will take him from Florida to Ecuador, en route to Argentina's Mount Aconcagua. But he will also be exploring uncharted rowing waters - no one has ever rowed around the world before - free of the limits we unknowingly set, whether they're the ones that get programmed into the monitor of the erg or written into the flow pattern at the local rowing club.

All of this is commendable on its own. But dedicating the journey to his friend Kropp, who shared Eruçs own unique vision of what makes meaningful life, infuses it with purpose that most of us who tool around in racing shells will never truly know. We wish him well.

Ed Winchester

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