Wow!… what a week… big waves, Crossings, Long Island and Mountains!

Ok, I know I’m a little slow getting this out from last week’s swim, but when see everything that has been going on this week you’ll see why!

A bit of a rough and tumble day... but 50 LOSTies still took the plunge! Well done!

A bit of a rough and tumble day… but 50 LOSTies still took the plunge! Well done!

First of all thanks to Mauro, Miguel and Katie for picking up the slack while Dylan and I were away in Long Island (more about that later).  Sounds like you guys had a “different” swim!

Well I called it… I have been saying that this has been a pretty normal summer.  It typically is cold to start, warms up slightly, rolls over and gets cold again… and then is warm.  Well last week was the start of the warm period.  I fully expect it to be warm for the rest of the summer… which will be all of August and probably all of September… at least!

Toasty warm at 71F... and lots of smiles all around!

Toasty warm at 71F… and lots of smiles all around!

The math had to add up.  Everyone was surprised how cold the Lake was, even though air temp was abnormally hot.  Well it’s a big lake.  And takes a while to warm up.  But once it does, it stays warm.  So from here on out I think we will have GREAT swimming!  You’ve paid your dues with the cold swimming, now it will be really nice.

Tom Foolery, Eileen Luxton and Mark Luxton having some fun!

Tom Foolery, Eileen Luxton and Mark Luxton having some fun!

Having said that, we don’t want it to be tooooo easy.  Which is why I have also said that about 8/10 LOST Swims are usually flat as glass.  And 8 out of 10 were.  Last week was week number 9!  Explains why it was so rough!  Don’t worry, my prognostications aren’t usually that accurate!

So hats off to Mauro for organizing the “Pier Jump!”  I understand that 50 people took the plunge in the big waves and some didn’t.  Totally fine.  As I always say, this is just “practice” and you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.  Safety first.  And I heard the waves were too big to get in where we usually do, as the rocks were being thrown around in the waves, so it made more sense to do a Pier Jump and swim out to the buoy and back.  Apparently lots of people did it several times.  Awesome.

The hard part was getting in... too rough here, so it's a "Pier Jump" day!

The hard part was getting in… too rough here, so it’s a “Pier Jump” day!

In other news, I did the “Swim Across The Sound”.  This is a world class event and part of the Global Swim Series.  There really isn’t another race like it in the world.

First of all it raises money for cancer victims.  Which is interesting, because it isn’t for cancer research, etc., but rather for victims… as in, if you get sick and have to leave your job, they might help you pay your mortgage, etc.  Very cool.

Near the start... with over 100 other support boats! Amazing!

Near the start… with over 100 other support boats! Amazing!

This was the 29th year of the race… and they raised $2,000,000!!! Not over those 29 years, but on Saturday!  They said that should help about 30,000 people.

Part of the crew: Reed, me and Dylan. Happy to have a beer and dry off!

Part of the crew: Reed, me and Dylan. Happy to have a beer and dry off!

So that sets up the type of environment for the race, really nice and caring people… who have some perspective about life and this event.  Then there is the race… one of only 2 races in the GSS that are 25km (the other is the Kotlin Race in St Petersburg, Russia!).  There were only 7 solos, 3 two person relays, and then 28 four and six person relays.  So a lot of people to escort from Port Jefferson, Long Island to Bridgeport, Ct!  There were over 100 boats in the floatilla… a sight to behold!  I’ve never seen anything like it!  Kind of the North American version of another GSS race, the great “Rottnest Channel Swim” in Australia… which is even bigger!  (although “only” 20k! haha).

Look what was chasing us!

Look what was chasing us!

As for the swim itself.  It was awesome.  25k swims are never easy, but it was “good”.  The first 2 hours had me a bit worried… it was rough.  Real ocean swimming.  Not waves so much as chop.  And chop is much harder to swim in than waves.  But fortunately after a couple of hours it calmed down quite a bit.  We had a near miss with a storm at about 4 hours… and then right at the finish another storm hit!  I was fairly close to the front and made it into the harbour (although still about 500m from the finish!) when they called the race, over half of the other boats were still out there.  But everyone was safe at least.

The time I got was 8:18 for a rough 25k.  I would have placed 3rd.  Oh well, that’s open water swimming.  (Ask 14 year old Maya Farrell, who swam for about 23 hours across Lake Ontario only a few days before me… and had to be pulled 300m from Toronto because of a huge electrical storm!).

When it looks like you are so close you could touch it... but you are still many hours away! Don't look up, Loren!

When it looks like you are so close you could touch it… but you are still many hours away! Don’t look up, Loren!

The DryRobe didn't protect him from the champagne!

The DryRobe didn’t protect him from the champagne!

Speaking of Lake Ontario Crossings… Loren King made his!  On Tuesday this week, I was lucky enough to make it in to Marilyn Bell Park to see the newest LOSTie become a Great Lake Swimmer!  Loren had perfect conditions… 71f and flat as glass all the way across.  Now I’ve seen plenty of swim reports that exaggerate the conditions, making them sound much worse than they were.  Where 2-3 foot waves become 6-8 foot waves and 60f water becomes 50f water.  The crazy thing is, if ever there is a time when one does not need to exaggerate it is when you are doing a marathon swim!!!  Yes, Loren was lucky enough to get ideal conditions… and he honestly made it look easy… but there is still the small matter of swimming 50.5 km in 18:40… which is incredible.  I trained a bit with Loren and saw the work he did.  Amazingly not everyone that attempts a major marathon swim does all the work.  He did.  He could have handled some very cold and tough conditions as well as anyone.  He was very prepared.  But you train for the worst and hope for the best.  He got the best.  And as any experienced marathon swimmer will attest, you don’t always get the best conditions… so take ’em when you can get ’em.  I think about the only 2 sports that are as heavily dependent on weather (and therefore luck!) are marathon swimming and mountain climbing.  In Ironman, or ultramarathon running, bad weather can slow you down and perhaps stop you, but in marathon swimming and mountain climbing if mother nature says NO, well there ain’t much you can do about it.

Looks like Gilligan and the crew! Well done team!

Looks like Gilligan and the crew! Well done team!

All this is to say: Congrats Loren… helluva swim, buddy!  Welcome to the club!  Great to have another LOSTie with Lake O under his (or her) belt!

The 3 Amigos... Darren, David & Al! What a pic!

The 3 Amigos… Darren, David & Al! What a pic!

Speaking of ultra running in bad conditions… LOSTies, Darren, Dave and Al did the Death Race last weekend!  125 km in the Rockies… across 3 mountain ranges!  17,000 feet of elevation change!  Oh, and remember how I said weather is a bigger factor in marathon swimming than in ultra-running, well it is… usually.  But these 3 guys were at about 87 km into the race… up on a mountain ridge… above the tree line… when a huge 2 1/2 hour electrical storm hit!!!  Oh, that’s at elevation, by the way… which means it was about 0C degrees.

They are either showing off their Hoka running shoes... muddy calves... or auditioning for a Captain Morgan's ad...

They are either showing off their Hoka running shoes… muddy calves… or auditioning for a Captain Morgan’s ad…

Long story short… David and Darren ended up hypothermic (caught without the proper clothing… it had been very hot!).  They dropped out at that point.  They also had nothing to prove as they had both completed the race 2 years ago.  Al had the proper clothing… and had a monkey to get off his back… because he was the guy who had to drop out 2 years ago.  So he continued in what was then “just” pouring rain conditions.  He made it.  I believe I heard that only 27% of the solos made it this year.  Well done, Al.  And ya, well done, Darren and David!

The big finish and a monkey off his back! Well done, Al! Crossing the line still looking tough and rugged... moments before the tears! haha

The big finish and a monkey off his back! Well done, Al! Crossing the line still looking tough and rugged… moments before the tears! haha

Don't forget to sign up for the LOST Race or LOST Mile next weekend!!! First 133 get a pint glass just like mine! (beer not included!)

Don’t forget to sign up for the LOST Race or LOST Mile next weekend!!! First 133 get a pint glass just like mine! (beer not included!)

And so other than doing all that, and following other LOSTies this week, and resting and drinking celebratory beers with them… I’ve also been working with Miguel, Darren, Mike, etc to get the LOST Race ready for you all next weekend!!!  And the GSS – North American Championships 3 weeks after that… so you better show up!!!

PS.  as you can tell, this is tough crowd to stand out in! haha.  Some truly amazing people.  Hardly worth mentioning, but I am doing the Ohio IM 70.3 in 2 weeks and let me tell you it ain’t going to go well.  Oh well.   But that is also the weekend that several LOSTies are doing the full IM at Mt Tremblant… that is one of the best IM in the world in my books!  Almost taper time for them!  (time to start training for me!).  Good luck, Eileen, Mark, Andy… and all the others!

Cheers,

Rob

About LOST Swimmer

I founded LOST Swimming because I like open water swimming and would like to see it grow and thrive in Lake Ontario. I started as a competitive swimmer as a kid and ended up getting as far as a silver medal at Nationals and going to the Olympic Trials in 1988. But I retired after that, I was sick of swimming. So I got into running marathons and have run over 35 to date, as well as a few ultra marathons, including the Marathon des Sables (7 day, ultra across the Sahara Desert). I also kind of fell into triathlons and have done a handful of Ironman tri's too. This gradually got me back in the water and in 2006 I took the plunge and attempted swimming the English Channel. I didn't quite make it across, but the circle was now complete and after 17 years I was a swimmer again! Although I still do plenty of pool swimming, I now much prefer open water swimming and like to say that open water swimming is to pool swimming, what trail running is to treadmill running! As a result I hope to encourage more people to join me for a dip in Lake Ontario as often as we can!
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