10 December 2020

Jonas Deichmann Triahlon 360°

Images by Markus Weinberg

120 x Ironman and 40,000 Kilometers, an around the world record attempt

People have tackled the round the world challenge in all sorts of ways: airships, sailing boats, running and by bike. If you think you’ve seen everything in terms of how to tackle this challenge, think again.
Whilst you’re reading this article, there’s someone who is circumnavigating the globe in triathlon mode. Once completed it will be the longest round the world record in this discipline.
Jonas Deichmann, a 33 year old athlete, adventurer, public speaker and motivator, who was born in Stuttgart, is not new to extreme challenges. He holds the record for crossing Eurasia by bike, from Portugal to Vladivostok in 64 days and the Pan-American crossing from Alaska to Patagonia, in 97 days. More recently he rode from North Cape in Norway, to Cape Town in South Africa in 72 days, a month less than the previous record. These achievements alone have secured Deichmann’s place in the record books, as the first person to hold the record for all the three continental crossings by bike.

40,000 KM IN 10 MONTHS: THE CHALLENGE IN DETAIL 

For Deichmann’s new challenge, Triathlon 360 Degree, he will be using Fulcrum wheels for his bike. After the recent postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he was finally able to set off from Munich on 26 September. Jonas will cover the distance of 120 Ironmans, the longest triathlon challenge, for a total of about 40,000 km.

“After reaching Croatia by bike”, explains Jonas,” I will swim 456 km along the coast towards Montenegro. Then I will cross Europe and Asia by bike, until I hit the Chinese coast where I’ll jump in a sailing boat across the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco. For the next stage I will be running 5040 km across North America to New York. I will then cross the Atlantic Ocean by sailing boat to Lisbon, to then ride to Munich in the spring of 2021, about ten months after setting off”.
Deichmann wants to raise awareness for environmental issues with this project and will collect funds for rainforest protection. The whole challenge will have a minimal CO2 footprint, as Jonas explains: “I won’t be followed by support vehicles. During the swimming leg I will pull a specifically designed raft that will hold the camping equipment. I will also carry all my equipment during the running and riding legs, to be able to camp along the route”. As well as the enormous distances, logistics will be a significant challenge too: “There are specific currents in the sea and small time windows for crossing the Himalayas. I will also need to find a sailing boat to cross the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, as I will be hitchhiking”.

Being able to improvise, to adapt to the unexpected, to find alternative solutions is, after all, an essential aspect of these types of challenges. But, what is more important still is the preparation and covering every detail. “Whether you’re planning your first small adventure or trying to beat an endurance record”, explains Deichmann, “it’s all about planning and mental approach. Even though your physical shape is important, I think that your head becomes the deciding factor in long challenges that stretch over weeks or months. Only experience and training can help you support the exhaustion and difficulties”. 

How do you prepare for an event like this?

“I only do sport when I’m in the right mood”, confesses Jonas. “Which means about 20-30 hours per week. A lot of running, cycling, hiking, swimming and snowboarding. About four months before attempting a world record, I start to train specifically for the challenge. I focus on long and slow distances to build up my base conditioning and get to about 1000 km per week. I do lots of very long rides, between 300 and 400 km, to get used to the long distances. Without forgetting fitness exercises to strengthen my back and other muscles. 

Ten days before I set off I stop training completely: I will do some walks, short rides, swimming and anything that helps me put my mind and body in recovery mode. Fundamentally, during the final phase, I feel as if I were on holiday. This lets me reach the starting line motivated and mentally fresh to concentrate 100% for the next several months”. 
You might be asking yourself what pushes an athlete to attempt an adventure of this kind: “I grew up in the Black Forest and I passed my childhood running around the woods, trying various endurance sports. The adventurous lifestyle of those first years of life shaped my ambitions to explore the world and constantly set myself new challenges. When I reach the finishing line, I forget all the suffering involved and start dreaming of the next adventure. During a journey, when I wake up, I’m excited, because I know that something unexpected is about to happen. I will see places and meet people for the first and, probably, the last time in my life. This gives me the feeling of living my life to the fullest. Setting a record obviously heightens the emotions, but it’s like the cherry on top: the cake is made of all the memories of a fantastic journey”.
Good luck Jonas! 
We can’t wait to hear your stories from this new and incredible journey.