**unofficial results are posted here
I had a great day out in a lake in the middle of the woods again, this is turning into a theme of my summer. Fly to a town… drive to another town deeper into the woods and then go just a little bit further into the forest… hop in a lake… rinse/repeat as necessary. I started today with a 70 mile drive from Richmond out to Charlottesville and it rained pretty much the whole entire time. I was a little worried about this for a couple reasons… 1. I tend to not travel with a jacket in summer because I live in California and I’m not conditioned to rain actually occurring in summer 2. It felt like lighting was a very real possibility which is an event cancelling type of thing for an open water swim. An event cancellation would have really wrecked my day seeing as I only kinda came all the way across the country for it! Luckily after about 15 minutes of walking around on the beach the rain decided to stop, phew!
This swim was the USMS 2 Mile Cable Open Water Championships. A cable swim consists of a body of water containing a precisely measured course that’s physically anchored on each end to the bottom and connected with a rope or cable. The course in Chris Greene Lake was a quarter mile straightaway marked by a rope with little buoys on it. This event is run in two heats, one counter clockwise and one clockwise. So basically you can pick to swim in the direction that’s better for your dominant breathing side allowing you to always see the cable and stay on course. Basically cable swims are daring you to fail at navigation, I don’t think anyone had an issue with it today. The one nuance that people who have done this swim before are all hip to but I was not while signing up is that you really want to get in on that first heat to beat the impending summer heat. If I make it back out for this race again someday I think I’m going to put that little tip into effect because I am not big on being out in the heat, especially when the water is already 84 degrees!
Even though I was in heat 2 I came out early to check out the lake and talk to people on the beach. A bunch of my friends were running around out there and quite a few people that I knew just online that I had never met in person. I also had a bunch of people recognize me from the USMS video I did not too long ago which was pretty cool. A big thank you to everyone that came up and said hi, it’s always good for me to meet new people while out on random beaches!
While watching the first heat I took the opportunity to get some video and cheer on my friends who were out there rocking the early heat. My buddy Chris (who we featured on the blog recently) laid down a really hot swim. He won the whole thing, broke the record for his age group (cable swims have national records because they’re precisely measured), and became a national champion for the third time this summer. I’d like to be that cool someday, but I have a lot of work to do to get there!
Around maybe 10:30 or so we started getting lined up for my heat, and at the same time the cloud cover started breaking up and the weather was working on getting hotter. The one silver lining for me was no caps required for this race! Awesome! The last thing I needed as a guy with no hair anyways was to wrap my noggin in latex to more efficiently cook in the heat so this was very welcome news. The heat was broken into waves of 10 based on speed. I was in the 3rd wave but I really shouldn’t have been given the speed I’ve been going recently and the way I tend to react to really warm water/weather. I managed to hang with the heat for half a length and then promptly fell backwards through a couple of the waves behind me. I wanted to try and hold pace with my wave a little longer but I could tell that would end very poorly for me.
On the way back for the first lap I got kicked by a spontaneous breaststroker. He got me right across the inside of my hand with a toenail… he got me so good it felt like he cut me! Also… how gross is that? I had to roll over and backstroke a few times just to make sure I wasn’t bleeding… I really didn’t want steaming hot lake water rolling around in an open wound for the next 3 laps. Luckily no cut, it just hurt… it faded out during the next 10 minutes or so… disaster averted.
Things started to spread out after about one full lap. I did my best to hang near the rope as much as possible. I didn’t want to swim more distance than I had to. There was still a little jockeying for position every once and a while coming around the turns but that was about it. As time went on my body got tighter and tighter in various spots. My calves and stomach were the ones most on the verge of cramping. Hooray dehydration. I’d work all the way up to almost cramping and then it would mellow out. Despite my best effort I apparently didn’t hydrate enough for this race.
At the end of lap 3 I got lapped by my buddy Evan and a few other fast kids. I wasn’t excited to get lapped, but at least it was by someone I like who was en route to winning the heat. Keep an eye on Evan’s site for his race report from the perspective of someone who actually wins these things!
Tomorrow I’m flying back to my own coast for a few days and then swinging back to the Midwest for a 10k in Indiana. I think this race was really good practice for that race in dealing with heat I’m probably going to be dealing with out in Noblesville. The only question I have is how cold will the ocean feel at home when I get back in this week!