Monday, October 20, 2008

Me Whiskers Froze Off!

Actually it was my toes. Cap'n and me had a great swim yesterday, but today was a different story. We said we'd keep swimming until the Lake froze our whiskers off, and today she would have. It was painfully cold to put just our feet in the water, we never made it to our whiskers.

So our incredible run of 98 straight days of swimmable conditions has finally ended. Altogether we swam well over 100 days, counting the sporadic days we swam in late June and early July.

We'll keep an eye on her, just in case she changes her mind, but this just might be the end of our love affair, until Spring reignites the passion.

When I get a minute I'm going to read back on our adventures and pick out some highlights.

Back to the pool! Ugh!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Reoccuring themes

Just a tad bit cooler than the last day....that's the statement The Patriarch and I have made just about every day this week as we performed the traditional 'toe test' just prior to our swims. It's as if the Lady of the Lake is testing us, ratcheting down the water temp just a degree or two each day in attempt to find our threshold where we'll cry uncle and throw in the towel on the swim season.

...but as The Patriarch's whiskers have yet to freeze off and the water temp hasn't slipped into the winter hibernation mode where the 'toe test' results in the unmistakable sensation of pin & needs our Lake Michigan swim adventures have continued.

Thursday evening's water conditions were a tad bit choppy with waves pushing from the north east. Water clarity was fair with visibility at times reaching 5-6ft. The water temp was most likely 60...tops. Our swim journey Thursday took us from North Beach to the rockpile and back. Probably a little further than we should have pushed in the cold water but as this may have been our final opportunity this year to log a rockpile adventure we couldn't resist the temptation to seize the moment.

Friday's noon time conditions were crystal clear water clarity and a water temp hovering most likely on the minus side of 60. The lake surface was slightly rippled with an occasional wave rolling to shore. Our swim adventure took us from north beach to the garage and then south to south beach before heading back to north beach.

The air temp Saturday afternoon was a cool 54 degrees but the bright sunshine did wonders to make it feel and appear to be much warmer. The water clarity today was a bit mysterious. In some spots it was crystal clear and in others it was filled with sand reminiscent of our swims in big waves. The winds from the east were light and resulted in only small waves of a foot or less. Water temp was most likely in the upper 50's but again noticeably cooler than yesterday. Today's swim adventure took us from North Beach to the Garage, down to south, south beach before returning to North Beach.

Unlike the past few days, warming up today immediately following our swim was not a problem. The bright, warm sun did wonders to instantly heat you up after just a few minutes out of the water.

Sunday's plan is to swim at 1pm. With a forecast for slightly warmer air temps and plentiful sunshine chances are good we'll be able to give it a go tomorrow.

Any takers?


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Crystal Clear & not so comfortably cool

The conditions were beautiful Wednesday evening. Crystal clear water, a smooth glass like lake surface and the fall colors illuminating the Klode bay. As inviting as the scenery was the water temp wasn't quite so appealing. The initial toe test indicated a slightly cooler water temp from yesterday...most likely in the 58-60 range.

Determined to log a swim The Patriarch and I climbed into our wetsuits and slowly walked the plank. The initial facial plunge into the water was a bit of a shock but upon reaching the garage the water temp became a bit more hospitable....not too mention the crystal clarity of the water was just to enticing not push onward.

Our journey Wednesday evening took us from north beach up to the garage, back down to south, south beach and then back to Klode. By the end of our 30 minute adventure I had become quite comfortable in the water but unfortunately for The Patriarch an equipment malfunction with his wetsuit (i.e. his wetsuit zipper had come undone....) made for a chilly swim experience.

Our plan is to swim again Thursday evening at 4:30pm. With sunny skies the experience will certainly become even more visually stimulating than it already is!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008


We definitely need to come up with a nickname for James. Icebreaker, Ice Man, Penguin, or something.

Last night he and the Cap'n and me jump in without wetsuits. Brrrrrr... Cap'n and me said "uncle" after 15 minutes, but the amazing James was in for over half an hour.

Then this morning (I lied when I said we weren't going to swim in the morning any more), the water is even colder. James says forget it, it's too cold (he doesn't have a wetsuit). So he heads up the bluff and Cap'n and I don our wetsuits for a rockpile swim.

We had the rising sun on the east, the lake bluff blazing autumn colors on the west, and crystal clear water below. It was quite enjoyable.

But when we get back to the beach James is there. Apparently he can't resist the call of Lady Lake either. One of us! Only crazier if that's possible. He had done ten minutes without a wetsuit. If that's not crazy enough, now he's headed to St. Croix for a five mile swim in ninety degree water (I'm not sure that's really any better than sixty - pick your poison, hypothermia or heat exhaustion).

Anyhow we need to find him a swimming nickname. Suggestions welcome.

We'll be swimming tomorrow, Wednesday, at 4:30 PM at Klode. The forecast is 56 and rain, and the water sure won't be any warmer. I guess that's why we're Dos Locos. Tres Locos?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hard Core

I thought Cap'n and me were hard core, still swimming in the middle of October. But James put us to shame yesterday, swimming almost two miles in nothing but a speedo and goggles! No cap, no wetsuit. Amazing.

Of course we couldn't let that challenge go unanswered, so after swimming a mile with our wetsuits, Cap'n and me returned to the beach, ditched the wetsuits and did another quarter mile. It wasn't too bad, but I doubt I could have matched James' feat. I'm not sure what the water temp is, but low 60's at best.

What's even more amazing is that the leaves are falling and we are still swimming at all, much less without wetsuits.

We're going again today at 4:30 PM at Klode (we've given up on morning swims, it's just too dark and too cold)

====Saturday's Swim Report ===
The water conditions Saturday were similar to those posted above for Sunday...perhaps a degree or two cooler but definitely managable in a wetsuit. The Patriarch and I swam first from North Beach up to the Garage. In search of clearer water we swam south. At first our goal was just to make it to South Beach but in the comfort of our wetsuits we continued on all the way down to the stair case before heading back to north beach. The adventure lasted an hour and covered 1 1/2 miles....was it really October 11th?

Upon arriving back we found Sir James just getting back from a 20 minute swim...without a wetsuit! Amazing...simply amazing!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thursday Double Dip / Frigid Friday

Hard to believe I'm still blogging about double dipping on October 9th...but the weather conditions on Thursday afternoon were just too nice for The Patriarch and I not to head out for another lake adventure Thursday afternoon.

Thursday evening's conditions: sunny skies, air temp in the upper 60's, a very light southwest wind and a water temp hovering around the plus side of 60....barely. With a slight ripple of waves pushing up from the south we decided to swim from south beach.

This was our first adventure from south beach since the big waves at the beginning of the week reshaped the shoreline. Gone is the beach that connected to the south rock pile. The water now completely surrounds the rock pile. The pitch of the beach into the water is also a bit steeper. With just a few steps you plunge into nearly waist deep water....but perhaps just 15 feet beyond that point a new sandbar has formed that is only knee deep.

Briefly we contemplated swimming without wetsuits but the desire to log a longer swim with wetsuits quickly won out. Our swim took us from south beach down to the sewer pipe and back and like this morning included a venture out further from shore to search for clearer warmer water. Similar to this morning though, the water remained consistently cloudy.

The air temp on Friday morning was a crisp 48 degrees. The skies were clear but at 6:30am the sun had barely started to illuminate horizon. The sand was ice cold and to the toes the water temp didn't offer much of a reprieve. With the forecast calling for plentiful sunshine and temps near 70 The Patriarch and I decided to forgo the morning swim in favor of an afternoon adventure.

As predicted, the conditions were a lot more accommodating when The Patriarch and I arrived at 4pm. Sunshine and 70 on the beach. The toe test also indicated that the water conditions had improved. If I had to guess I'd place the water temp around 60. A light breeze from the southeast resulted in choppy waves pushing up from the south.

Clad in wetsuits we swam north from north beach up to the garage before turning south and heading down to south beach. From the beach the choppy waves didn't appear to be much of a concern but as it would turn out the swim in both directions was very challenging. In the end this swim turned out to be more challenging than swimming through the big waves encountered earlier in the week. Establishing any semblance of a rhythm this afternoon was a virtual impossibility.

Saturday's swim plan is to swim at noon from Klode. With the forecast calling for sunshine and temps in the mid 70's it should be an excellent afternoon for a late season swim.

Hope to see you at Klode!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Autumn Color Tour

Sunrise over the lake is always beautiful, but today was one of the best ever. A sparkling red sunrise illuminated the brillant autumn colors on the bluff. The glasslike surface of the lake reflected a spotless sky.

Clad in our wetsuits, Cap'n and I cruised on calm water to the rockpile and back. We kept up a nice pace, but mostly it was about just enjoying the morning.

We would have liked to hang around some more, but with the air so much colder than the water, getting out becomes a race to get out of wet swim gear and into warm dry clothes and a heated car.

If it's still nice this afternoon we'll go again at 4:30PM at Klode, and we'll definitely be tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM.

I can't believe we're still swimming on October 9th. I can't explain it, I guess I'll just enjoy it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sharp Contrast

What a difference a day makes. Gone this morning were the enormous waves that provided ample thrills and challenges the past two days. Instead The Patriarch and I were treated to a glass like lake surface with occasional speed bumps rolling gently to shore.

The entire Klode scene appeared to be hung over from the excitement encountered the past 48 hours. The sky was grey leaving the rising sun little chance to illuminate the lake as we swam this morning. Water temps were just a tad bit cooler again...most likely in the upper 50's to around 60.

The water was cold as we walked the plank clad in our wetsuits but after a few minutes of swimming we were able to acclimate ourselves to the conditions. This morning's journey took us from north beach to the rock pile and back with a detour out towards Michigan on the way back as we searched for clear water. There was none to be found. The water was consistently cloudy with visibility at 2ft at best.

The Patriarch and I plan to swim next at 6:30am Thursday morning. Water clarity, day light, and air temps are forecasted to improve....

Hope to see you Thursday!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Adrenaline Rush!

Wow! Monster waves! Scary fun!

We swam yesterday morning, yesterday afternoon, and this morning. Each time the waves were bigger. This morning the lake administered a real thumping. Mike joined Cap'n and me for a rip-roaring ride. We were tossed, flipped, sucked in, spun around, knocked on our butts, and spit out.

Getting out was a struggle against huge waves and currents. When I finally made it onto the beach I looked back to see Cap'n trying to swim against the current. He was going backwards! Hilarious!

I wish I could go again tonight, but I can't. I'll bet the Cap'n could be lured in if anyone wants to give him a holler.

We'll be at Klode at 6:30Am tomorrow (Wed) morning.

P.S. Perry, good to hear from you. I'll bet the surfing is awesome!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday's Showers Don't Slow Dos Locos

Raw...that's the best way to characterize the conditions as The Patriarch and I arrived at Klode on Sunday. Grey skies, a steady rain, an easterly breeze around 10mph and an air temp around 55. Still we couldn't shake the memories of yesterday's phenomenal swim conditions. Determined to swim but respecting mother natures challenge we jumped into our wetsuits in the Klode parking lot. Immune to the rain and cool breeze we ventured confidently down to the beach.

With the current pushing up from the southeast we decided to swim from south beach. While the water was a tad bit cooler than yesterday it was still very inviting...particularly with a wetsuit on. If I had to guess I'd say the water temp was in the 60-62 degree range.

The swim south down from south beach to the stair case was a bit choppy but nothing a determined swim stroke couldn't easily overcome. The water clarity and color remained remarkably enticing although a little cloudier than yesterday...although I'm sure the grey skies didn't help matters.

The return trip to south beach was virtually effortless. Even a half hearted swim stroke was enough to propel you forward like a torpedo. In total today's adventure lasted approximately 45 minutes.

The Patriarch and I plan to log our next adventure from Klode at 6:30am Monday. Anyone interested in joining us?


Bonus Swim

Saturday morning Cap'n and me did the Lapham Peak Colorama run, and then headed to the beach.  We were astonished to find warm, perfectly clear water.

In we went, without wetsuits.  We swam 3/4 mile before we started to get chilled and figured it was time to get out.  Here are some pictures:

We headed to the Capn's hideout, where the chill quickly faded in his hot tub.  A bottle of champagne and a couple of shots of Killepitsch also helped.

This was meant to be our end-of-the-season celebration, but of course we'll keep going until my whiskers freeze.  We both have plans and the forecast is dicey, so I'm not sure what time we'll go today, sometime later in the afternoon probably.  If you're interested, post a comment, or shoot us an email or give us a call. 

Friday, October 3, 2008

Uncharted Territory - Thursday am/pm & Friday am swim update

As The Patriarch and I strolled down to the beach Thursday morning we found ourselves contemplating a new question. Rather than debate whether or not we'll be fortunate enough to log a swim in October we now ponder "how long can we swim into October?" Determined to find the answer we've both sworn a blood oath to continue to try every day until either the Lady of the Lake slumbers into her icy hibernation or The Patriarch's whiskers freeze off. money's on the former.

In sharp contrast to Wednesday the Lake surface on Thursday morning appeared to have been ridden over with a steam roller. The lake appearance was so flat you swore you could see Michigan if looked hard enough. The near shore water was cloudy and cool hovering in the low 60's. The Patriarch and I entered the water clad in our wetsuits and seeking to log a longer swim with the pristine water conditions. The water was a pleasant reprieve from the cold 45 degree air temp. Our swim adventure took us from north beach up to the rockpile and then back down to south beach before returning. Total elapsed swim time was around 45 minutes.

By the time 4:30 had rolled around the air temp had climbed all the way up to the upper 50's. Unable to resist the call of the Lake The Patriarch and I ventured down to Klode beach without our wetsuits. The glass like lake surface and the irresistible turquoise color of the lake were just to inviting to pass up. Without wetsuits we logged a 20 minute adventure from north beach up to the garage and down to south beach before returning to shore. With a water temp barely above 60 the adventure was a 'little' nuts....but does that really surprise anyone? ...we are, however, still pondering why we logged this adventure....

This morning The Patriarch and I arrived at Klode to find gently rolling 1-2 waves coming ashore. Testing our wits this morning, Mother Nature decided to throw her hat into equation. For the first time since beginning our swim adventures this season we could see our breath as we descended down to the beach. The air temp was around 40, the sun was flirting with the horizon and the beach sand felt like ice underneath our toes. Yet the Lady of the Lake once again opened up her playground to us with a water temp flirting with the plus side of 60. Swimming without a wetsuit was tempting....if it weren't for the fact that we could see our breath! :)

Clad in wetsuits we logged a rockpile and back adventure. With a steady current pushing from the northeast our trip up was a bit of work while the return journey was swift. I must admit, it was a bit strange swimming in conditions where it felt better to have your face in the water than out of if.

As The Patriarch's whiskers have yet to freeze off we once again plan to swim from Klode on Saturday. 1pm is the plan. October swim celebration to follow. Anyone up for it?

Hope to see you then!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

Wow...what a day! The much anticipated opportunity to log a swim in Lake Michigan in October finally arrived this morning. As excited as Nahi, The Patriarch and I were to get out for a swim this morning the Lady of the Lake appeared to be even more excited than us as she greeted us with sizable waves in the 2-4ft range and occasionally delivered a monster 5ft+ wave. This morning's swim was certainly going to be more of a mosh pit party than a stroll through the park.

Accompanying the big waves was a grey sky and an air temp hovering in the upper 40's. Despite the feet numbing sand the 3 of us were very pleased to find that the water temp was little changed from yesterday.

Wanting to savor every minute of this morning's swim by spending as much time in the water as possible we each decided to wear our wetsuits....going in without them would have certainly resulted in a much shorter swim with the cold air temp and water temp in the low 60's.

After a few minutes of wading through an onslaught of waves moving quickly in from the northeast we finally succeeded in making it out to our traditional swim start on top of the second sand bar. Our roller coaster like swim this morning took us from north beach up to the rockpile and back and lasted nearly 40 minutes.

After a brief chilled celebration to commemorate this historic swim we were pleasantly surprised to run into Sir James and The Fine Wench. Both were venturing down to also log a historic October dip in the lake. Sticking to their code of never wearing a wetsuit, they logged a successful 10 minute swim without wetsuits. ...very, very impressive! :)

The Patriarch and I will be looking to continue our October Lake Michigan Swim adventures Thursday morning at 6:30am.

Come on out and enjoy the fun!

PS. Swim conditions pending....there are currently rumors that a little beach celebration may occur this weekend...perhaps Saturday afternoon? Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Magic Number is now ONE!

As improbable as it is that we're still able to swim from Klode this late in the season even more amazing is that swimming without a wetsuit is even a consideration.

The warmer / clearer water experienced Monday morning beyond the second sand bar had found its way to shore Monday evening. With the crystal clear water rolling onto shore and a water temp around 65 who could say 'no' to jumping in for a quick swim without being inundated with having to put on a wetsuit. Certainly not me. :)

The water conditions Monday evening turned out to be quite long as you kept moving. Monday's night cap swim adventure lasted for a little more than 20 minutes and included a trip up to the garage from north beach and then a round trip tour of Klode between the north and south beaches.

The air was crisp (48) and the sand cold but Tuesday morning presented Nahi, The Patriarch and I with the same question faced on Monday morning. Log a short swim without a wetsuit...or put on the wetsuits and swim long? With the glowing sun just about to peak over the horizon and a slightly rippled glass like lake surface we couldn't resist the temptation to go long again. So we pulled on the wetsuits and journeyed once again up to 3 piers....this time, the northern most pier of 3 piers. In the end the adventure lasted nearly an hour and covered approximately 1.8 miles.

Pressed for time, we resisted the temptation to jump back in the lake to log a swim without our wetsuits. Both The Patriarch and I plan to return this evening to log this swim. 5:30 at Klode is the plan. Anyone care to join us?

Tomorrow morning Nahi, The Patriarch and I will also be at it again at 6:30am. It'll be a landmark swim...October 1st...need I say more?

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Magic Number is Two

A cool and dreary morning was brightened by a stunning crimson sunrise over the lake. It only lasted a few minutes before the sun hid behind the low cloud deck, but it inspired us to do a much longer swim than we've done in some time.

The water temp is in the low 60's, meaning the choice was a shorter swim without wetsuits or a longer one with wetsuits. We chose the later. We made it to "three piers" and back, about 1.75 miles. We moved at a good clip in the one foot rollers, and both of us were plenty tired and hungry by the time we finished. It's going to be a problem staying awake at work today.

Our plan was to attempt a shorter non-wetsuit swim after work, but I forgot I have a retirement party to attend, so I can't go. But the Cap'n is still game, so if you're interested in a swim tonight, give him a call, or shoot him an email, or post a comment on this blog.

Our magic number is now 2. If we can swim two more days, we've swum continously in five months (June-Oct).

Next swim possibly tonight (contact the Cap'n)
Definitely tommorrow (Tuesday) morning 6:30AM at Klode

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dos Locos Does it yet again...

Despite yesterday's outstanding swim conditions The Patriarch and I were cautiously optimistic about the prospects of being able to swim today. The lake temp websites both indicated that icy cold water had moved in from the north. Determined to continue our streak of swim adventures into October we came prepared with our wetsuits just in case.

As we strolled down to the Klode beach this morning the skies were grey and the wind was blowing steadily from the northeast at 10-15mph. The result was a steady dose of 1-4ft waves. Certainly the conditions were nothing we hadn't swam in before...the only question that remained would be could we tolerate the water temperature.

Surprisingly, as we dipped our toes in the water we did not experience the jolt of icy cold rejection that we were preparing ourselves for. Yes, the water was noticeably colder than yesterday...perhaps somewhere in the low 60's...but now instead of setting our sights on just getting a swim in our minds began to debate the prospects of logging a swim without wetsuits.

Sarcastically I half mused to The Patriarch...'Golly gee, you'd have to be nuts to swim today without a wetsuit...' And that's when it happened. With a half crazed look in one eye and bit of a nervous twitch in the other The Patriarch almost instantaneously replied...'Why that we are!!'

....and at that we were off...leaving our wetsuits behind we cautiously entered the water remembering all to well our prior adventure where the Lady of the Lake knocked us both on our asses as we carelessly plunged into water. The water out to the second and what appears to be an up and coming third sand bar was dark with sand. Just beyond though, the clear blue water could be seen. Encouraging us to press on the sun began to break through the clouds as if to give us the approval to proceed.

Swimming from north beach we had to swim hard just to reach the garage. The waves were rolling and fun but the swift current and rolling seas from the northeast made you earn every inch of progress forward! The cold water was a bit numbing on the feet, fingers and face but at this point nothing was going to deter Dos Locos from this rare opportunity to log a no wetsuit swim...especially with the calendar reading September 28th. The trip up to the garage took nearly 10 minutes. The trip back took a little less then 3.

Tomorrow we plan to do it again. 6:30am at Klode...and perhaps at 4:30 if the conditions in the morning don't allow us to swim. Just 3 more days until October 1st....we can do it! :)


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Exceptional Conditions!

The water conditions were absolutely Fan-tastic Saturday afternoon....especially when you take into consideration the date. The calendar may say it's nearly October but the exceptional swimming conditions would make you think its the end of August.

Today's swim was nearly a carbon copy of last Saturday's. The air temp was a tad bit cooler...upper 70's vs mid-80's...and water temps slightly cooler...upper 60's vs the plus side of 70. Still more than comfortable for logging a long swim without a wetsuit....and a picture perfect day to be on the beach and in the water.

As was the case yesterday the water clarity was pristine. The sandy lake bottom could be easily seen in 15-20ft of water while the color sported a Caribbean like hue.

Today's swim adventure took The Patriarch and I from north beach south down to the sewer pipe and back and included a little sight seeing / treasure hunting along the way. Both on the way out and on the way back we stopped to explore the sunken cannon. With the exceptional water clarity the distinguishing characteristics of the cannon could be easily seen. Nearby we also found other ancient artifacts that have become partially submerged in the lake bottom.

Elapsed time for today's swim was approximately 50 minutes...although to be honest it felt more like 25-30. Visually it appeared as if there was a current moving from south to north but the swim in both directions felt effortless and swift. Perhaps from the excitement of today's treasure hunt?

Sunday's plan is to swim at 10:30am from Klode. Come on out if you can!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Keeping Our Streak Alive!

Yesterday morning we feared that the swim season might be over. The water at Klode was literally ice cold, we did not attempt to swim, even with wetsuits.

But not willing to give up without a fight, we planned to try again in the afternoon. Figuring that the water might be warmer behind the breakwall we ventured to Pirates Cove (a.k.a. Bay View beach). The water was a lot warmer there, comfortable without a wetsuit, however it was so choked with weeds that we only did a short swim, 20 minutes or so.

But the Cap'n still wasn't willing to give up, so he stopped at Klode on the way home where he ran into James. Remarkably enough the water had warmed considerably since the morning and he and James managed a non-wetsuit swim.

This morning it was still warm enough to swim at Klode, but we spent considerable time debating whether or not to swim with wetsuits. We did some of both. Cap'n, Nahi, and me swam to the rockpile with our wetsuits on, then we returned to the beach, took them off and swam to the garage and back. It was a gorgeous day to swim, the water as clear as glass, gentle rollers, a beautiful sunrise over the lake.

So our streak is still alive! Aside from ironman weekend, one or the other of us has swum every day since June 24th, many days more than once. And since July 28th at least one of those daily swims was without a wetsuit. I don't know the exact count, but both Cap'n and me are well over 100 swims each this season. This far exceeds any previous year.

Hopefully we're not done yet! We hope to go to October 1st, five more days.

Next swims:
Tonight (Friday) 4:30PM Klode
Tomorrow (Saturday) Noon Klode

Last chance! We are certainly down to our last few days. Every swim could be our last of the season.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mystery Solved

At Tuesday evening's swim with the Fine Wench and Sir James a common question arose that was curiously presented during the morning swim with Michael and The Patriarch. "Was the warm water coming or going"? While the water temp Tuesday evening was a bit of a shock to the system at first, the three of us were still able to log a 10 minute swim between north and south beaches without a wetsuit.

Sadly, The Patriarch and I found the answer to that question on Wednesday morning...the warm water was GONE. With the assistance of a wetsuit and a bit of insanity The Patriarch and I were able to log a 30 minute swim this morning. Frozen hands, feet and a numb face resulted from the endeavor...the water clarity and amazing sunrise made the adventure worthwhile.

We plan to take the plunge again Thursday morning at 6:30am....hopefully the current polar like conditions will have passed by then. But if the endeavor requires a bit of determination we'll certainly be up for the challenge!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quick Update

Water conditions remained cool Monday evening and supported a 30 minute swim without wetsuits for James, The Patriarch and I. Waves were 1-2ft from the south which made for choppy conditions. Water clarity was exceptional.

Water conditions Tuesday morning were mixed but still supported a 25 minute swim without wetsuits for Mike, The Patriarch and I. Waves remained from the south in the 1-2ft range which again made for choppy conditions. The water inside of the sand bars was stirred up but beyond the 2nd sand bar the clarity was superb. Oddly, in the areas where the water was stirred up the water temp was quite cool...almost uncomfortably cool without a wetsuit...while the areas of exceptional water clarity were considerably warmer. Does this mean the warm water is coming...or going?

There is a group swim planned for 5:45pm Tuesday evening.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn is in the Air

But not in the water, not yet. We're still swimming without wetsuits on the first day of autumn!

Mike and Cap'n and me swam for half a mile this morning. It doesn't sound far, but we were battling big waves and currents, so it was quite a workout. Lots of fun too.

Today's southeast wind should stir up even bigger waves, so we're planning to play after work. Anyone who likes big waves should come out, you never know, it could be our last chance this year.

Today: 4:30 PM Klode
Tomorrow: 6:30AM Klode

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Is this really the 21st of September?

Hard to believe it's already September 21st....and that in just 10 days it'll be October. Ordinarily the 1st of October is no big deal for Lake Michigan swimmers as the season here is typically long since over by that time. Amazingly, our incredible streak of exceptional swimming conditions now has me eyeing up the possibility of continuing our Lake Michigan swim adventures into October!

The sky today was sunny, the air temp was warm but not quite as warm as yesterday. Low 70's vs yesterday's low 80s. Still an exceptional day to be on the beach. Unlike yesterday, Klode beach was relatively deserted despite the beautiful appearance of the lake. Also unlike yesterday, the water was noticeably cooler....mid 60's at best...but still manageable without a wetsuit for those with a hearty sole.

After a little deliberation about whether or not to put on out wetsuits, Josh, The Patriarch and I ventured out for our swim. The plan was to swim from north beach to the garage and take a checkpoint to see if we should return for our wetsuits. The water inside the sand bars was saturated with sand from the waves that were gently rolling to shore. Just outside of the second sandbar the water was exceptionally clear...the difference literally was like night and day and remarkably transition to crystal clear immediately after the second sand bar.

Today turned out to be a classic example peer pressure. The water the certainly cool and not nearly as accommodating as yesterday...but it wasn't cold. As a result, despite the fact that none of us were comfortably warm in the water, it was as if none of us would admit that the water was too cold not to continue our swim towards the landslide / rock wall. So we continued to press on, all the way out to the rock wall before returning to Klode.

With the favorable forecast for continued warm temps and an easterly breeze we are very optimistic that the conditions will at least remain pleasant if not improve. We plan to continue our Klode swim adventures at 6:30am Monday.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mid July?

The calendar says September 20th, and weatherman says cloudy and showers, and the water temp website says the water is cold.  So you might think it was not a good day to swim.

You would be wrong.  It was warm and sunny, the beach packed with people and boats and dogs, the water warm and smooth and clear as glass. 

Cap'n and me did a mile plus comfortably without wetsuits.  It was one of those special days when the water is very clear and you can just enjoy the sandy bottom gliding by.  There are pockets of very cold water, but mostly it was warm, I would say 70 or close to it.  

It feels like mid-July, not mid September.

Tomorrow (Sunday) Noon at Klode


Friday, September 19, 2008

Still Double Dippin' be talk like a pirate day...and ta' celebrate The Patriarch and I logged yet another double dipper day! With echo's still a rumblin' round in our heads of be'in considered yellow bellied we were on a bit of a mission today. Me only remark is that the comment is a bunch of poppycock...but I'll save the rest of me rant fer another time as I can tell this topic still makes The Patriarch's whiskers twitch.

The water temps today were in the mid 60's for this morning's swim and a tad bit cooler (low 60's?) this evening. Certainly more than warm enough for us to support swimming without a wetsuit. The skies were clear and the sunshine was plentiful. Morning air temp was around 60 while the evening was in the mid 70's....although a light easterly breeze made the afternoon temp feel a bit cooler. The water was a bit cloudy but the color remained exceptionally enticing as always.

This morning's swim adventure took us from South beach down to the sewer pipe and back. Approximate swim time was about 30 minutes and total distance covered was on the plus side of 3/4 of a mile. The current and rolling waves were pushing up from the south which made the return trip this morning a breeze.

The motivation for this evening's swim was a bit elusive....addiction, ego, insanity or perhaps just because we could...regardless, we took the plunge around 5pm and swam for about 15 minutes. The voyage took us north from north beach up to the garage and back. The waves last weekend have apparently enhanced the size and width of the sandbars so our route took us out quite a bit from shore....or perhaps it took me quite a bit from shore due to an impairment of my navigational skills from recent consumptions of rum.

The Patriarch and I once again plan to continue our Klode beach swim adventures this weekend. Our current plan is:

Saturday: 1pm Klode
Sunday: 12pm Klode

If there's a time that works better for you please comment.

Hope to see you on the beach!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yellow Bellied Laddies!???

Argghhh! Jess be callin Cap'n and me yellow bellied lads for not signing up for her St. Croix open water swim trip. Now we been called nuts, we been called loco, we been called crazy, but we taint NEVER been called yellow-bellied! Dem der is fightin words!

So where be dis impudent wench dis mornin?? Afraid of a wee bit of cold water I'll bet? Me and the Cap'n and Mike donned our wetsuits for the first time since July and did a mile swim in cold and turbulent water.

But den, just not to be yellow-bellied, we took off the damned wetsuits and swam some more. All told we were in the water for almost an hour. Beat dat, wench!

So if ye be tough enough, join us tomorrow (Friday) at 6:30AM.

We'll keep going as long as we can. We'll swim this weekend too, probably later in the day when the air is warmer.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Crystal Clear & Comfortably Cool

The water temp remained comfortably cool Tuesday afternoon / evening. If had to guess I would have placed the water temp around 67-68 degrees. Unlike the past several days the water clarity was absolutely superb.

Joining me at 4:30 was The Patriarch who is now officially back on board for the remainder of the swim season. (Welcome back Duke!) With North beach covered with washed up seaweed and the current moving from south to north we decided to embark on our journey from South Beach. Venturing out once again without wetsuits, Tuesday's voyage would take us from South Beach to South South Beach, northward up to the garage and then back down to south beach. Elapsed time was approximately 40 minutes....which got us out of the water just in time to meet and greet Tuesday second shift group.

The second group was comprised of Jessica, Robin, James, Josh as well as myself....its so hard to say 'no' to an invitation to swim in the lake. :) Swimming without wetsuits, Jessica and Josh swam for approximately 25--30 making it almost to the staircase before turning back. Robin opted to swim northward in a stealthy like fashion and wasn't see for approximately 40 minutes. James, also without a wetsuit, ventured all the way down to Big Bay Beach before coming back. His adventure lasted nearly an hour.

Tuesday's adventure was so much fun Jessica, James, The Patriarch and I all came back for more Wednesday morning at 6:30am. The sunrise was spectacular, the air temp was in the mid 50's and the water was slightly cooler than Tuesday evening....but still definitely manageable without a wetsuit. For the Patriarch and I, our adventure this morning took us from South Beach to South South beach, included a little treasure hunt for the suken cannon before turning around and heading up to north beach before finally heading back to south beach. The adventure lasted approximately 25 minutes. Jessica and James opted for a more traditional route swimming straight south for approximately 10 or so minutes before turning back.

The Patriarch and I plan to continue our Lake Michigan adventures until the Lady of the Lake turns us away. ...we once again plan to be back Thursday morning at 6:30am. Anyone care to join us?


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Breaking News...Swim group at 5:30pm

Plans are currently in motion to organize a Tuesday evening 5:30pm swim group from Klode.


....the Patriarch and I will be there at 4:30 to test the waters....and in all likelihood will join in on the fun at 5:30 too. :)

Hope to see you there!

PS. There is also talk of a 6:30am Wednesday swim as well. Please comment if interested.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Continued Comfortably Cool

With the air temp hovering around 60 and the lake temp website indicating that the water temperature was declining I was worried that I find cold water along the Klode shoreline this afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the water temp had changed very little from yesterday and that I would not need to put on my wetsuit for my lake Michigan swim fix today.

The waves have subsided to gentle 1-2ft rolling swells. Upon first arriving on the beach it appeared that we were once again experiencing a high tide as the waves would frequently wash up and completely surround the north rock pile. Entering the water it was apparent that the high tide like appearance was actually the the result of yesterday's waves flattening the beach front as the slope of the beach into the water was no longer present.

As was the case yesterday the water up to the second sand bar was stirred up and brown with sand. Just beyond the second sand bar the water was a subtle shade of iridescent blue with visibility of about 4-5ft. Strangely, the water beyond the second sand bar was also noticeably warmer....perhaps the result of the conveyor belt and potentially a sign that our days of comfortable water temps are drifting away. :(

Besides this there was not much noteworthy about today's swim. My journey this afternoon took me up to the garage, back down past south beach and then a return to north beach. Relaxing....lonely...and a bit eerily quiet. Total elapsed time was approximately 20 minutes. It was very tempting to make another trip up to the garage...but in the back of my mind I was half hoping I'd find someone in the parking lot to join in on the fun. No luck though....perhaps tomorrow? :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008


No sooner than the instant I opened my car door upon arriving at the Klode parking lot did I hear the deep thunder of waves crashing into the rock piles along the Klode beach front. Peering over the bluff expecting to see the lake surface lined with white capped serpents I was surprised to see none except for the typical white caps that adorn the sand bars just off the beach front.

Anxious to play in the waves, and to log another great swim adventure I dashed down to the beach....which as it would turn out wasn't much of one today. It was like high tide with waves occasionally washing all the way up to the tree line before receding back to the rock pile. Not leaving my gear to chance by placing it along the tree line I decided to place my bag and towel on top of the rocks...surely the high tide (surf) wouldn't rise to the top of a 5 foot tall rock....right?

At first glace from the beach I would have placed the waves in the 2-4ft range. As I waded out into the surf I would soon realize that these waves were bigger....much bigger. Instead of the continual onslaught of waves experienced in the past, these were sporadic...some measuring in the 2-4ft range and then after a pause, where the Lady of the Lake seemingly held back for a moment while reaching back to send forth a whopper of a wave, a series of 6-8ft waves would relentlessly pummel the shore before settling down to become a little more hospitable.

The water was cool but warm enough to swim in without a wetsuit. If I had to guess, I would place the water temp in the mid to upper 60's. The turquoise blue water could be seen just beyond the second sand bar. At first my goal today was just to follow the first sand bar up to the garage and back.

After about 5 minutes of attempting to swim by ducking under, through and over waves I finally conceded that swimming along the first sand bar was just not going to happen. Rather than give up, knowing that the water beyond the second sand bar would be more conducive for swimming I ventured out towards the second sand bar. After several futile attempts to swim over the waves cresting on the second sand bar the waves suddenly if the Lady of the Lake was granting me permission to swim. I would find out was more of a welcome to the Lake Michigan thrill coaster.

The trip up to the garage was surprisingly smooth. After battling the waves along the shoreline the turquoise water was a lot more swim friendly....although a bit of a thrill ride. Never before have I experienced a swim where the waves were gentle yet steep enough to flip my stomach as if I were on a roller coaster ride. At first the sensation caught me by surprise but after a bit I found myself looking forward to the swimming down the backside of these waves.

In what felt like a blink of an eye I made it up to the garage. Ordinarily I would have claimed to have had the current pushing me but as it would turn out the return trip felt equally as fast. Perhaps it was the excitement of swimming the Lake Michigan thrill coaster that made time seemingly stand still.

My return trip to Klode actually took me out further from shore. Not sure if was the result of the current pulling me away from shore or the fact that I was getting carried away swimming up and down the huge swells of water. The situation actually turned out to provide quite the spectacle. While sighting the north beach rock pile a series of large (8ft?) waves rumbled towards shore. Amazingly they actually crashed near the TOP of the rock pile. much for keeping my gear dry by placing it on the rock pile.

Swimming in to shore was an absolute blast! I quickly learned that trying to get past a sand bar in the midst of a series of BIG waves was no easy put it lightly I was absolutely pummelled on both sand bars. It was almost as if the Lady of the Lake were playing gate keeper to the shore...allowing you only to come ashore when she was gracious enough to send forth a series of smaller waves.

In the end, my Lake adventure today lasted a little more than 25 minutes today...although it felt much shorter than that.

Anyone interested in swimming Monday evening? With the cooler morning air temps predicted we'll need to be quite hearty to venture out at 6:30am....but I'm game if anyone else is. :)


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Warmer & Very Pleasant

Linsday, Mathew and I arrived at Klode around 12:15pm under cloudy, rainy skies. The rain that was falling nearly the entire day seemingly halted the moment I stepped out from my car. The air temp was around 75 and the wind was non-existent...certainly a nice day for a swim.

With yesterday's swim still fresh in my mind I came prepared today with a wetsuit. As it would turn out, the water temps have rebounded to about what they were on Thursday evening. Swimming without a wetsuit would have definitely been possible, but hanging with the group was my goal today.

The water turned out to be absolutely spectacular with only a slight ripple of waves along the surface moving up from the south east. Water clarity was superb....crystal clear for the most part with a slight cloud hanging just above the lake bottom which would sporadically hide the lake bottom. As we swam off of north beach, rather than follow the shoreline today we opted to swim straight towards the beach drive point. This path took us about 200-250 meters from shore at our furthest point.

Upon reaching the rock wall (in just 13 minutes) Lindsay and I paused for a bit to look for Mathew. Assuming he would arrive shortly after us we took the opportunity to see if we could touch the lake bottom...despite wearing wetsuits. Amazingly, even though we were about 200 meters from shore the bottom was only about 12-15 feet down. After a few trips to the lake bottom there was still no sight of Mathew. We swam a bit towards shore...still no sign. We even sent up water 'smoke' signals by plunging our hands in the water to create huge plumbs of water spouts. ....still no sign.

So we decided to swim out a little further. We ventured to the end of the rock to no avail. Perhaps we'll find him on the way back? The journey out at this point took nearly 20 minutes of swimming. The return trip took nearly 25 minutes of continuous swimming...except for one instant near the 'garage' when Lindsay ventured too close to shore and was tackled by a wave as it crested over the first sandbar....I did manage to catch the entire incident out of the corner of my eye and I must admit, it was pretty comical. :)

Lindsay and I arrived back at Klode and there was still no sign of Mathew. We were baffled...but not concerned. Surely he'd return soon. ...and that he did....coming in straight from Michigan. As it turns out his route took him half way to Michigan before receiving direction from the Lake fairy that he was half way to Michigan. ....err, at least I think that's what he said.

In all, the conditions today were absolutely phenomenal!

Anyone interested in coming out to play Sunday? Perhaps at 10:30 or after the Packer game around 3:30?


"Cooler" - Friday evening Swim Report

Excited to get back into the lake after Thursday evening's most excellent swim adventure...and a bit pinched for time leading up the TriWisconsin Post Ironman Party...I rushed down to the Klode beach front around 4pm with nothing more than a towel, goggles and swim cap in hand. With the muggy / warm conditions we were experiencing Friday afternoon the thought of cooler water temps didn't even enter my mind....perhaps I've been spoiled by the last 40+ days where a wetsuit wasn't required.

Needless to say I was a bit surprised when I dipped my toes into the water....but not shocked. The water temp was certainly cooler than Thursday but not unbearably cold. If I had to guess I would have placed the temp around 62...certainly not unbearable...but without a wetsuit the swim certainly would be a bit more of a challenge.

Itchin' for a lake swim fix I decided to give it a try...rationalizing that I can always swim shallow and get out if I get too cold. According to the Captn's code, when swimming north from 'north beach', to log an official swim one must swim at least up to the 'garage' and back. So that would be my goal for today.

The near shore water was murky, stirred up from the frequent rolling waves coming ashore. Approximately 50-75 meters from shore (which coincidentally is near the second sandbar) the turquoise blue water could be easily seen...even with the grey skies. As tempting as it was to swim out to the blue water for today's journey I struck a rare vein of sanity and decided to follow the first sandbar which lies approximately 15-20 meters from shore for the voyage up to the garage.

The skin on the arms and chest tingled at first but after a minute or two of brisk swimming I was pleased to find that my internal heater was working just fine. After about 5 minutes of swimming through the small waves breaking around the sand bar I arrived at the garage. 'Ah, that wasn't too bad' I thought to myself as I turned around to swim back to Klode.

With the angle of the waves the journey back was a bit choppier. Enticed by calmer, blue water I decided to venture out deeper....perhaps a sign that either my confidence was building or my sanity was leaving. Consistent with my swim out, the voyage back to Klode also took 5 minutes....for a grand total of 10 minutes of swimming. Unfulfilled I contemplated extending my swim down to south beach and back....while I was starting a get cold certainly it was nothing a little brisk swimming couldn't fix...right???

So I pressed on....swimming in the beautiful blue water out past the second sandbar. (Editor's note: much for sanity.) ...with echo's in my head of the Patriarch proclaiming "what are we nuts???" I rationalized that the blue water was easier and warmer to swim through than the murky water and that it was safer to swim out in the blue water as it was a safe distance from the Klode rock piles....which obviously, since I am still here today, must be true.

Upon reaching the Klode south beach the tingle of my skin felt earlier had returned. So I turned around quickly and began my stretch for home. Forging ahead and visioning a Phelps like final kick to the finish line I quickened my stroke and began to kick harder. Oddly, despite the increased effort, I felt as if I was making little progress....which was probably true.

While I don't proclaim to be a swim coach, nor do I play one on tv, I've heard Josh mention to me on several occasions that swimming has a lot more to do with efficiency than strength and power. So after what felt like an eternity of going nowhere I decided to take a new approach. ....'NO', not go directly ashore as I should have probably done...but I relaxed and swam easy conceding that the situation "is what it is" and that enjoying the moment is why I ventured out for today's swim in the first place.

The round trip from the Klode north to south beach took nearly 10 minutes but happily I found my way back to shore....and very uncharacteristically, without any hesitation. Shivering nearly uncontrollably and with my swim cap and goggles still on my head I walked briskly back to my car. Along the way I encountered the Whitefish Bay HS Cross Country team with coach and personal friend Mike Miller. Without so much as a 'hello' or 'hey how are you' Mike yelled back as he ran past with his team..."you're nuts Ted!"

Which may be true...but I'd like to think that I'm just hopelessly addicted. With that in mind I'll be looking forward to my next Lake Michigan swim time with a WETSUIT. :)

Who's game?


Friday, September 12, 2008

Thursday Evening Swim Report

Quite the energized crew showed up for Thursday evening's 6pm swim. Jessica, Kimberly, James, Jason, Josh, Pete and of course myself who couldn't resist the opportunity to double dip. The waves were considerably smaller than this morning but were much more frequent. As a result the conditions could best be characterized as a bit 'choppy'.

The water temp remained pleasantly on the cool side...perhaps in the upper 60's. Most of us took the plunge without wetsuits and those that did (2) only did so in preparation for upcoming triathlons. As the waves were pushing up from the south we swam south from the Klode south beach. We all entered the water together but with Kimberly leading the way the entire group disappeared within a matter of seconds. ...humbling...even with a wetsuit I doubt I could hold their pace....but that's why we train right?

Swimming conditions were pleasant. The water was cloudy but the color remained blue. By the time we started our voyage the sun has already set behind the bluff which meant that we didn't have to contend with sun glare while attempting to sight along the shoreline.

My adventure this evening lasted a little more than 30 minutes and took me down to the 'sewer pipe' and back. For everyone else, their journey would take them down past 'flat rock' to the historic stone wall and back and would last nearly 50 minutes. Once back on the beach everyone marvelled at how pleasant the swimming conditions were and what a fantastic workout was had by all.

Upcoming Plans:
Tentative plans for a group swim Saturday from Klode. Afternoon?
(Of course the Capt'n will be out there sometime Friday afternoon as well.)

Please comment if you have a preferred swim time for Saturday or Sunday.

Hope to see you out there!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Good News & A Tale of Two Swims

Gone from the Klode shoreline Wednesday evening was the seaweed that had covered 3 of the 4 Klode beaches. Certainly the result of house cleaning being performed by the Lady of the Lake as she summoned a brisk easterly wind (10-15mph) and choppy 1-2 ft waves that continually mopped the shoreline.

The water remained comfortably warm enough to swim without a wetsuit. In a rush to get to the TriWi track workout I only had time to log a 20 minute swim. A brisk current from the south pushed me effortlessly well past the garage in what felt like an instant...although in reality it was more like 5 minutes. The swim back took a bit longer but but still left me with a little time to kick around the Klode bay area before having to come back ashore. ...I must admit, I still find it a bit weird exiting the lake to find the air temp cooler than the water if it wasn't challenging enough to pull myself away from the playground to begin with. :)

THURSDAY MORNING The Patriarch, David and I arrived at Klode to witness an absolutely spectacular sunrise. The air temp was around 60 and the winds were light from the south east. The water wasn't nearly as choppy as last night but the waves were a bit larger. I would approximate they were in the 1-3ft range and characterize the waves as rolling rather than rough.

The water color was absolutely brilliant....appearing a very translucent turquoise that seemingly danced in the color sunrise. The water was a bit cooler than Wednesday night but still warm enough to support taking the plunge without a wetsuit. As the current remained from the south we decided to swim south from south beach.

Our journey this morning consisted of a swim from the Klode South beach to the beach just south of south beach. (aka 'south south beach') The waves were fun, frequently giving you the sensation that you were swimming up and then down a slope before beginning the cycle again. The brilliance of the water color remained exceptional throughout the swim.

Not getting enough upon arriving back at Klode we continued our swim up to the Klode north beach before turning around and heading back to south beach and calling it a swim.

NEXT SWIM: 5:30pm tonight (Thursday evening.)

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Still no wetsuit required!

Itching for a lake Michigan swim fix I ventured down to the Klode beach late this afternoon with wetsuit in hand. With the cooler air temps the last few nights and the cooler water conditions experienced early last week I was half expecting the lake temps to have begun their downward plunge. Much to my surprise the water temp was actually warmer today than it was last week!

There was a slight down side to the conditions tonight though...3 of the 4 Klode beaches are covered with washed up seaweed. Remarkably, south beach remains completely clean....which I'm sure there's a good theory to support why, but I'll save that for another day.

The water at south beach as well as just off the other Klode beaches was for the most part clear to slightly cloudy. With the setting sun behind the bluff, the shadows of the trees and the glare of sunshine in your eyes made it difficult to judge the water clarity. The water was certainly blue and no where near the murky brown The Patriarch and I encountered last Thursday.

My adventure (...or what turned out to be my first adventure this evening...) took me from South beach north up to the garage and back. A little tired yet from the Ironman I decided to come back ashore after about 25 minutes. With the water temp considerably warmer than the air I must admit it was a bit a struggle to pull myself out.

Upon arriving back at my car I was surprised to hear a few familiar voices. Jessica, James and Josh had just arrived to head out for a swim. Following later would be Kimberly. All 3 ventured out for a 30 minute swim without wetsuits...leaving me onshore contemplating whether or not to log a 'double dipper'. After a few minutes I conceded and charged back into the water....after all, the water was warmer than the air. :)

My second adventure took me south from south beach down to the 'sewer pipe'. With the sun tucked completely behind the bluff there was no longer any doubt regarding the clarity of the water as the sandy lake bottom could be easily seen in 10 feet of water.

Itching for another Lake Michigan fix Jessica and Josh are again planning to swim from Klode Thursday evening at 5:30pm. (...of course it goes with out saying that the Patriarch and I will be there!)

Hope to see you then...if not tomorrow! :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Good Luck to All Ironman and Big Shoulder Participants

I'm very bummed to report that I won't be doing Big Shoulders.  But not as bummed as my daughter Melanie who will undergo surgery Saturday morning to screw together a stress fracture in the neck of her femur.

I'm happy to say she will be getting the best of care.  The surgery will be done at Vanderbilt Medical Center, where she works, one of the best hospitals in the country.  And the surgeon is one of the most experienced in this operation.  A full recovery is expected.  

So Gelaney and I are heading to Nashville to be with her and her husband.  I won't be back until Wednesday at least, and Cap'n will be in Madison Friday through Monday, so there won't be any swim plans or blog reports for the next few days.

We're getting near the end of the season, so hopefully there will be some swimming left when I return.  But if not today's roller coaster ride was a fitting finale (see previous post from Cap'n).

Good luck to all at Ironman and Big Shoulders!  

Hopelessly Addicted...or Completely Nuts???

The Patriarch and I arrived at Klode this morning under grey skies, drizzle, temps in the low 60s and a brisk east wind. The thunder of waves could be heard crashing into the Klode beach rock piles. ...certainly not a very pleasant morning for a swim.

Hesitantly we peered over the bluff and saw the lake surface lined with impressively sized white capped serpents. Reluctantly we turned around and slowly walked back to our cars...agreeing that it would not be wise to venture out for a swim in such turbulent conditions.

Before we could climb back into our cars our optimism took over. Perhaps the seas weren't as rough as they appeared from the bluff? As there was only one way to find out for sure we agreed to venture down to the beach to find out. We arrived at the beach amazed to find the surf was actually a lot rougher than it appeared from the bluff. The waves were enormous, washing clearly up to the tree line…certainly swimming in such conditions would be completely insane!

So we turned back and somberly walked back to the stair case….bummed was certainly an understatement. As we took the first few steps up the stair case we both could could hear the Lady of the Lake calling out to us….'Wimps!' The expression on the Patriarch's face turned as instantly as mine…with a big grin on both of our faces we unanimously agreed…we're not wimps….let's go play!!

So that we did…. Tucking our gear behind the tree line and pulling our swim caps over our heads we marvelled to each other…"we must be completely nuts!" Arrg…that we are! …and with crazed smile on our faces we CHARGED towards the lake.

This turned out to be one of those occasions where I would have loved to have had a video camera. As the Patriarch and I rushed into the lake determined to respond to the challenge presented by the Lady of the Lake we were suddenly both knocked backwards onto our asses as the first wave completely pummelled our charge. It was absolutely hilarious…with a stunned grin on his face the Patriarch proclaimed…."so that's how you want to play!" We picked ourselves up and proceeded back into the lake….this time with a little more resolve. be continued....

...and now, the conclusion....

Determined to conquer the challenge presented by the Lady of the Lake we jumped over, dove through and swam over the waves. After a few fun filled minutes we finally succeeded to get past the first sand bar approximately 20 feet from shore. The second sand bar was just a bit ahead about we dare attempt to venture out to it? The waves crashing over the second bar were very impressive, essentially dwarfing us....when you're standing in 4 feet of water and see a wave measuring another 4-5 feet about your head it's easy to become intimiated. But with visions of the Hawaii-Five-O intro dancing through my head....both the Patriarch and I were determined to play.

A wise man once said "if you can't beat them....join them!" So rather than attempt to conquer the waves pummelling the second sand bar we decided to ride them in to shore.....or shall I say, body surf. Oh what fun!!

Despite the temptation to play all day...we did decide to officially log a swim this morning. The water temp was perhaps in the mid-to-upper 60's, the water clarity was non-existant, the relentless waves measured 4-6ft and the current was swift from the north. As we attempted to swim north it was as if we were in an endless pool. (No lie!) Out of concern that we'd be propelled back into the Klode north beach rock pile we swam along the first sand bar so that we could stand when ever we felt as if we were making negative progress....or after being pummeled by a wave.

It took about 5 minutes of strong swimming but we finally managed to reach the drain spout approximately 75 meters from north beach. The trip back....took just seconds....what a rush!

Reluctant to exit the water this morning we surfed a few more of the waves before finally calling it a swim.

Future swim plans? ...currently uncertain. The Patriarch will be out of town for a few days and I will be in Madison until Monday evening for the Ironman. We hope to resume our Lake Michigan Swim Adventures next Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cinco Locos

Wow! The 36th straight day without a wetsuit! There may not be too many more, though. Our little corner of the lake is cooling down.

Yesterday evening Cap'n and Larry and me swam for about half a hour in moderate chop. It was cooler than the previous days, but still comfortable once we got going.

This morning it was a couple degrees cooler yet. Cap'n, me, James, Jessica, and Dom knew as soon as we dipped our toes that it was going to be one tough swim. I'm thinking that if any one of us had been there alone, we'd have all backed down. But of course no one was going to be the first to wimp out, so off went five brave (or crazy) swimmers, none of us in wetsuits.

Once past the shock of the initial plunge, we actually were OK. I would not say it was comfortable, but it was definitely bearable. We got to the garage and decided to keep going a while. Since most of us are tapering for either Ironman or Big Shoulders we didn't go all the way to the rockpile (good excuse, hey?). We swam a total of 25 minutes. I have to congratulate everyone for hanging in there, we are one tough group of dudes!

I checked the web, and it appears the water in Chicago is still very warm, so hopefully it will stay that way until Saturday's Big Shoulders swim.

Clearly the lake swim season won't last much longer, but we'll keep going as long as we can, even if we have to haul out the wetsuits again (ugh!). But you never know, it could warm up again, most of the lake surface water is still warm and the right wind could blow it our way.

Tonight (tentatively - we'll see what the weather is) 4:30 PM Klode
Tomorrow, Thursday definetly 6:30AM Klode

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Keeping us on our toes...

With the recent stretch of phenomenal swimming conditions it becomes easy to forget how quickly the lake temps can change. With the warm water temps we experienced yesterday and the air temps forcasted to be around 90 today who could blame us for expecting a continuation of our recent streak of exceptionally warm water.

...but if it's one thing the Patriarch and I have learned from all our Lake Michigan swimming adventures its never take anything for granted. Yet when Sandy, Nahi, The Patriarch and I arrived on the Klode beach this morning we were a bit surprised to find cooler water temps. Not cold...but cool....and still bearable for Sandy, The Patriarch and I to swim without the assistance of a wetsuit. Nahi, now in his Ironman taper, appeared to be a bit relieved that his workout today required that he swim in his wetsuit...with a smug grin on his face he placed the blame squarely on his coach for requiring him to wear his wetsuit rather than give in to the peer pressure to go without.

Undeterred by the cooler water temps Sandy and Nahi logged a 'rockpile' and back loop while the Patriarch and I...who are both tapering for big weekend events...swam 3/4 of the way to the 'rockpile' before returning.

If I had to guess, I'd place the water temp this morning in the upper 60's vs the mid 70's we enjoyed over the weekend. With today's forecasted high around 90 and with plentiful sunshine we are very optimistic that the cooler water temps will be only momentary. We again plan to head out from Klode at 4:30pm.

Upcoming Plans:
Tuesday: 4:30pm Klode
Wednesday: 6:30am Klode

See you on the Beach!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pictures From Labor Day Swim
Tuesday: 6:30 AM Klode Beach

Great Turnout

We had our biggest group swim of the year this morning. In total 11 swimmers took the plunge from the Klode South Beach around 10:30am. Unfortunately I don't recall everyone's name but familiar faces included Jessica, Kimberly, Robin, Dom, Josh, Mathew, Mike, Phil and the Patriarch....guess that means I remembered everyones name except for one. apologies to Jessica's now nameless guest. :)

As was the case the past 3 days, the weather and water conditions remained absolutely spectacular. Sunny skies, temps around 80, light breeze from the south, comfortably warm water temp and beautifully crystal clear water.

The light breeze from the south created 1-2ft waves rolling in from the south east....which were very similar to the ones experienced at the end of our swim the past few morning's. As a result, we swam south first so that we could enjoy a nice push home. It didn't take long for Jessica, Josh, and Kimberly to swim out of sight as we started our swim....their journey would take them just south of 'flat rock'. For the rest of us our adventure would take us up to the 'staircase' which is approximately a 1/2 mile from the Klode south beach.

As expected the swim back to Klode was very swift as the current and waves would rock you slightly backward and then propel you forward like a sling shot....back & f-o-r-w-a-r-d and back & f-o-r-w-a-r-d..... As I'm writing this I can still feel the rhythm in my head when I close my eyes.

We all arrived back at Klode with stories to share....such as how Jessica swam circles around Josh and how Josh took one out of the Pirate's handbook by telling Jessica and Kimberly to look behind them as he sprinted out ahead. (editors note: the Capt'n now and then has been known to take a few liberties with the stories he shares...)

The Patriarch's first mate did take a few snap shots of today's group. Stay tuned for a future post with these pics.

Upcoming Swim Plan:
Tuesday: 6:30am Klode

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Deja vu

....well, it was sort of like deja vu this morning. The sun was shining, the air temp was climbing into the 80s and there was a slight wind from the south....ahhh, a perfect day for a swim. Upon arriving on the north Klode beach we were delighted to find the water conditions to be a carbon copy of yesterday....crystal clear and comfortably warm....certainly the best swimming conditions of the summer!

While the conditions were essentially a xerox of yesterday's, our group wasn't. Josh was nowhere to be found. The Patriarch, Robin and I were joined by Jessica, Mathew and Phil. As was the case yesterday I could hear the Lady of the Lake tempting us to log another great adventure....perhaps a Klode to Beach Drive swim....or a Klode to Big Bay to Klode to Big Bay adventure....or perhaps a... The temptation was great but we turned a deaf ear and stuck to our guns and went out for our traditional rockpile and back loop.

As we swam out from shore it took but a blink of an eye for Jessica to leave us far behind....deja vu from the experience we had with Josh yesterday. Robin and Mathew opted for more of a non-traditional route to the rockpile swimming nearly half way out to Michigan before angling back the rockpile. The Patriarch and I, content with sightseeing along the sandbar, opted to follow more of a straight line along the shoreline up to the rockpile.

As we arrived at the rockpile we found Jessica swimming backstroke between the landslide and the to celebrate our arrival we all decided to join in with our own variations of what some call the backstroke. I would liken my backstroke to more of a dying man's flail than a stroke but the nice thing about any stroke you do on your back is that you don't notice if anyone is laughing at you.

After frolicking around a bit we decided to venture back to Klode. Similar to yesterday the winds and current seemingly picked up from the south as we ventured towards Klode....thus creating more of a ripple of waves and presenting a little more of a challenge to maintain your stroke. Despite the challenge we still made good time back to Klode....some swifter than others but still certainly faster than a leisurely stroll through the park.

Tempted to continue our swim down to 'south, south beach' to search again for the sunken cannon to we opted instead to call it a day. Rest assured, we'll be at it again tomorrow though...hope to see everyone then!

Current plan is to swim Monday at 10am. Please respond if a different time works better for you.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Shot Out of a Cannon

Cap'n and I egg each other on in different ways, so that we each do stuff we wouldn't do normally.  The other day, for example, I convinced him to do a lunchtime dash-n-splash to Bradford Beach. 

Today it was his turn to instigate.  I had suggested a Klode to Big Bay swim, and his reply was "and back!".  I said, "Are you nuts?  Two and a half miles in Lake Michigan without a wetsuit!?".

He insisted.  I gave a noncommittal, "Let's see when we get to flat rock".

So off we went, accompanied by Josh and Robin.   Josh was quickly far ahead of us, out of sight.

It was probably the best swimming conditions we had all summer in terms of water quality and temperature.  I don't know the actual temp, but it had to be well into the 70s.  And it was so clear you could probably see 100 feet along the bottom.

About 200 meters into the swim I spotted something odd on the bottom in about 7-8 feet of water.  At first we thought it was some sort of kids toy.  But we dove down and saw it was made of steel!  It looked like a cannon! It had wheels and a barrel.  But the end of the barrel was buried in the sand so I can't say for sure.  Whatever it was, how did something like that get out there?  (Crackpot theories welcome!). 

We continued on, stopping a couple times to climb on and jump off the rocks from the crumpled cement piers along the shore.  And we stopped to admire some of the biggest and oldest north shore mansions up on the bluff.  They are even more impressive from the lake side.

We got to "flat rock" and ran into Josh already on his way back from Big Bay (meaning he was at least 3/4 mile ahead of us).  

At this point I expected Cap'n to stop ask if we should continue on to Big Bay or head back.  He didn't say a word, he just continued swimming towards Big Bay.  It was such a beautiful day how could I refuse the challenge?  With current against us, and with all the screwing around, it took us over an hour to reach Big Bay from Klode.  Robin was already there. 

We walked out onto the beach for a minute and then headed back.  Getting more serious now, and with southerly waves and currents building behind us, we headed back at a much faster pace. It felt like we had been shot out of the lake cannon!  Only 45 minutes back to Klode.  Josh was there, having shaved, showered, taken in a movie, and eaten lunch.  (A little humility is good for Cap'n and I.)

Tomorrow (Sunday) we plan a 10AM swim at Klode, and then we'll go out for lunch.  Please join us!  This will definitely be a shorter swim, no matter what Cap'n says.

P.S.  I formally apologize to Mr. Josh Gordon Esquire, swimmer extraordinaire, for the "vicious slur" (his words) of insinuating in a previous post that he swam one day in a wetsuit.  It's bad enough he kicks our butts, we have to apologize too!  Cheeeezzzz


Friday, August 29, 2008

Continued very pleasant conditions...

Swim conditions this morning continued to improve. As was the case yesterday, the Patriarch, Robin and I arrived on the beach at 6:30am this morning to find that we were not alone. Several swimmers had already taken the plunge and found out for themselves how beautiful the conditions were today.

The lake surface was calm with only an occasional ripple to interrupt it's glass like appearance. Water clarity continued to improve although remained a bit cloudy...occasionally you could see the bottom if it was less than 6ft down. The water temp remained warm enough to get by without a wetsuit although it may have been a tad bit cooler again than last night.

Our journey this morning again was very smooth and swift taking us up to the rockpile and back. As was the case yesterday, we found it difficult to part ways with the lake upon returning to Klode so we continued our swim from north beach to south and then back before pulling ourselves reluctantly out of the water.

Upcoming Plans:
Saturday: 11am
Sunday: TBD
Monday: TBD

We love to swim with others so please let us know if you plan on coming out to Klode this weekend and if you have a preferred start time....we're VERY flexible. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Triple Dip

Today was one of our most fun days yet - a triple dip day.  The morning swim is described by the Cap'n in the previous post.  And then I finally convinced him to join me in a dash-n-splash to Bradford Beach at lunch.  And for the cherry on top we did another mile swim at Klode after work in clear, calm, warm water.  

We're going on 55 straight days in the lake, with double dips on many days, and without wetsuits the last 31 days.  And we still can't get enough!

This summer, as compared to previous summers I've been swimming a lot more and biking and running a lot less.  And I never felt better.  Lake swimming just feels good, none of that achy all over feeling of daily biking and running.  All swimming does is make me ravenously hungry, I can't seem to shovel in enough calories yet I'm not gaining weight.   

Life is good. 

Tomorrow (Friday): 6:30AM Klode

We'll also be looking to set up swims every day this Labor Day weekend, if anyone has preferred time and place let us know.  We want to do at least one longer swim.  

Then next week we'll be backing down the mileage because next weekend Cap'n has Ironman and I have Big Shoulders. 

Delightful Swimming Conditions

The lake conditions this morning were starkly different from the past few mornings....and very similar to what we experienced with last night's Klode north beach to sewer pipe and back swim.
Gone were the Big waves, strong currents and accumulated gunk along the shore. Instead we experienced clear and very warm water temps with water visibility ranging from 3-6ft. The water surface was slightly rippled with sporadic 1ft waves moving up from the south from a barely noticeable light breeze.

The Klode beach this morning was a popular place. As the Patriarch, Robin and I arrived on the scene at 6:30am several swimmers had already taken the plunge into the lake. Soon after starting we encountered Lindsay and David. After completing a very swift swim to the 'rockpile' and back we also greeted Erin, Mathew and Greg before continuing our delightful swim around the Klode beach bay until conceding to the fact that we had day jobs that needed to be tend to.

....not too despair though....The Patriarch and I plan to continue our adventures again at 4:30pm at Klode (weather permitting.)

Upcoming Swim plans:
Thursday: 4:30pm Klode
Friday: 6:30am Klode....although we are flexible...if anyone is interested in going earlier just let us know.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gentle Giants

It's been a tale of two swims this week...morning swims have had big waves rolling onto shore and challenging swim conditions....evening swims have had smaller / gentler waves rolling onto shore and easier swim conditions. The morning water temps have also been just a tad bit cooler (perhaps the result of the cooler overnight temps?) whereas the afternoon water temp has been very, very comfortable....although both certainly manageable without a wetsuit.

This morning appeared to be once again similar to the last 2 with enormous waves crashing onto shore....I know I've said this before, but these waves really were the biggest and best waves for body surfing.

We would soon discover great news....all the seaweed and gunk that was lining the shore the past two mornings was completely gone. The waves have certainly stirred up the water but no where to be found this morning were the rocks, seaweed and other miscellaneous crap that tested your determination to get out for a swim.

Just beyond the second sand bar from the Klode beach the conditions were considerably different than the previous two mornings. Instead of sporadic white capped sea serpents and rougher waves this morning Eric, Linda, John, The Patriarch and I found larger waves gently rolling toward shore. Oh what FUN the conditions turned out to be...seriously, a very pleasant surprise!

Swimming out beyond the sand bars we were able to swim up, over and then back down the waves....or for a change of pace you could occasionally slice right through the larger waves. Admittedly the adventure this morning wasn't pure pleasure...with the waves and current pushing from the south the return trip to Klode required a bit of effort. In the end though, the constantly changing sea scape provided an exhilarating change of pace from our past swims across the calm lake surface. So much so, that upon reaching the Klode north beach the Patriarch and I decided to do it we embarked on a second garage loop before calling it swim for the morning and body surfing back to shore.

Upcoming plans:
Wednesday: 4:30pm Klode
Thursday: 6:30am Klode

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

It was a pleasant evening, so I left my east facing bedroom windows open. When I awoke the curtains were blowing and I could hear a low roar coming from the east. Could that really be the lake? I live 3/4 of a mile away!

Yes, it was. Driving to Klode, I went around the curve at Big Bay beach, where you can see all of Whitefish Bay. This morning it was Whitecap Bay!

Nahi, the Cap'n and me had to really fight through the surf to get past the sandbars to where you could actually swim. Sort of. Sometimes you reach out to stroke and grab nothing but air. Other times your arm can't even get out of the water because it's being swamped by the waves.

What a ride! We swam out to the "garage", and Cap'n and Nahi decided to keep going. I thought they were nuts. I turned back and played in the surf near the beach. When I saw them coming back to the beach I swam out to meet them. The waves pushed us up onto the shore like driftwood. Wow! It's a good thing the Klode beach has such a wide expanse of sand, it's not easy to control exactly where you come to shore.

Swimming in these huge waves is fun and scary all at the same time, sort of like a huge roller coaster. It's as much a mental game as a physical one. But it sure is a lot of fun.

The only bad part is that there's lots of algae or seaweed in the shallow water near the shore, and it seems to want to cling to every hair on your body. It takes forever to pull it all off. (Out further the water is very clean.)

But a little seaweed isn't going to stop us. We'll be at it again this afternoon and tomorrow morning. The nearshore marine forecast says the waves will be even bigger!

Klode 4:30PM today (Tuesday)
Klode 6:30AM tomorrow (Wed)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Increasing the Ante

At first glance this morning's conditions looked very similar to yesterday's....a light easterly wind, the sun peaking out from behind a smattering of clouds in the sky, a water temp slightly warmer than yesterday and frequent waves rolling in. Upon a closer inspection The Patriarch, David and I would find the conditions to be considerably more challenging than yesterday.

While yesterday's swim could be compared to a rolling country side ride this today's adventure was more like mountain bike ride through a rock query. The waves this morning ranged form 2-4ft....although the occasional 2ft wave (...notice the intentional singularity...) was more of gracious reprieve being offered by the Lady of Lake before she would unleash an onslaught of 4ft waves. The challenge this morning wasn't to maintain your swim was to have one at all. In a weird kind of way, it was fun.

As we swam northward toward the 'rockpile' the onslaught of waves constantly demanded attention...reminding you that if you didn't pull hard with your stroke the waves would send you rolling back to shore. If you've ever swam in the middle of 3000 people (such as at the start of an Ironman) you could probably relate to this morning's conditions....just when you think you've found your groove...wham!

While our elapsed time to the 'rockpile' and back wasn't stellar this morning it was certainly our best strength workout of the season. ...with tired arms, aching shoulders and a huge grin on our faces we climbed onto the Klode beach with the roll of the sea still permeating in our heads...oh, what a rush!! Anyone up for going again???

Upcoming Adventures:
Monday: 4:30pm
Tuesday: 6:30am

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Blended Swim

Even though the Patriarch and I swam at different times in and at different locations on Saturday we both had the same report.....

3pm Saturday Klode - clear and calm seas with pockets of warm and pockets of cooler water. With the air temps in the mid 80's and an abundance of sunshine to warm you up the cooler water pockets were definitely much so, Robin and I completed the 1.7 mile journey up to 'three piers' and back.

7pm Big Bay - clear & calm with pockets of warm and cold water. Despite the morning 2.4 mile adventure in Lake Monona the Patriarch kept his streak of consecutive swimming days in Lake Michigan alive with a 15 minute swim.

Today's 10am Klode report...frequent 1-3ft rolling waves from easterly winds, clear water conditions (especially at the rockpile) and one consistent water temp. Gone today were the pockets of warm and cool water. The waves have apparently blended everything together resulting in cooler water temps than we have been enjoying the past 3 weeks....but still definitely warm enough to support a 40 minute swim to the 'rockpile' and back without a wetsuit.

Today's adventure for David, Robin, the Patriarch and I once again tested our swimming efficiency and determination as we did battle with a few white capped serpents....while they didn't measure nearly as tall as the ones last week their frequent nature made you work with every stroke.

Monday's Swim Plan - 6:30am Klode