SAN FRANCISCO — As expected, Peter Bird did some training to prepare for his attempt to row alone from Russia to San Francisco.
But what is a little surprising is how he trained.
Bird said his regimen primarily consisted of gaining weight because he will probably lose a great deal.
Other than that, he said, he worked on psyching himself up.
"It's really a mental process, the whole trip. It's about hanging in there," he said.
Bird, 49, an Englishman, was scheduled to leave Sunday for Vladivostok, Russia. He planned to set out the first week of April in his 29-foot, custom-designed Sector 2 for his row back to San Francisco.
Bird said it is difficult for him to explain his reasons for the journey. "It's something that evolved," he said. "It's just my response to a challenge."
Ten years ago, Bird rowed by himself from San Francisco to Australia, spending 294 days at sea.
This time he will travel about 7,000 miles, although currents and winds could add another 2,000 miles onto the trip. He expects to reach San Francisco in October.
Bird suspects the hardest part of his voyage will come at the beginning, as he faces the cold temperatures and strong currents of the Sea of Japan.
There is also a danger of typhoons.
"There's nothing you can do," he said. "You just put out your anchor and try to slow the boat down as much as possible. Then you read a book or something and wait until it's over."
Bird does not worry about the solitude. Once every two weeks he will radio his contacts ashore with progress updates, and he will be tracked daily by a position-locating beacon.
"If it were not my choice, if maybe I was stranded on a deserted island, then things would be different. But I chose to do this."