It has been suggested that taking warm/hot feeds during a marathon swim has more of a placebo effect than actually helping to keep a warm core. This may be technically true, I mean, to what degree can 12 oz of warm fluid really warm 180 pounds of “pure muscle”?
Well, I can tell you from experience that when things are getting chilly, nothing feels better than hot stuff landing my stomach, and if feed time is set at 20 minute intervals, hot feeds can extend a swim by many hours.
With a luxurious support boat, a crew may be able to leisurly microwave each feed as needed. For a swim with more primitive support craft, a more creative solution is needed.
A few years back, I purchased a few 64oz Stanley thermoses. My feed plan consisted of having my “muthalode” mixed to a 2X concentrated level, and my crew would add 50% hot water to the feed bottle just before feed time. This system is not without flaws, and has failed on several occasions. The problems I had were 1. the thermos failed to keep the water hot for the duration of the swim, and 2. complete failure of thermos.
Stage 3 of SCAR hit us with chilly water and a bit of a breeze. Since each swimmer had a kayak as their primary support, no hot feeds were available.
For Stage 1 of 8 Bridges last year, we experienced a unseasonably cold spell on the days leading up to the start, and as a result, the water temperature was a full 10 degrees F lower than predicted. Some quick improvisation enabled the crews to warm up feeds for the swimmers, but I ‘ve been planning to come up with a better solution since then.
So… it seems that we are faced with a choice between two options; Option 1 – Crew mixes as needed and can control feed temperatures or; Option 2 – Pre-mix and decant into single serve bottles that can be loaded into a kayak or other support craft. The go-to single serve vessel seems to be a flip-top, wide-mouth, Rubbermaid bottle. They work great, but will not keep things hot.
What is needed is a single serve (12oz) thermal bottle… and I found one, but it is not without some issues. My next post will describe how I intend to address these issues, and also provide the cooling rate results of this bottle up to 10 hours.