Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Evanston, August 1

Its hard to believe that it is August 1 and we have hardly gotten started with open water. This is only the second full Lake swim I have done this season. But conditions were near perfect, 74 degree water, not glass flat but close to it with a few small ripples and a 3 inch swell. There was a shallow overcast and the water was not completely clear. Also the beach in the break area has become quite pebelly with some small rocks mixed in. On the plus side it was much easier to park during a weekday.

Jody and I did a wall to wall swim, but not hurried. Our only accompaniment were seagulls, lots of geese swimming in packs and one lone lady paddleboarder.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Ohio Street, July 15, 2017

Today Jody was not available so I went down with Joe. Conditions were much better, full sun water was 67 by shore and 68 at the curve. This is my first full (mile or more) lake swim this summer and I felt much better than expected. Maybe the 1500 helped my lake stroke. The water was flat with chop near the beach but morphed into 2 ft waves by the curve. The biggest problem is avoiding hitting other swimmers in this crowded spot. And the construction all along the shore path did not help the ambiance. The upgrading of this spot is somewhat ironic since a plan was floated this week to fill in this spot as well as Oak street and North Avenue beach to widen Lake Shore Drive. Joe assured me not to worry, even if this happens it won't be in my lifetime.

Ohio Street, July 8, 2017

I sat this one out since I was going to race a 1500 in a pool the next day. Jody was also in that race but she opted to do a lake swim anyway. As it turned out she did very well in the 1500 and I did not so maybe a poor decision on my part. Here is her report

Joe and I met on Ontario - he pulled up just as I put my parking ticket on my dashboard. It was chilly and very breezy as we walked towards the lake. There were waves breaking over the breakwater (hmmm...) and it was very choppy inside the harbor area - waves from the northeast echoing back out after hitting the wall. I wished we had had your thermometer! the water was a perfect temperature - but very rough to swim in. We made it to the buoy by the curve, and there we encountered swells of 2-4 ft. Coming back in we made much better time, but we were both pretty wiped out. I am hoping the wave action will be easier tomorrow morning!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ohio Street, June 24, 2017

The Lake has been calling, lots of hot weather. Jody have been busy and new reporting of Lake temperatures based on satellite information has been not quite creditable. Although air temperatures were forecast to be in the low 60's this morning everything else looked good -- full sun, not too much wind, water temps 64-67 projected -- we decide to go and at least verify the water temperature readings. Much of the construction at Ohio St seems done although the bicycle flyover is not yet open and something is going on near Chicago Ave. Parking was good on Ontario St by the lake at 6:30 AM, not so great at 8. One bummer is that someone was shot in the underpass to the Lake recently so the underpass will be locked until 6AM, at least to day it was opened well before we got there at 6:30. The beach was crowded with wetsuiters, maybe too crowded for our tastes.

The water felt cold getting in, but that is expected for our first swim, especially since we have been swimming in an 85 degree pool. We swam to the quarter mile buoy and a check of the water temperature revealed 61.4 degrees, which confirmed that the satellite estimates were too generous, but was not awful. We decide that was enough for a first day and came back. As we swam back it seemed to be getting warmer and near shore the water was 63.6. So not bad at all for June and a good start to the season.

Monday, November 28, 2016

First Lake Swim

While in Connecticut for Thanksgiving I went to Lake Waramaug on a nostalgic visit of my first Lake swimming experience at about age 7.
I swam to the big rock and back!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Evanston, Indigenous day, October 10

My visit to Evanston last Wednesday made us want to do at least one more swim this season. I suggested Sunday but Jody had other plans for the whole day. But she pointed out that she had Monday off and suggested that. Sunday turned out not to be quite as nice as expected but Monday looked to be wavier but with southeast winds the water temperature would not go down much. The advantage was the air temp would be slightly warmer.

So we delayed our start to let the sun warm the air a bit and arrived at the beach around 9:30. From the beach conditions looked very much like last Wednesday, about 2 foot waves by our beach but larger waves south of the south wall breaking over the wall. Jody's college friend Laurie came along dressed to swim. But Laurie is a flat water swimmer and decided not to swim so she guarded our stuff on the beach. With air temperature about 57 the water felt cold but not dangerously, so Jody and I decided to give it a try. It wasn't that bad, the waves were fairly well formed and not choppy so swimming was not hard. After about 200 yards I could get a temperature reading, 60.8 which was plenty warm, especially with a strong sun. We continued out to what we consider the half way mark and decided not to make Laurie have to wait too long and also to limit our swim since the combined air/water temp was 117.8, sort of the hypothermia warning temperature of 120. But swimming was good, even against the wind so we did go all the way back to the south wall to check for rip currents. There weren't any on that side of the wall so we swam in, we were in the water about 30 minutes.

Fortunately the bathrooms were open, so quickly changed out of our wet swimming gear, no wetsuits of course, and into dry clothes. One thing we have learned in the last year is that the biggest hypothermia danger is that after getting out of cold water and ceasing hard exercise the body can lose 5 degrees quickly. To further our warming we headed to Starbucks for hot coffee and warm chocolate croissant at a sunny outdoor table. If this is it, a great way to end the season.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

PostScript: 2016 season, October 5.

Jody emailed me with Lake conditions for today, she thought it might be swimmable. But she wasn't able to go, so I took my dog to the beach anyway, unfortunately he doesn't swim. It probably was swimmable, there was a strong south wind but the water was 61.6 and at the beach the waves, 1-2 feet, did not seem so fierce. However, on the south side of the wall conditions were quite rough with waves more in the 3-4 foot range banging into the wall. A half way swim would not be out of the question, although the swim back would be tough.

The beach was mostly deserted, no other dogs, birds or geese so my non-swimming dog was bored. So we took a walk along Sheridan Rd to the next park. He thought this was much more fun. I put my dog, he's relatively small, on a flat rock by the Lake so he could see the waves breaking below him and he liked that. The Lake seemed rougher from this vantage point.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Evanston, September 24

Jody and I wanted to swim Evanston at least once more this summer but today was not the best time. First we had to help out with the Park Ridge Charity classic 5K run which kept us busy until almost 9. But while there we decided it was now or maybe never for our swim. We finally got to the beach around 10:15. But the temperature had gone down and it was a cloudy but dry 65. The SE wind did make the water a bit warmer but with the cool air it felt very a very chilly 65 also. And top of this were 3 foot wind blown waves. But we were there to swim so we took off up the lake. The reason I really like swimming with Jody is that when I paused, less than happy with goggle problems, Jody looked at me with a big smile and said "isn't this fun!".