realizing what a poor decision I've made to eschew the neoprene casing for this swim

Honestly I was a little anxious about my swim today because I’d been tracking the water temps online and according to an NOAA buoy it was down to 50 degrees!!! I had already made a public proclamation that I was done with wetsuits for the year and I really didn’t want to re-neoprene-ify myself. Luckily it’s usually a little warmer at the beach where we swim and Niel measured 53 from the pier. Me and my human thermometer don’t believe it though… it had been windy all day and we had really cold clear water to swim in. When the wind is blowing towards the beach the water visibility gets a lot better but it also gets a lot colder. I brought my wetsuit just in case, but I knew regardless of what went down I wasn’t going to put it on… I’m stubborn like that. Plus I was referred to as Polar Bear Rob on the tri club’s Facebook page the other day so I had a reputation to uphold :)

We had 2 swimmers from the Central Coast Tri Club come out and since they’re still fairly new to swimming at Avila with us we stuck with the north side of the buoy line since it’s still intact and easy to follow. It took me a little while to get all the way in the water. I can acclimate to cold water, but it’s not always a fast process. I let the others get out in front of me a bit and once I got up to being able to put my head under water I chased them down at the first buoy. I was definitely frosty but I wasn’t shivering or turning colors so I figured I was good to go. We swam down to the far end of the buoy line, regrouped and swam back towards the pier.

regrouping at the far end of the buoy line

swimming back to the pier

Once we got back to the last buoy before the pier everyone kind of looked around and decided if they were done or not. Our new swimmers decided to bounce, I figure in a few weeks they’ll be ready to do some more substantial swims with us. Me and Niel treaded water for a bit while we decided what to do. We had a conversation that went like this:

Niel: So Rob, what do you feel like?
Me: A popsicle!

It wasn’t a particularly constructive conversation :) I let him know I was down for more swimming but I needed to be talked into it. He suggested a lap around the pier and I decided that would be ok.

waving at people on the pier before our group split in half

For a little while on the way down the pier I thought the cold water was making me lose my mind. I was thinking to myself “did the pier get taller? what the hell is going on!?!” Eventually I processed that the tide was just way out, but still the water was way low compared to where it usually is when we’re out. At the end of the pier me and Niel stopped to regroup. He asked how I was doing and I said fine as long as we keep going! Stopping was not ideal at this point!

Normally I don’t like to get too far out front when swimming in the ocean, but I was jamming on the way back to the beach. I wanted out. My brain was getting a little fuzzy and my face was numb. My stroke was feeling pretty good and I dialed up my kick a little bit. It felt like forever getting back. For whatever reason the pier gets longer when you’re trying to swim in.

almost done, that splash behind the wave is Niel

After our swim I hit the showers on the beach and the water felt WARM! That’s a first! I never really broke down into a shiver but I was definitely cold on the inside. I got my sweatshirt on and worked on bringing my body temp back up. A couple hours later I’m still cold to the touch in a few places but I feel fine. Tomorrow I’ll be in Santa Maria swimming in a decidedly warmer body of water and attempting to taper a bit.

2 Responses to “Channeling My Inner Polar Bear”

  1. Chris Norman says:

    No freakin’ way! I’m cold just reading this. But cool for you.

  2. Rob D says:

    Thanks :) I have various friends that go way colder so I figure if they can do it I can do it… I just need to work up to some of the crazy stuff they do. Like my friend Laura that frequents sub 50 degree water!