Hi Jake, please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Jake (28), I’m an Adventure & Endurance athlete from the UK residing in Amsterdam. I’m a lover of design and photography & for the past 6 years I’ve worked in advertising at 72andSunny. My alter ego outside of advertising probably comes from being one of those wild kids growing up that has blossomed into something exciting!
How did you first get in touch with Patta?
It was actually back in the NRC days! Jay welcomed me into the team and I got to know a bunch of people from Patta. Jay & I stayed in touch over the years and when this big project came up - Patta was the first team I thought about. Jay put me in contact with Edson. Edson laughed so hard when I told him what I wanted to do with them but the moment he realised I was serious. Well, here we are.
You have a very exciting project coming up, but before we get to that, tell us a bit more about the build-up of how you got to the idea.
I’m now a big believer in inspiration and inspirational people. I wanted to really challenge myself, but it seemed like every challenge I set myself wasn’t big enough or somehow underwhelming. Someone asked me who my hero was so that they could help me grow my mindset. But I didn’t have a hero?!?! Who the f**k has heroes? Without me knowing, finding the answer to that question was about to totally change my life. That’s what birthed the idea of setting a world record in Antarctica - the big project I'm planning.
You've completed a Triathlon of 3.8km swimming, 180km biking and 42km running. But you say, before that you couldn't even swim. Explain how you managed to learn this skill on such level in the limited amount of time you had.
I’ll never forget buying that race ticket. I was so out of my depth & comfort zone. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to do it. Genuinely. I had already done some mad stuff before this but this ticket was like putting a huge fire under my ass. Most people share how much work they did before their successes,.. The early mornings, the hours & the homework. But the real core of learning quickly was fear (in a good way). Fear is what drove me to learn so fast. Fear gave me purpose and rocket booster energy to complete my goal. I learned to leverage fear and turn it into energy that pushed me forward.
Name a few of your proud accomplishments so far.
I finished an Ironman with no prior triathlon knowledge, that was dope. I cycled to Berlin from Amsterdam in one go (700km) and alone. That was insane. That ride really opened what I thought was possible. Very proud of that one. And probably climbing Lyskamm and doing the traverse by myself at 8am watching the sunrise. That was something I’ll never forget.
How are you preparing mentally and physically for your Antarctic expedition?
That Antarctic project has become my guiding star. And all of my training will be dedicated to preparing mentally and physically for that. I have a long list of events, but I'm officially starting with a 200km nonstop run starting in Amsterdam, running to Rotterdam and back to Amsterdam. I asked Patta if they wanted to help me do it... Pace me for smaller sections of it. We did our training run of 100km around Vondelpark (3rd June) last month and it was epic. Even though it’s not SO cold in Amsterdam, the mental side of running this distance and future events will be a crucial experience for me when I’m struggling in Antarctica.
Do you already have an idea of what your next goal will be after surviving the Antarctic?
No, the road to that goal is too big to look past. (But maybe I should consider it)
The next goal after running for 200km though is to cycle the entire perimeter of Iceland, by bicycle. For perspective, it took me 28hs to ride from AMS - BE. That was 714km. The distance for Iceland is 1400km in total. So it’s 50hrs of riding minimum, no sleep stops. Just pure grit & go.
Most of your expeditions have been solo, why is that?
Being alone in my opinion is f**king amazing. Being alone gets a bad reputation, but being alone you have total freedom to make any decisions and act on what comes naturally to you. Almost like an artist, painting. I feel like an artist when I’m on a mountain peak or doing big distances. When I climbed my first mountain alone, it was probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. I had no experience at all and I damn nearly died. BUT what was so clear, despite all the risks, is that whatever the energy that drove me to go there and to go alone was the right decision. I don’t recommend to do a trip by yourself with no experience. BUT I fully encourage you to listen to your inner impulse to explore, even if it comes with huge risks.
You speak a lot about the people who inspire you, who is your biggest mentor in life?
Finding a hero is the most important thing you can do in my opinion. You have to first start with someone who you admire right now. Someone you could say you would like to be when you grow up (I don’t care if you are 4 or 40 reading this, you can ALWAYS have someone you admire). Write down a few names and their accomplishments and now turn some of their accomplishments into your own goals. I did this myself. David Goggins, Colin O’brady, Paula Radcliff, Ross Edgley being some of mine. Without any of them knowing… they super charged my life and have raised my standards so high. Without them, you would only know me as Jake. and not the “JAKE?!? YEAH HES F**KING NUTS” as you know today. (lol)
And on your end, what is some advice you would like to pass on to other adventurers?
Simple. Listen and act on the feeling you keep having. It doesn't matter who or where you are from, we all have impulses, feelings and dreams. Your homework is to listen to those feelings, understand what makes you, you. And your job is to act on them.