OK, so my Issyk Kul crossing was a success yesterday. w00t! So excited. A little sore today, but not unexpected. Some facts about my swim:

Location: Lake Issyk Kul, the second largest alpine lake in the world after lake Titicaca. The lake sits at 5270 feet above sea level. Issyk Kul means hot lake, so-named due to the fact that the lake never freezes. (The lake’s water is anything but hot.)

Route: The route I chose, which is based on a Kyrgyz myth, is in the western end of the lake. I started the swim near the village of Kara-Talaa on the southern shore and completed the swim on the northern shore in the village of Toru-Aygyr.

Crew: Almost same crew as last year. Chris, embassy doc and retired special forces medic, was both team chief and observer (see below). Sarah, Peace Corps volunteer and collegiate swimmer (FIU), who is planning on doing the same swim in late August (she’ll complete hers much quicker), was on board to see how the crossing goes to prep for hers. Talas, Kyrgyz-Russian-English translator, coordinated all logistics with the boat captain and the hotel. Olesya, chiropractor and massage therapist, was crew cheerleader and masseuse. Sam, my son, responsible for social media and keeping the GPS connected to the tracker. Magdalena, my daughter, photographer and feed mixer.

Support: The embassy community is awesome. A bunch of folks, including the ambassador, came out to see me come in. I couldn’t believe it. Five hours (minimum) there and back just to see me, hug me, congratulate me, then drive back home. Awesome. And of course there is the rest of the family, my wife and youngest, who were on the beach when I swam in.

Time and distance and other data: Unofficial time was 6:02.45 and 13.86km. Water temp averaged 18C and air temp was about 29C during the second half of the swim, when the sun was out. I’m having trouble syncing my Garmin with the computer, so I can’t get the exact start and finish coordinates to do the straight-line measurement (to get the official distance…in marathon swimming, you only get credit for the A-to-B straight distance, no matter how much you zig-zag). My Garmin was on Chris’s wrist until he got back on the boat, at which point he put it on one of the boat’s railings. Then at the end he put it back on his wrist and paddled to the finish with me. Here’s the track from the GPS on the boat. You can see how well the Captain did with keeping a nice straight line:


More blog entries to follow, including a picture-heavy post and lessons learned (like to put sun protection on your face, too).

10 thoughts on “Success!”

  1. In awe and amazed by you! Super fantastic! I really like that the Ambassador and other folks drove so far to see you. That speaks volumes about you as a person. WAY TO GO, BRO! Love you!

    1. Thanks Mike. Prior to this current swim, I thought in Russia I would do the Kotlin Race, which is 25K from St. Pete to Kronstadt Island. But now I can’t even think about entering open water again. This swim really hurt. šŸ˜‰

  2. Mike, you are so amazing for doing this! What a great example you are of planning, training, and completing something totally epic!!

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