The countdown is on. Princess Charlene of Monaco is days away from taking on the open seas after training night and day for “The Crossing: Calvi - Monaco Water Bike Challenge.” The challenge, which kicks off Saturday, isn't a simple undertaking. “Navigating the ocean at night is no easy task. One feels so small and insignificant when facing this watery giant,” Princess Charlene said in a statement. The South African-born royal, 42, and her team “Serenity” will be facing off against her brother Gareth Wittstock and his team “Notorious” as they take turns cycling over a distance of 180 km from Calvi to Monaco for almost 24-hours. The teams’ arrival is scheduled for September 13 at the Yacht Club de Monaco.
The grueling water bike challenge aims to raise awareness and funds for The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, which was launched in 2012 to help end death and diseases caused by water fatalities. Foundation Director Chantell Wittstock said, “The Princess continues to prepare for the Water Bike Challenge while holidaying with her family, including her children, in Calvi for the summer. The Princess trains daily in the vast, open ocean. The dedication shown by the Princess in training for the Water Bike Challenge is definitely a trait of a true Olympian. As is promoting water safety and ocean hygiene, which is HSH’s passion, and there is no length too far for her to go to do so.”
Chantell noted that Charlene’s husband Prince Albert has been “hugely supportive” of his wife’s “efforts and often watches her train.” She added, “As an Olympian himself, Prince Albert II knows what goes into this type of training.”
In addition to training for the upcoming challenge, Charlene, who retired from competitive swimming in 2007, has also been promoting water safety and ocean hygiene. “For a long time, water was my life. Discovering the joy of swimming inspired me to dedicate 20 years of my life to training and realising my dream to become an Olympic swimmer,” Princess Charlene said. “Training and competing in the water taught me the importance of discipline, respect for oneself and others, team spirit and dedication. Most significantly, I saw how learning to swim could not only change lives, as it did mine but also save lives.”
Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques’ mother continued, “I’m also all too aware of the risks associated with water. Learning to respect the water and learning how to swim and stay safe in it can reduce these risks and give us great confidence and freedom.”