Saturday, September 10, 2011

Big Shoulders, September 10

The water is getting colder. We have not had the chance to swim in cold water since July, usually thats a good thing but it would be nice to get a bit acclimated before the race. But this week we had big winds from the North with large waves every single day. At least it kept the water reasonably warm. So this year we really lucked out, the pattern broke Big Shoulders day and the winds died down. The predicted rain went to Wisconsin. So we had a dry windless day with reasonable air temperature in the low 70's and only mild swells and chop. The water was 67 which at first felt cool to me since we have been swimming in 74 degree water but midway through the race the sun came out from behind the low clouds and it was actually delightful! I was actually warm when the race was over.

Even though there was a record turnout of close to 1000 swimmers everything went smoothly. There was a lot of congestion around the second turn of the first lap for some reason, but otherwise only the occasional collision. And we got BBQ beef sandwiches when we finished! So no complaints at all this year. Great race!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Evanston, September 3

It started out the way things have been going lately, predictions of storms but clear skies over the beach and calm wind. We even found a parking space right by the beach. But Jody found that she had forgotten her cap and goggles and decided to swim anyway. She did a lot of breaststroke but was still faster than me. The water was calm and clear, we could see the bottom most of the way even though the sun was low and partly obscured by clouds over the lake. My official measurement by the far wall was 74 but we did come on a pocket of cold water about 3 feet down. This was a warning that we Big Shoulders swimmers still need to beware of the possibility of a cool off before next Saturday.

The fun began as we approached the near wall at the end of our swim. Jody got their first and challenged me to touch the wall. It was not difficult to her surprise, she had tried and failed due to a rip current. So we stayed around the wall and found that in fact there was an intermittent current at the end of the wall, more of an eddy than a rip current. We enjoyed the ride for a while. While we were doing that we noticed a swimmer who was equally far out in the Lake about 200 yards from us who appeared not to be moving. We decided we should check it out. It was a lady we have seen before here and she was doing aerobic exercises. We got into a discussion and she also reported being caught in an eddy by the wall on some previous date, except she had had trouble exiting it. She also said she has been snorkeling in the area and has seen few fish this summer compared to previous years. This is consistent with an article in the paper this past week which reported that due to some new mussels who ate all the nutrients in the Lake fishing has been way down this year. I suppose the good side of this is that we no longer need to worry about the Asian carp as they will not be able to survive, unless they can eat the mussels in which case they would be a good thing.