Yesterday was a beautiful day for a swim… well… it was a bit windy, and there was a good amount of chop the whole way.
We had a great turnout of swimmers, kayakers and land based support to share it with. The word is out that we are having a blast in the Hudson every weekend and people are traveling from afar to be a part of it. In attendance were Danielle, Mike and Richard providing kayak escort; Rondi, Bec, John, Willie, Terry, Jordan, Jim and I swimming; and Andy providing land based support in the way of transportation and preparation of a wonderful birthday feast…. happy birthday to Rondi!
We started to assemble at Andy’s house in Chelsea at 8 AM… gear and feeds spread all over the lawn… introductions made… reunions and catching up took up nearly an hour… whats the hurry, the river isn’t going anywhere. We loaded up 3 cars and drove to the starting point. Kayaks unloaded last minute grease and sunscreen applied, we had to come up with a game plan.
We had a brief meeting. Identified which of us would be needing feeds… what, how and how often; assigned swimmer groups to kayakers; and decided to swim a circuit, north and south, and shoot for the same finish area for everyone… a bit north of the hamlet of Chelsea.
I had calculated my feeds to provide 285 calories in 27 oz. per hour. To accomplish this, I prepared a concentrated mix of fruit punch flavored EFS (1st endurance) and would have hot water added to it just before feed time… every 20 minutes. After the first feed, it became clear that this method was cumbersome for Mike… removing the spray skirt… hands off the paddle… unscrewing the cap on the giant stanley thermos and trying to get the near boiling water into my feed bottle without it landing on his crotch in the windy choppy river. For MIMS, my feeds will be prepped on my power escort, then handed off to Mike or Danielle to pass to me, so this wasn’t really an attempt to duplicate that feeding procedure, but after the first feed, I decided to change the plan to every 30 minutes rather than every 20 minutes. This gave Mike a little respite between feeds but reduced my caloric intake by 1/3.
The first group of John, Bec, Rondi and Willie were out of the water and drying/warming by the time we came to the exit beach the first time. I said my goodbyes to Terry and Jordan and started swimming south with my escort Mike to intercept Jim and Danielle. We would continue this criss-crossing, north/south pattern for the next 4 hours. Its comforting to know there is another swimmer in the water.
Jim Meier is booked for the same tide as me for English Channel this season… Aug 28 – Sept 6, so we both wanted to get this swim under our belts earlier rather than later. Jim did a 6 hour last weekend in South Jersey… but the water temp wound up being too high for the qualification swim, 63 degrees.
As I approached the finish area for the last time, I saw a bunch of people standing on this rock ledge (about 8-10 feet tall) on the south side of the “beach”. Clare and another Danielle had joined the party…. a welcome site!
I had some trouble finding my balance on the rocky bottom and though normally a drip-dry kind of guy, I graciously accepted the large towel handed to me.
Mike and Danielle, you guys rocked today! We couldn’t have done it without you.