Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Early swim at Jordanelle

Last night I camped out with Chad at Jordanelle.  Woke up at 0330 and met Goody at the boat ramp at 0400.

Goody and I managed to stay together during the swim, but we lost Chad and couldn't really see him throughout the swim.  We saw him at the boat ramp after we had already swam 3.09 miles together.  Chad was wearing his swimmer buddy board and I was wearing the swim safer buoy.  I am waiting for parts to be mailed so I can use my board again.  It sure is easier to tow than the buoy.

Not a big fan of Jordanelle yet.  Got another night swim planned for Friday and a good training swim for Saturday, both at Jordanelle.

Looking forward to Goody's Tahoe crossing next week!  Joelle and I are driving out there together to crew for him.  He's gonna rock it!

Garmin details.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Piloting three double crossers

This past week was the SLOW swim camp.

On Friday morning we went up to Tony Grove Lake, about a 15 mile drive from the cabin where we stayed.

Chad, Sarah and Lisa were there with their families and we all had a great time.  We swam just one perimeter of the lake which came to about 3/4 mile.  Water temp was 69°F.  Beautiful cliffs and scenery.  We didn't want to swim too much considering we had a big swim set for Saturday very early.

Saturday at midnight we left for Cisco Beach.  I was the designated pilot for the first width and was tasked with showing Chandra how to drive for the second width.  We started the swim at 2:20am.

I thought I did pretty good piloting them, but apparently the map of the course shows otherwise:

I got so sick about 2-3 hours into it.  I was really bothered by the rocking of the boat in the slight breeze.  I started to get a migraine too.  I took three advils and Chandra took over after giving her a brief lesson on how to run the controls.  She did awesome and as you can see near the end of the first length she was able to get them positioned right to the marina which took 4:01:24 according to Chad's garmin.  We took a short break for the crew to use the bathroom and I quickly got greased up for my own crossing.

I felt so much better the last 30 minutes or so when Chandra was able to pilot while I slept.  My headache was gone and I wasn't seasick anymore.  I felt great!  When we started I was a little chilled.  The water temp was 69° and the breeze made it feel a little cooler.  I showed everyone where to sight off, and let Chandra know where to point us all to.

You can see that she did a very good job getting us back in a fairly straight line.  I took a look at Chad stroke on the way back and gave him a little feedback.  He was having some pain in his right shoulder and took some ibuprofen and was then keeping up for a bit.  He was hanging in there but was spent.  Sarah and Lisa and I would swim in spurts swimming ahead and then waiting for Chad to catch up. Thing that sucks about only having one boat is that you all have to stay together.  Apparently Lisa and Sarah had enough and about 1 mile from the finish took off and finished about 10 minutes ahead of Chad and I.  There were some boats in the area and I didn't want to leave Chad by himself while Chandra tried to keep an eye on the now two separate groups.

We finally arrived at the finish at 8:41:57.    All the families were there with the kids playing on the beach and we had some sandwiches while Chad took the kids out on the water in the boat for a fun ride, even though he was exhausted.  The kids had a total blast.

Sarah was very pleased to have made the double crossing after last year's failed attempt.  Richard Droesbeke from the Bear Lake State Park was there to greet us.  I was surprised to see him there.  Apparently the tragedy from earlier in the year had made a mark on him and all the Bear Lake first responders out there and he wanted to be sure we made it in safely.  Felt grateful for the concern.

This was Lisa's second double width.  She's planning a length swim on Labor Day in a few weeks.  She'll do awesome.

[Correction]
This was my fourth width crossing and now I'm tied with Will Reeves as being "King of the Monster" for most width crossings.  I need to get up there and get more width crossings.  Not to be cocky, but they're easy if the weather is nice.

Joelle has 5 crossings and is "Queen of the Monster".

Bear Lake width crossing: 6.25 miles in 4:07:50
















Monday, July 20, 2015

2015 Bear Lake Monster Race Report

The day before the annual Bear Lake Monster race, a group of us: Josh, Chad, Sarah and myself planned to swim a double width crossing (with Josh and I splitting it so we each only swam one width while the other pilots for the team).

However fate was not on our side as Chad drove in with a busted bearing on his boat trailer.  We
spent several hours in the middle of the night trying to get it replaced but it was fused and required a torch to get it off, which we weren't able to acquire until the next day.  At that point it was too late for an attempt.  So we decided to make an attempt at the upcoming swim camp, also at Bear Lake.

We watched the weather forecasts very closely and found that it included possibility of "thunderstorms".  We got the word out on facebook that the event would likely be moved to a lap course along the shoreline to allow for quickly getting swimmers out of the water.  Many people were understandingly resistant to that idea.



On race day morning we set up the buoys for the 1/2 mile and 1 mile race and while it did rain and the weather was less than ideal, the entire time had yet to hear any thunder.  Rain is perfectly acceptable and part of open water swimming, but thunder/lightning is when the game is over.  Without this attribute included in the storm, we were still in good territory.  We consulted with the Utah State Parks ranger who shared with us the radar images from NOAA on the upcoming fronts and we decided to proceed with the 7 mile swim as planned across the lake.  The fronts didn't appear to be packed with red or yellow hitting our path.  The areas of green showing precipitation mostly were clipping the very north side of the lake.

I shared this information with the field of swimmers to their applause and also gave them the warning that if their paddlers were inexperienced and ran into trouble with wind that they would be required to call the Coast Guard volunteers patrolling the course and ask for help.

We started the race and I was paddling for Colorado swimmer, Heather Rodriguez.  I realized that the battery on my cell phone only had about 30 minutes of life left so I turned it off to save it for any emergency.

As the field of swimmers started to dissipate I caught up to her and stayed with her.  Her stroke looked very relaxed and smooth.  She was able to maintain a consistent stroke rate of 41 strokes per minute.  She took feeds every 30 minutes except at the end where she was 1/2 mile from the finish and refrained from offering her the scheduled feed in hopes for a speedy finish.

The last half of the race it was very choppy and at times encountered up to 3 foot waves.  And had position the kayak into the waves to avoid risking tipping over.  I got quite the ab workout.  Heather finished in just under 4 hours.

Here are the full results of the race.  My friends Joe and Jason from South Davis did awesome and Will completed his 4th crossing,  He and I both now have 4 crossings, while Joelle holds the record for 5 crossings.  I'm hoping that next week I'll be able to get that 5th crossing.

Jacob swam the mile race, and he was only about 25 yards behind Chad the whole race.  I was paddling for him at the finish and yelled out to him challenging him to finish strong.  I offered him $20 if he could pass up Chad.  Unfortunately, Chad missed the swimmers meeting and instead of heading right for the finish took a slightly longer route around the starting buoy and Jacob was able to swim straight to the finish arch and ran in the shallow water to finish ahead of Chad.  Now I gotta cough up $20 bucks to Jacob.  He swam hard and collapsed at the finish.  Proud of that guy.  I sure hope he enjoyed it and keeps an interest in open water swimming.

I didn't get to swim this weekend except for a very brief 15 minutes in the Logan River on Friday afternoon.  I was hoping to share that experience with Josh and Chad, but they watched on from the bridge as they said my skin slowly reddened like a crab in the 52 degree water.  I was shivering pretty good after only 15 minutes.  Looks like I've really lost my acclimatization which I would like to earn back.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Frustrating swim in Lake of the Woods

Camp Loll in Wyoming is one of the most hidden treasures of all boy scout camps in the United States.  It includes a lake called Lake of the Woods which is typically very cold even in the middle of summer.  Keeping in mind "very cold" is relative.

This is my third time to Camp Loll.  Here's my first visit from 2009, and my second visit in 2011.  This is my first time back post-English Channel (really post any big swim).  The staff at Camp Loll is constantly changing year after year.  I only recognized 4 staff from the previous visit.  The aquatics director was 22 year old, Captain Charles.

The first day after setting up camp we went down to the waterfront to get passed off on our swim check, but someone hear lightning and we had to hang out for 30 minutes, but another sound of thunder was heard so they closed the waterfront for the day since it was close to the end of freetime anyway.  Kind of frustrating.

The next afternoon after the scouts had their morning MB classes, we all went to go through the polar bear.  That was fun.  You sit under a small waterfall of a stream coming right out of the mountain.  I didn't have an instead thermometer, but I would say the water temp was in the mid 40's.

Afterwards we went to the waterfront to finish out swim check and do the mile swim.  There was a huge line for those getting the swim check, and less than 50% of the scouts were able to complete the 100 yard swim and be tagged as "swimmers".  After the swim checks I was allowed to attempt a mile swim.  This year their approach to allowing people to do the mile swim is to have them swim 9 laps inside the swim area (which is supposed to be 25 yards, but visually I can tell you it is not).  then swim around the western perimeter to the otherside and back.

I suspected that this was not a full mile, so I made sure to wear my GPS watch to confirm.  Duane Ralphs and his son Taggert were kind enough to paddle for me.  Another new rule: One of the paddlers must be an adult.  OK - understandable considering most scouts can't paddle worth crap.

Haha.  You can see all those laps in the pool shows me also swimming
nearly a quarter of the way across. After I exited the "Pool" portion of the swim I
looked at my watch and it read 0.38 miles.  I should have known at that point
something was wrong and fixed the setting and started over!  This was done at
4:30pm and the waterfront closes at 5:30pm.  They were considering not letting me
start because they didn't think I would finish prior to 5:30pm.
I had to convince them that it would only take me 30 minutes.  
After swimming the route I stopped my watch.  It showed I swam it in 19:38, however it also showed that I had swum 1.25 miles.  What the heck!  Yes I pushed the last 200 yards, but no way was I swimming that fast.  I forgot to take a temp reading on my watch at the end of the swim.  I estimate the water temp was 59°.  I thanked Duane for the spot, but still pretty confused on the "fast mile" even though I didn't feel fast.

This is Indian Lake right on the border of Idaho and Wyoming.
nearly 90% of the lake is covered in Lilly pads.  This would
be an eerie place to swim and would cure anybody
fearful of aquatic plants.
After plugging in the data to the computer and seeing the image of the course, I realized that route was done "cycling" instead of "open water swimming".  So it zig zagged all over the place. Oh man!  I wasn't even close to a full mile.  Probably more like 3/4 of a mile.  But until I reswim it with the right setting on my watch, I'll never know.  So bummed!  I wish I could convince the aquatics director to let me just use a swimmer buddy or something and let me swim as long as I want anywhere I want on the western side of the lake.  But without them

knowing exactly my background and experience, that'll never happen.  I'll have to just enjoy it the way it's being regulated, and try other lakes like this under my own set of rules.

Total distance: estimated 3/4 mile in 19:38

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Shooting for the moon and ended up in the stars

This past week I've spent the week at Hidden Springs Ranch at the Low family reunion.  It was fun.  I took Isaac on a 25 mile bike ride for his cycling merit badge and yesterday took a trip out to Moon Lake for a swim.  It was either that or swimming at Starvation Reservoir like I did three years ago when we had the reunion out here.  I've never swam in Moon Lake and it sounded awesome.  It's apparently the largest of the high elevation lakes in the Uintahs.  It looks to be about half the size of Deer Creek Reservoir, or half the size of Starvation Reservoir.

I took Isaac and Sam out at 10am to paddle for me.  We drove for what seemed forever from the lodge.  When we turned a bend on the dirt road we saw what we thought was moon lake and it looked awesome.  I estimate that it was about 3-4 miles all the way around it.  We missed the first turn, but saw another dirt trail turnoff up ahead which we took.  We unloaded the kayak and carried it only 10 yards down to the small sandy beach.  It was strange that nobody else was here.  Granted we were about 20 miles from the nearest town of Mountain Home, Utah.

I was expecting the water temp to be really low cause the elevation was over 7000 feet.  But it was 67 degrees.  The water was very clear, but not blue like Bear Lake.  It was very dark green, almost black like at Fremont Lake.  Swam about 20 minutes across the lake and saw some plant life underwater that kind of freaked me out a  bit.  The boys also saw it and said, "Dad I can see the bottom now!"  It's easy to see why human nature demands that we add monsters to the list of things that could exist in unknown and mysterious waters.  I should know better than to let myself get psyched out by crap like that, but I had a weak moment.
Don't know why but this lake gave me the creeps.  I said let's swim back.  We swam back and about 100 yards from the beach I saw Sam hanging on to the stern of the boat kicking while Isaac was paddling.  He had a big smile on his face and we raced each other, but with the much drag they didn't stand a chance. When we got to a depth where I could stand I asked Sam to take off his lifejacket and two shirts that he had on (to protect him from the sun), and try his hand at swimming in open water.  I knew he would do find since I have been coaching him in the pool.  He took my goggles and swam out from shore with me about 50 yards and swam back.  He said the water felt good and Isaac had a turn.

We loaded up the kayak and on the way out, Isaac points to a sign that was on the ground.  I got out and saw the very weathered wooden sign had the paint worn off but was engraved with:

No trespassing
Permit Required

I turned off my phone on the way up because it was at a very low battery level and I didn't want it completely dead in case I needed it for emergency.  I turned it on and zoomed in our our location.  Sure enough.  This wasn't Moon Lake.  It was Twin Pots Reservoir.  A private reservoir that is owned by the Ute Tribe.  Oops!  Maybe that feeling to return was due to the fact that this was the wrong place and that I wasn't welcome to swim there.  I'm glad we didn't get busted and end up paying a big fine.  I wouldn't mind swimming there again, but under the proper conditions with permission.  

Except now I'm eager to find the right lake.  Moon Lake sounds pretty awesome.  Next time, I'll make sure my GPS is fully charged and I get to the right place.

Estimated distance: 1 mile in 35 minutes

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fourth of July at Bear Lake

This morning I met Chad at the Bear Lake Marina beach and got Lucy and Sam to paddle for us.  Chad also got his boys to paddle so we had two kayaks and oddly enough we didn't encounter many other boats during the swim.  Maybe 2 boats and 1 jetski came within 200 yards of us and that was it.

The water felt nice and very comfortable temperature. I forgot to take a reading but I'm thinking it was 69 or so.  We saw several things underwater including large fish about 2 feet long.  Turned around at 3 miles out.  It's not everyday you swim to "Idaho and back"

The last mile swimming back was especially tough for me.  I really had to push it to keep up with him.  He was swimming fast and my shoulders were getting tired.  It seemed like we were swimming against a current coming back.  It was a great swim.

On the way to the lake I asked the boys to rub sunscreen on each other, and apparently Sam didn't obey and he got burned pretty bad.  Lesson learned.

Total distance: 6 miles in 2:50


Monday, June 29, 2015

Early Jordanelle swim

Late last night I drove to Jordanelle and slept in the back of the van with the seats out.  I met Chad up there for an early morning swim. Slept good like I normally do when camping.  Got up at 0340 and drove down to the boat ramp.  Goody arrived and got his kayak setup to support us.  It was good he was there.  I forgot how nice it is to have a kayaker there especially in the dark.  He was able to spot a piece of floating debris to steer clear of.

This was only my 2nd swim in Jordanelle and I was unfamiliar with how far it was to the Dam, or any shorelines that are especially good to avoid.  Goody did a good job guiding us and I am grateful. 




Shoulder felt stiff around mile 3 and offered to switch with Goody, but he was fine and I wasn't completely done.  So I stayed in the water and finished the swim.  Swam 4.66 miles in 2:45.

Pushed it along the buoy line which Josh caught up and passed me on.  That boy is getting quick!  I bet he sets a PR at the SDM meet in November.

Water temp was 72°.  Just as warm as Pineview was last week.  It's warmed up!  Next week we're going to Strawberry.

Beautiful morning swim.  Not quick glassy, but not terrible either.

Monday, June 22, 2015

First Pineview swim of the year

Oh my, I waited too long for my first swim in Pineview.  The water this morning was warm!  It was 72.6° according to my watch.

I met Chad at 0400 and we swam two Goody loops for a total of 5.25 miles.


When we got to the very southwest corner heading along the south shore, I noticed a very faint light
on the horizon as the sun was starting to make the swim back a little easier to see.   By the time we finished the first lap it was no longer dark at all, but still the sun hadn't popped up yet over the mountains.  That didn't happen until we got to the southwest corner again after swimming the dam buoys.  I noticed that my water bottle was dragging over the side after the first lap.  Noticed less drag on the second lap and it felt better.  My shoulder was sore, but not in terrible pain.


Total: 5.25 miles in 2:50

On the way noticed that my shoulder was sore, and when I reach out for something it was painful, and weak.  I'll get an appointment with Grayson to see what she suggests.  I haven't seen much progress over that past couple months.  Do I just have to live with it?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Not giving up

This morning I realized I didn't confirm with Chad meeting up.  Texted him at 2:30 hoping he might be up.  He was.  Agreed to meet at 0400 at 24hr fitness.  Here's the workout:

500 free
4 x 100’s kick with board
8 x 50’s free/stroke on :50
8 x 100’s odd free, even IM
800 bilateral breathe on 12:00
2 x 400’s pull
4 x 75’s free/stroke/free
8 x 200’s on 3:15 (got 2:32 @ 95% on one)
3 x 300’s - 1st one fast! (4:06),  2nd one moderate, 3rd one cooldown kicking

6,500 total

Was feeling good till the last set.  Shoulder felt like I just swam 5 times that far.  Ouch!  Need some ice. 


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

CSS Retest day

This morning met up with Chad and swam this workout:

1,200 warmup - 3 x 400’s warmup - 1 - free, 2 - kick with fins, 3 - IM easy

400 for time (5:11)
900 recovery - 12 x 75’s - rotating stroke by 25 focus on quality form and not really speed.
Do three times:
fly, back, breast
back, breast, free
breast, free, fly
free, fly, back
200 for time (2:34)  CSS calculates to 1:19

1500 - 3 x 500’s free (pull the second one) :30 rest between each  Try to get under 7:00 on each (1:24/100 average) (Got 7:01, 6:38, 6:50)

5 x 200’s - 1&2 free, 3 backstroke, 4&5 free :15 rest between each
6 x 100’s sprint - breathe goofy side only, aim for 1:25 or better (got all under 1:25) on 1:45

400 easy warmdown

6,200 yards total