Sunday, May 22, 2016


Next Swims:  We'll swim all Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and maybe Friday too.  We'll start weekday morning swims after Memorial weekend.  Check back for exact times.

Last Swim: Sunday May 22nd noon
Water Temp: 54 or 55 or 56 depending on who's thermometer you believe.
Waves:  Small Chop
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: Showgirl, Crash, Kahuna, Capt'n, Diablo, Neo, Andy, Itch, Mr. Anonymous, Gumdrop, Patriarch
Wetsuit/Skin: 9/2
Shots: 16 (we got carried away with the beautiful day and the great swimming)  Itch accused Crash of being drunk but that's the pot calling the kettle black.

Maybe it's just because I missed Her so much this winter, but the lake seemed a dazzling bright brilliant blue today.  I'm at a loss to describe the color.  Aquamarine?  Cobalt? Azure? Cerulean? Sapphire?  Royal?  I think I'll go with turquoise.   It almost hurts your eyes to look at Her.

We had our first lunatic skin swimmers of the year today:  kudos to Itch and Diablo.  

Thanks to the people who bought raffle tickets from me.  And for those who didn't, don't worry still plenty of time.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

2016 Swim Season Officially Open

Next Swim:  Sunday May 22nd Noon

Be sure to bring to bring money to buy raffle tickets from me.  It's for the Friends of Estabrook Park.  Grand prizes are a Fyxation adult custom bike and a Rainbow Jersey Trek youth Farley 24 fat tire bike.  And many other cool prizes.  Ticket are $5 or 3 for $10.  Also, mark your calendar for Sunday June 12th Estabrook Park 100th anniversary celebration at the beer garden.  Besides the raffle there will be fun games music cake and free beer (with an Estabrook park mug, bring your own from previous years or purchase one for $10, or win one in the raffle)!  Noon to three.

We are still looking for the first skin swim of the season.  Who will step up (or dive in, as it were)?

Season Opening Swim: Saturday May 21st 11AM
Water Temp: 53
Waves:  almost calm
Water Clarity: Good
Wetsuit Skin: 6/0
Crew:  Showgirl, Panini, Itch, Kahuna, Gumdrop, Patriarch
Shots of Killepitsch: 6
Shots of some obnoxious green fluid that Itch brought:  5

A near perfect day for our first plunge of the year.  Sunny and warm.  It sure was great to be back in the water. Here are before and after pictures from today's swim.

For posterities sake, here are the final counts from 2015:

Swim Days: 116
Individual Swims: 1028 (577 suit, 451 skin)
Longest streak: 100 days
Shots of Killepitsch: 424

Friday, May 20, 2016

Let's Go Swimming!

Next Swim: Saturday May 21st 11AM

Last Swim:  Too long ago to remember

The lake is warming up rapidly.  The maps show the water temp edging toward 50.  But I did not expect the text I got from Itch:   a picture of the beach, the water dead calm and the message "55 and crystal clear".  Now Itch is not a man to be trusted, his mental state at any given moment is questionable and he is still in deep depression after being stood up at the altar by Showgirl.

But in this case I choose to believe him, even if it's only wishful thing because I'm anxious to plunge into the cool embrace of Lady Lake.  So Itch and I are going to give it a go 11AM tomorrow.  Join us if you dare. Or if you're a lunatic.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Itch has the Itch

Itch stopped by the beach today took a picture and measured 47.3 water temperature.

Kahuna also took a reading last week with his "toe meter" which he claims reliably measured "mid-fifties at least".  Sure, and I've seen pink flamingos wading at Klode beach.

Can't blame either of them for being a bit a bit anxious though. It's been a long winter and playing human ping-pong in the pool is getting old.  Oh, the tyranny of the cursed black line!  The frustration of fighting for lanes with side stroking little old ladies in flower swim caps!  The corrosive effects of chlorine on the lungs and mind!

Oh, for the freedom and challenge of big open water!  The spray, the waves, the clear cool refreshing lake, the camaraderie of the Kru!  The Killepitsch!  It won't be long, but the wait is killing me.

Other signs of summer:  The Estabrook Biergarten is opening tomorrow (Sat Apr 23rd) and will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot, the German beer purity law that defines beer as  containing only four ingredients; water, hops, barley malt, and yeast.  More importantly Showgirl will be celebrating her 50th birthday (again!).  I would not be surprised to see her wearing her dirndl, as people wearing German attire get free beer, half priced beer for everyone else.

But that's only the beginning of the fun.  Next weekend (Thu Apr 28th - Sun May 1st) is Maifest at the Biergarten: .  Stop by and purchase your 100th anniversary of Estabrook Park mug.  (Shameless plug for Friends of Estabrook, of which I am a member, we get at least $5 for every mug sold).

Oh, yes I almost forgot.  On Friday June 10th at 9AM we will be filmed for "Around the Corner with John McGivern".  They are doing an episode on Whitefish Bay and somehow North Shore Nancy arranged for us to be included.

And one more thing.  June 11th is the Shorewood Men's Club Barbecue at Atwater Beach.  Kahuna and I will be selling tickets, and if conditions are right we'll do an Atwater Shipwreck Swim that morning.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Big Shoulders Registration Opens Tomorrow, Tuesday March 1st

Last year it filled in five days, and this year is expected to fill even quicker.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Fun With Charts and Graphs

So it's mid-December and winter hasn't arrived yet.  No snow to ski on, and too warm to swim.  So what am I doing?  Wasting way too much time wading through the cesspool known as the web.  But today I spotted a treasure floating amongst all the sewage.  Check this out this analysis of Lake Michigan water temperatures:

Here are some observations:
- Even though the lake temps are well above average now, they were well below average in early 2015.  If you recall the lake nearly froze over last winter.  So the lake temps started off cool in spring and stayed that way all the way through the swim season (mid-May through Sept).  This matches my impression of 2015 as a below average swim season (temperature-wise anyway).

- If you look at the two really great swim seasons, 2012 and 2010, the opposite occurred.  The water started the year warmer than average and stayed warmer than average all through the swim season.  I recall 2012 in particular as the year when we had three solid months of water temps in the high 60's and low 70's.

- So if this pattern holds (i.e. if the water stays much warmer than average this winter), the 2016 swim season might be very good or even great.  But of course at this point I have to curb my enthusiasm.  So many of my predictions about Lake Michigan have dashed on the rock piles of hard cold reality.  But it's something to dream about during the dark days of December.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

In Between

Tragically the Lake Michigan swim season is over, and my swimming has been tyrannized by walls, black lines, and chlorine.  For me, this is the "in between" season, the time between Lake swimming and cross country skiing.  If you, like me are looking for fun things to fill the gap, Kahuna has suggested a worthy activity in a comment on the last blog posting.  I reprint it here:

If anyone out there is reading the blog this time of year (even the buoy has gone into hibernation), note that the Bike Fed's Santa Cycle Rampage is set for Sat. December 5th. Eastsiders tend to start at Cafe Hollander on Downer at 9:00 a.m. God willing, Sheboygan Santa will be there, with his magic sausage, along with his coffee can collecting for World Bicycle Relief (see their latest video at this address: Bring your check or cash if you are interesting in helping. Last year we raised over $400 for WBR (because Sram doubles donations, that's enough for 8 sturdy bikes). Note too, to celebrate Shorewood advancing to the Silver Level of the League of American Bicyclists' Bicycle Friendly Community rankings, my group (Greater Shroewood Bikers) is holding a Shorewood Community Cycling Celebration, at the Rampage After Party, 4-6 pm, Sat. Dec. 5th, at Three Lions Pub. Hope to see some of you there.

If the weather is anywhere near reasonable I will do the rampage this year.  (Anyone know a good place to get a Santa suit?).

Kahuna, congratulations and thanks for your efforts on behalf of Greater Shorewood Bikers.