The day was amazing. Clare and I spent the night in Bklyn. I woke up early to mix my feeds and fill up a few thermoses with hot water, checked the website for any last minute changes…. none, and loaded up the car. We were treated to a beautiful full moon (cosmo’s moon?) still shining bright in the morning sky. There was little traffic on the BQE to the Bklyn Bridge to the FDR north to Houston St. We arrived to pick up Sharoz… knocked down a strong cup of coffee and a bagel (its not morning in NY without a bagel) and drove to north cove. Kayaker Michael Hayes was already there, and we unloaded all of our things parked the cars and greeted the other early arrivers.
Steve Munatones was there to crew for Michael Miller (the Hawaiian!) and we had a little chat while the crowd continued to gather.
We all met up with our assigned observers, were given a pre-race briefing, sang happy birthday to Gertrude and sadly learned of Fran Crippen’s tragic death in Dubai. The only time I ever got to see Fran swim was at Governor’s Island last year for the NY Pro Swim 10k. He was gracious, and was the only swimmer to approach the rocks where we were watching to thank everyone for coming. We would be swimming around the other side of Gov’s Island, the Bklyn side called Buttermilk Channel (no one knows why).
We boarded our boat met Captain Al White and left the dock at North Cove…. heading slowly to the Battery for the start. Michael paddled away and was waiting for us when we got there. Lots of CIBBOWS friends were cheering from the sea wall. The start was staggered in 4 waves. Lance Ogren and I were the last to splash.
I drank a pre-race cocktail of EFS and 1st endurance Pre-Race…. quite the same as I had been doing all season, but in retrospect, I didn’t hydrate enough. It would be easy to blame the chilly morning, but really, I just f’d up. I began my regular 20 minute feed cycle of alternating EFS and ginger tea with agave nectar, but had trouble urinating and digesting the high calorie mix. My left hamstring cramped up and I took a couple of minutes to squeeze it out and settle into a no-kick stroke. By the Verrazano Bridge, I started giving back my feeds to the sea immediately after drinking them down, and shortly after that pretty much emptied my stomach. My stroke rate that started at about 70 , now dropped to the low 60’s. I would get it back up to 70 again after the next 2 warm water only “feeds”. I took nothing for the last hour. I have to make sure to hydrate to the point of “free-flowing” before these swims. I was able to manage things this time, but would have had a hard time on a longer swim.
Sandy Hook lies pretty low, so when I was able to see the beach from the water, I knew I had less than 2 miles to go and Michael confirmed this. There was some disagreement about whether to send more feeds my way for the final push… I knew I could finish this on my reserves and would have turned away the bottle… throat quite sore from puking and not wanting to tempt an encore performance.
The Ambrose Channel was busy with ships both anchored and underway. From the water, it is impossible to know which are moving and which are stationary. My boat kept pretty far to my left, with the kayak between. As the wind was coming from the west, things were a little bumpy at times… not big, but hard for me to fall into sync with. I breathed to my left (east) almost exclusively for this one.
I heard that Lance and Liz Fry had quite a race to the finish, but we all landed pretty spread out across Sandy Hook; Eileen Burke was next to me. No time to chat though, so just a quick congrats and back to the boat to warm up. My capt was taking temperature readings from 55 – 56+ throughout the swim. I am certain it never hit 60, and I’m happy to say that this is the longest swim in the 50’s I’ve done to date.
…. and I’m happy to see about half of the field signed up for a victory lap at Coney Island on Nov 6th!!!!! (and so can you be too!)