Flying back from Helena this morning, we flew over horsetooth reservoir. The lady next to me noted it out of the window. We had both swum it at the 10K two weeks back!
Mrs Alt had someone coughing for most of the flight from London behind her. 3 days later she got a ‘bit of a tickly throat.’ Three days after that, diagnosed with bronchitis :(
I thought I had escaped the clutches of ‘the lurgy’ but no. Bit dizzy last night, 3am this morning I thought a thistle was growing in my throat, soooo painful. I thought I had lost my voice, tough to breathe.
Spent today drugged to the eyeballs so I can function with customers. Careful to keep my distance! Flying to Helena tonight, meetings all day tomorrow, back on Thursday at 6am.
I dont have time to be sick, more drugs please!
Most annoying?!? I can feel my 500 mile year slipping through my fingers :( I have a lot of swimming to do next week!
Maybe taking Mrs Alt out for her burpday for a slap up meal and to see Menopause the Musical; might not have been the best idea I have come up with.
“Im only 45 you know!”
“Sorry, I thought it would be funny”
“Hmmm … we’ll see”
Now we are seated there are a lot of ladies of a certain age here. Wife is happier now cos “she is the baby.”
Phew, good save Alt!
Part II coming up … I was gonna break it up into two but what the heck … part I is here.
We got to the lake in the pre-dawn, a gentle breeze rippling the water, it looked great … lets get on with it!
Unloaded the kayak, food (including PB&J sammies :), fluid and all the rest of the crap I thought we needed. I was slightly worried that once Duncan got in, the kayak would sink we had enough fluid for both of us, thats 9 bottles! We loaded up the kayak on to the truck to be taken up the lake and then jumped on the bus. Got back off the bus cos we forgot the map/whistle in the car, got back on, got back off cos Duncan forgot his floppy hat, got back on, jeees! Arrived at the top of the lake and realized I had forgotten the rope with the carabiner on it, bugger! Quickly stripped one of the bags I brought for the water bottles of its string and fashioned a new rope. Just call me MacGyver!
Got the kayak set up near the water for Duncan and then we walked down to the boat ramp for paddler and swimmer meetings. There, I got to meet a genuine OW swim hero, Craig Lenning. A super friendly guy, he was happy to talk and share experiences with any one, even me. I think I was ‘gushing’ just a little, sorry Craig :)
The course was pretty straightforward. They gave us last years map but the course had changed a little. I had to swim into the first bay around a buoy and back out.
The kayaks had to meet us about a 1/3 mile out so there was not so much chaos at the start. There were two waves of 35 so the start was not too rough. I kept catching one guy, he’d kick away, I’d move right, he’d move right, I’d catch him, he’d kick … I stopped. Then a lady just crossed in front of all of us. Not quite a Tri start but close :)
Duncan and friends waiting for us to arrive
Duncan found me and we headed down the lake. I had to swim into that cove pretty soon after, in and around a buoy and back out while Duncan waited. Then off down the lake to the finish 5 or so miles away.
Reading that last bit back; its seems crazy right? 5 freakin’ miles, swimming, not running nor riding. 5 miles running is a quick hour around my house or half way to our local town on a bike.
Five miles freestyling next to a kayak. You’d think it’d be mind numbing, no music, just the slosh of water in your ears. You get to look out of one eye every second or so … the monotony! I was a little scared about that before the swim. How would I cope? But I just zoned out completely, the kayak kept me straight (ish.) Duncan slapped the water when the 1/2 hr alarm went off; he then threw me bottles on a rope to drink. I didnt have a care in the world, just keep those arms turning. To quote a famous blue fish, ‘just keep swimming!’
Nice high elbow :) Look at that face, sucking on air! Snaaaarl!
We got inked on arms and shoulders! Blowing a little late there Alt!
Ninety minutes in and we were doing great, just over 3 miles by Duncan’s and my garmins! Good progress.
Then things started to go a bit Peter Tong (wrong). The boaters were up and about after their drunken Saturday night slumber. Ready to tear up the lake and burn a few gallons of gas. And, oh look, there are swimmers we can buzz and kayakers to capsize … awwwwwesome!
All I could hear was the high pitched, mosquito whine of the propellers go by and then 5 seconds later the waves as they crashed over us. I kid you not! I saw Duncan shouting at someone and then I managed to suck a lungful of water. Apparently, some guy was running full tilt toward us and then fishtailing away to generate as much wake as possible. It became a slog and no fun any more. I just wanted to finish and get my son out of the water. I couldn’t see the boats, just his contorted face and him then shouting, utter bastards!
The bastardy boats!
Then Duncan’s watch gave up, not sure why. It was now my responsibility to time the stops. I decided to count my strokes, seven hundred should have been easily in excess of a mile. We stopped at 700, we had covered just over a half mile, WTF! With the water so rough, I just drank fluids and forgot the sammies. I just wanted to get done!
I had been steadily passing people and I could just see one person about 50 yds ahead. That was my target, my motivation. Catching someone who is only a few strokes slower than you takes an agonizingly long time when swimming. Because you are at water level, the distances look so far you never seem to be catching them. Then suddenly, you’re past and stretching away, weird! We finally got to the last cove entrance where most of the boats were coming from. Once passed, things got easier and smoother.
Duncan finally peeled away to his landing spot and I pushed on to the finish. We had been warned to swim until we beached because of the rocks on the slipway. I did just that, jumped up and immediately fell forwards. My legs had forgotten how to work, nearly four hours horizontal, I guess they can be forgiven. I saw my time, cried a little bit inside and stumbled over the line … fin! At fucking last! I thought, well it was a shit time but at least I can call myself a marathon swimmer now!
Thats a no sleep and I have just swum a 10K face
I’ve had a few days to reflect and look at the data. My Garmin has us at just over 7miles rather than 6.2 and I can quite believe it looking at our route in detail. Our track was pretty ‘zig zaggy’ down the lake. The boats definitely affected us and Duncan’s ability to hold a straight line.
I also did not really realize how much concentration it must have taken to try and hold a straight line for me. Several times I found myself sighting because he had wandered (drifted might be better) off or was fiddling with his music, or was trying to get comfortable. Who knows what direction I was going in at those times. My speed in the water matched my training speeds in our local non-boating lake. So I guess we did do 7 miles rather than 6. Just gotta work on the navigation. Thats the difference between biking, running and swimming courses. For the first two, its easy to stay on track right? Swim navigation takes some practice, I and my paddler need more :)
But, Im completely hooked! Looking forward, I have Swim the Suck in October. Now I know my brain can take the mental challenge and knowing that its a river race with no boats and Im not going to drown; its going to be 10 miles of awesomeness!
I guess the alarm bells should have been ringing on Saturday night at the pre-race meeting for the Horsetooth 10K swim; when one of the organizers, told us that they did not have a great relationship with the Larimer County ‘czars’ (his words) who run the reservoir.
The race is up in Fort Collins, about 2 hrs north from chez Alt. We loaded up the car and got on the road in a rain storm at about 2pm. quickly ducked into our hotel to checkin and pee, then dashed over to register. Pulled into the parking lot to see a sea or, in our case a reservoir of kayaks.
Registration was a breeze, we had to change the kayaker out from Mrs Alt to No 1 son, Duncan. Got given a timing chip, the stinkiest red swim cap ever, it still smells of ‘brasso’ 2 days later. they kindly gave us a spare personal flotation device which we had to carry on the boat, safety first kids! Then to our table for dinner and the talk.
Our table had a guy by the name of Kurt on it; he has won the mens race for the last few years. Friendly guy, about my age with his son over from Arizona. We discussed the S.C.A.R swim event in AZ (40 miles in 4 daze), he swam the first year they put it together, one tough dude! Across from him was his new nemesis. ‘Michigan Swimming Guy’ - I missed his name when he introduced himself but he sized up Kurt when they shook hands. There were a couple of others at the table but you could cut the tension with a knife as the two swimming behemoths stared each other down and flexed their ‘delts’ at each other.
OK, we all just had a laugh and a joke and compared tattoos. It was pretty relaxed but, there was a broodingly dark undertow of malice that was palpable, AZ-man vs Michegan Swimming Guy to the death! Nope, that didnt happen, gimme some artistic license to ‘Hollywood up’ what was really just a swim in lake.
Dinner was spaghetti and sauce with salad and bread sticks from Olive Garden. I think we were all being a little conservative in our portions as they had masses left over. But no takers for seconds. In the interest of further carb loading, we ended up going out for a couple of beers and a burgers with a few others afterwards.
Then we got to sit through sponsor speeches about the next big thing in sports drinks, blah, blah, blah, its great, you’ll never drink anything else and its only $50 a serving, if you sign up for a lifetimes supply tonight you’ll save $5 and two kittens … zzzzz. Then the meat of the evening, the race details and safety.
Here’s where the ‘czar’ reference came up. The race has been running for 16 years; you’d think in that time that they would have built a great relationship with the ‘czars’ … it appears not. I got the feeling the czars did not want the race there and imposed a lot of rules and regs to make it as difficult as possible to put on the race. It was all pretty straight forward stuff, the lake was 99.99% full but we still had this little diversion into one of the bays to make it a 10K. Be safe! Meeting done, we left.
We decided to check out the reservoir before meeting some others for food. It really is a spectacular lake. You would never know it was there, nestled between these huge uplifts of rock that have been damned. It looked fab in the moon light and flat as a pancake.
Bed by 10, me, asleep by 10:15 Duncan by 12 after being woken by a mistaken pizza delivery guy at 11:30. Alarm went off at 4:30, I was up in a second. Duncan, not so much, he wandered around grumbling about lack of sleep and hunger! I bundled him out the door to the truck and thence to the lake.
I was excited. Having timed myself in our local lake with my garmin in my swim hat to get as accurate a track as possible. I was reasonably confident of a sub-three hour finish. Weather forecast was for NNW at 4mph and mostly sunny conditions. This was going to be an awesome first 10K!
Part deux coming up … here
It wasnt pretty but then a baldy fat bloke in spandex jammers is, lets face it, not gonna look great :)
It was done quite a while ago but no signal and then driving meant thats its only just gone up.
4:45 on a Sunday morning?!? Who’s stupid idea was this?