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

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hey Buddy You've Got Two More Buoys

This morning I did the 2.4 mile Lake Monona swim on the Ironman course.  

There were two races to choose from, the wetsuit race for triathletes practicing for ironman (who else would wear a wetsuit in 80 degree water?), and the "championship" race for competitive swimmers.  I am neither, but I figured it would be less humiliating to get my butt kicked by honest-to-God swimmers, so I entered the championship race.

As I crossed the timing mat to get into the water I saw Megan.  Drat!  There went my chance at winning.

My main concern was just being able to swim that far.  But I was surprised how easy it was.  I probably should have tried to swim faster.

The course was rectangular, marked by large buoys at the corners, with smaller buoys in between.  On the backstretch of the second loop I thought I had come to the corner buoy, so I made the turn back to the shore.  Give me some slack here, Patriarchs are known for their wisdom, not their eyesight. 

I didn't get far before I had a guy in a kayak yelling at me, "Hey buddy, you've got two more buoys!".   So now I was even further back in the pack.  No matter, it was great fun!

Megan was the first woman, second overall.  Josh was 4th in his age group.  And I was not last.

Next swim:  Sunday 10AM Klode  


Friday, August 22, 2008

This Morning's Out-Back Trip

G'day Mates....was the greeting The Patriarch and I received as we arrived on the Klode scene this morning. New comer Peter travelled all the way from Australia to participate in the Klode experience. (...actually, Peter has travelled here to compete in Ironman Wisconsin which is now just a little more than 2 weeks away.) New comer Tom also joined in on this morning's swim with Lindsay and Robin.

The sky was grey but the winds were calm. There were a few waves rolling on shore but no where near as frequent or as sizable as yesterday....but still enough to occasionally interrupt your swim stroke if you began to get lazy. The water was clear on shore...the weeds apparently have been reclaimed by the lake with the recent waves. Offshore the water clarity was good...although a bit cloudy. Visibility ranged from 5-8 feet in spots.

The water remained warm enough to get by without a wetsuit but was perhaps a tad bit cooler than yesterday....although its certainly conceivable that this may be solely the result of the grey skies and not the seasonal trend that I would prefer not to think about.

As the Patriarch was preparing for his momentous 2.4 mile swim in Lake Monona tomorrow his out-back journey this morning took him to the garage and back. For the rest of us, our out-back adventure took us up to the 'rockpile'.

Saturday: 3pm Klode (1pm remains a possibility)
Sunday: 10am Klode


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rolling Along....

The winds were blowing gently from the south east and the familiar sound of waves coming onshore could be heard from the Klode parking lot this morning. While the initial impressions suggested a repeat performance of the last 2 days the lake conditions were no where's near as challenging.

Replacing the giant waves from the past 2 days were frequent rolling 1-3ft waves moving in quickly from the south east. Thinking that this could make for a challenging swim southward The Patriarch, David, Robin, Mike and I all unanimously decided to tackle the swim south first.

Water conditions remained comfortably warm and the clarity was much improved from yesterday morning. The near shore water remained stirred up while just 50 meters from shore the turquoise water could be found with about 5 feet of visibility.

We swam from north beach south for a little over 20 minutes which took us to the familiar storm water drain also known as the 'sewer pipe'. Turning around the expectation was that we would fly northward as we did yesterday. This though, did not turnout to be true as the return trip took approximately 20 minutes as well. In the end, the constant rolling waves presented the same challenge to maintain your swim stroke regardless of the direction you were heading.

Bradford Beach Report....The Patriarch did a little lunch time reconnaissance swim at Bradford Beach today. He reports that the scenary was very pleasing to the eyes despite the presence of seaweed for the first 10 feet from shore. The water there too was comfortably warm.

Friday: 6am Klode
Saturday: 3pm Klode (...although 1pm is a possibility if anyone has a preference.)
Sunday: 10am Klode

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Officially Sanctioned Lake Michigan Swim Gear

As mentioned in previous posts, we have an official beer, Bell's Lager of the Lakes:

Now we've found an official swim cap:

Any suggestions for a suit, or a T-shirt, or other gear?

Cap'n and Linda and me had a deee-lightful swim this afternoon.  There was still a big current and some waves, but nothing approaching the bodyslammers we experienced this morning.  All the seaweed that was nearshore is gone too.  The water is clean and very warm.

If anyone is interested in a car pool to the Monona swim Saturday, let me know.

Tomorrow (Thursday) morning 6AM at Klode

X-treme Peaks and Valleys

If you missed out on yesterday's opportunity to play in the waves don't despair, just get out there today!

The winds this morning were blowing gently from the east as The Patriarch and I arrived at the Klode parking lot. The familiar sound of waves crashing into the Klode beach were once again prevalent as we stepped out of our cars. We were greeted by a new comer, Mike, who had heard about our group from a friend. Welcome aboard Mike!

As we journeyed down to the beach the scene was quite similar to yesterdays...a bright red sun peaking over the horizon and a lake surface lined with waves but not white capped serpents. We would soon find out though, that today's adventure would have 3 distinct differences from yesterday.

(1) Upon arriving down on the beach it became obvious that today's waves were considerably taller than yesterday. While yesterday had a smattering of 4-6 foot waves just about everyone of them today towered above the shoreline....perhaps all closer to the 6 foot range.

(2) As we walked the plank into the water instead of being greeted by an occasional high five from the lake were were greeted with frequent pommelling attempts by the lake to welcome us to the warm and playful surf.

(3) Our journey northward to our typical first checkpoint (the 'garage') actually turned out to be more of a skip this morning rather than the normal hop, skip and a jump or yesterday's simulation of an endless pool swim . To be honest, I think I may have blinked and missed the section of water between the Klode beach and the garage. After what felt like just a couple swim strokes I was quite surprised to hear the Patriarch call out...'Garage ahoy Captn't...dere she be!".

The waves and current this morning were pushing hard, from the south west. As a result, the trek from Klode to the garage literally took about 90-120 seconds. The return trip, though, took 7-10 minutes depending on how determined you were to maintain your swim stroke. Much like a puppy dog that persistently pulls on your pant legs and begs to play, the Lady of the Lake this morning continually tugged on our arms and tempted us to skip the swim and just play in the waves.

Oh what fun this morning's swim was! Swimming next to the Patriarch and Mike was a virtual magic you see them, now you don't. The extreme peaks and valleys provided quite a thrill. One second you feel like you're on the top of the beach....then suddenly you're in the land of giant waves and see absolutely nothing but walls of water all around you....what a rush!

Upcoming Patriarch / Capt'n Swim Plans:
Wednesday Evening: 4:30pm Klode
Thursday Morning: 6am Klode

Also, the Patriarch has signed up for the Lake Monona Open Water Swim in Madison this Saturday. Anyone else doing it? I plan to swim mid-day / afternoon at Klode on Saturday if anyone is interested in joining me.

Hope to see you on the Beach!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Distances Between Beaches

Gui asked an interesting question about the distances between north shore beaches. It would be an interesting endeavor to swim all these segments. These are all approximate distances and depend on where exactly you get in and out, and what line you swim (follow the shore or straight across bays), etc. I've starred the ones I've actually done.

Starting from McKinley and going north:
0.5 miles to the south end of Bradford Beach *
0.4 to the north end of Bradford *
2.0 to Atwater
1.6 to Big Bay
1.2 to Klode *
1.9 to the south end of Beach Drive (the witch's house) *
1.4 to Doctors Park
You could keep going obviously, but that's already over 9 miles.

For today's conditions and tomorrow's swim see the preceding post

Work Hard / Play Hard

With visions still dancing around in our heads of last nights swim from Klode under pristine conditions (...which included a glass like water surface, crystal clear water, comfortable water temps...and Nahi without a wetsuit!), the picture this morning was considerably different. Upon greeting Josh, Linda, Robin, Sandy and Patriarch in the Klode parking lot the thunderous crash of waves were hard to ignore. It was obvious without even seeing the water that our experience this morning was going to be quite different than yesterdays.

As we journeyed down to the beach a bright red sun peaked over the horizon to reveal a lake surface lined with large rolling waves. While the sun lit horizon did not reveal any white capped serpents the waves were certainly the largest of the season.

Water conditions remained warm so we all ventured out clad only in swim suits. As we 'walked the plank' out into the water the size and frequency of the waves provided a true test of our determination to swim this morning...we were certainly in for quite the workout this morning.

The waves were large, frequent and rolling in from the north west. As a result, the swim north to garage proved to be quite a test of strength and efficiency...well, at least for the Patriarch and I it was so. For Josh and Sandy it may have been a different story as they certainly made the conditions look a lot more trivial than they were as they effortlessly passed the garage on their way up to the rock pile.

Anxious to realize the spoils of our work the Patriarch and I decided it was time to play upon arriving at the garage. So we turned around and literally flew back towards the Klode beach. Whippee, what a ride! The journey back unfortunately only seemed to last but a few seconds. Unfulfilled, I turned around and traversed the route again....swimming hard up to the garage and then enjoying the ride home.

Tuesday noon - the Patriarch may be back for more with a swim from Bradford
Wednesday 6am - Swim from Klode

Anyone else planning to come out and play? :)


Monday, August 18, 2008

The Cat's Meow!

The skies were clear, the sun was just peaking over the horizon, the wind was calm and the air temp was comfortable as the Patriarch and I started our journey down to Klode beach at 6am this morning. ...visions of our exhilarating Sunday evening swim were still dancing through our heads. The water Sunday evening was crystal clear and very, very comfortable....we were anxious to find out if the perfect conditions had persisted.

During our trek down to the beach we passed a familiar face climbing up the bluff apparently returning from a pre-dawn swim. Allowing our curiosity to get the best of us we quickly blurted out, "how was it?" With a warm smile and a very satisfied expression on his face he simply replied, "it's the cat's meow"

Once again we weren't disappointed...the conditions this morning remained absolutely positively SPECTACULAR! Crystal clear water and comfortably warm to swim without a wetsuit. If you did the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon Sunday as I did you'll find the water temp to be very similar between the two.

On Sunday evening, with the Patriarch coming off a Sunday morning swim from Bradford Beach with Megan and Gui and myself coming off of a triathlon we decided to do a little more sight seeing than usual. We challenged the Lady of the Lake to a little competition...what would come first, a point at which we could no longer see the crystal white sand of the lake bottom or our ability to swim down to it. Given the recent streak of cloudy water days I felt pretty good about our the end though our little competition took us more that 1/4 mile offshore and to about 25-30 feet of water before we finally conceded to the Lady of the Lake. Her clarity and warmth were not to be beat....even 25ft below the water surface the water remained crystal clear and comfortably warm!

This morning's adventure was a little less competitive. Our journey took us from 'north beach' to the rock wall and back....leaving us reluctant to leave the water upon returning to north beach. The conditions were just too nice to stop we didn't and continued our journey down past 'south beach' before deciding to come back to reality.

Monday Evening: 4:30pm Klode
Tuesday Morning: 6am Klode

Hope to see you on the beach!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lots of Swimming

Lots to report, but not much time to blog, so this will be quick.

First, the water continues to be very warm, wetsuits completely unnecessary, in the opinion of me and Cap'n and me, although no one seems to agree with us.  I'm not sure why, we're not trying to be macho men or anything, the water just feels very warm, we could swim all day without getting cold.

Yesterday at lunch I jogged up to McKinley and did an easy 20 minute swim.  A strong current from the north made going that way tough, but a torpedo ride coming back.  A bit murky near shore, but nice out about 50 meters.

I did not make the 6:30 swim at Klode, Cap'n told me there were 4-5 swimmers, but the only name I remember is Josh.  The water near the beach was very bad, they almost didn't swim.

This morning it was much better at Klode.  The water was calm and Sandy, Robin, Cap'n, and swam a mile or a bit more.

Upcoming swims:
Megan and Gui are swimming at Bradford at 10AM today, I won't be able to make that, but if you read this Gui, please report.

Cap'n and I are going to try to meet later, tentative 6:30PM at klode

Tomorrow (Sunday):  I will swim at Bradford at 10AM (Cap'n has the Pleasant Prairie Tri)
We'll also try to arrange an afternoon/evening swim ( go to keep my two-a-day streak going)


Friday, August 15, 2008

Great Sunrise...Great Workout!

Mother Nature and the Lady of the Lake treated us to a beautiful sunrise and a phenomenal workout opportunity this morning. Lindsey, Robin, Mathew, Nahi, The Patriarch and I were treated to clear skies with a blazing orange sunrise on the horizon. The winds were blowing gently from the north east which resulted in 1-3 ft waves constantly rolling on shore.

The water continued its warm trend so the Patriarch and I had no problems swimming without a wetsuit this morning. The near shore water (100-150 meters from shore) was filled with sand but as you continued to swim out the water turned to turquoise and visibility improved to about 3 feet.

The journey out to the rock wall was challenge. A steady dose of waves defied you to maintain your stroke as a slight current tested your efficiency...pulling you back toward the Klode beach if you dragged your arms or legs. The trip back from the rock wall was a different story. While the waves continued to challenge your rhythm the current seemingly picked up your feet for you and propelled you forward like a torpedo.'s rumored that the 1/2 mile journey back for Nahi and Lindsey took approximately 10 minutes!

Upcoming Swim Plans:
Friday 11:30am - The Patriarch plans to swim from McKinley Beach
Friday 6:30pm - Swim from Klode...or at least meet at Klode Beach Parking lot
Saturday 6am - Swim from Klode

Thursday, August 14, 2008

All the Fun I Can Stand

We witnessed another gorgeous sunrise at Klode. Even though I see the lake every day, I still find it beautiful every time I see it, especially at sunrise.

Another great swim too. Even though the waves were small, less than a foot, it was quite choppy, and made for a challenging workout. The water seems a bit clearer than yesterday morning, but nowhere near the glass-like clarity we experienced at Atwater yesterday afternoon.

As has been the case the last few mornings, the water was quite a bit warmer than the air, so we were plenty comfortable without wetsuits in the water, but were shivering a bit on the walk back up the bluff.

Cap'n wants to swim this afternoon again. I am really tempted, but I committed to a bike ride with a friend. Besides, my arms and shoulders are really really tired and could use a break. I can't believe I'm blogging this: I've had all the fun I can stand for one day.

But I see a comment from Gui that he and Megan will be swimming at Klode at 5:30 PM today (Thursday). I'm sure they would welcome company (but good luck keeping up with them).
Gui: I have no idea who the mermaid was, I never saw her before. She came and went like a dream, as mermaids do.

We'll be back at it again tomorrow morning at Klode at 6AM.

Maybe we can try for longer this weekend? It's 1.6 miles from Big Bay to Atwater, and we if throw in a "shipwreck tour" it would probably be close to 2 miles. Hmmmmmmm...............

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mermaids and Shipwrecks

Today was our most adventurous swim yet.   The day started ordinarily enough, with our usual sunrise swim at Klode

Later in the morning we got an email from Nahi, asking if we were interested in an afternoon swim.  Dumb question!  Nahi, Cap'n and I met at Atwater beach.

As we descended the stairway to the beach we beheld a very beautiful woman putting on a wetsuit.  I'm absolutely sure she was really a mermaid.  She said she was swimming to the buoy about a quarter mile offshore.

I had some doubts about swimming that far out, but like all guys we're suckers for mermaids. Common sense be damned, out we went!  

Unlike Klode which sits shallow Whitefish Bay, Atwater is on a point, and water gets deep in a hurry.   Despite the depth we could clearly see bottom, the water was crystal clear.  I was so mesmerized by the lake floor below and the mermaid ahead that I wasn't at all anxious, but maybe I should have been.  Don't mermaids lure men to their deaths?

We reached the buoy after a bit.  I had heard that there was a shipwreck out there, but I expected a small boat, not a 319 foot steamer!  A huge hull was clearly visible on the bottom.  It was quite the sight!

When I got home, I checked it out on the web, and found that the wreck is the steamship Appomattox.  The story of the ship and the wreck is here:
(Click on "read the tale" link).

We returned to the beach, we talked to the mermaid for a while, climbed up the stairs, and then she was gone..............................

Thursday: 6AM Klode


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Double Dip, ....... or Triple?

Wow, is it the middle of August already? There's only two, or three, or maybe four weeks if we're really lucky, of good swimming left. I feel like I did when I was a kid, wishing that summer would never end, and school would never start, determined to make the best of the time remaining.

Another "double dip" day. This morning started at Klode at sunrise. A beautiful sunrise over the lake heralded a minor miracle: Nahi left his wetsuit in the car!

Cap'n and Robin and Nahi and me headed out on warm, dead calm water. Nahi, training for ironman, led the way and set a torrid pace. The rest of us tried to keep up, visions of Michael Phelps dancing in our heads. But our dreams of Olympic glory were crushed, we couldn't keep up. It was a great swim though, a very fast (for us) mile plus in just over 30 minutes.

At lunchtime I decided to run up to Bradford, swim a bit, then run back downtown. I tried to get the Cap'n to join me, but he's too responsible. We'll work on that!

On the way to Bradford I went by McKinley, and I probably should have swum there, the beach was clear and clean. Bradford, on the other hand, was clogged with smelly algae. I don't understand the difference, they're only a half mile apart.

Anyhow, once I walked through about 20 feet of smelly goo on the shore, the water was great. It's starting to settle down and clear up now that the big waves of the last few days have died down. And, the water continues to be very warm, in the 70's.

Wednesday: 6AM Klode

P.S. If anyone's going tonight I could be persuaded to make it a "triple dip" day!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Double Fun

We've been too busy swimming to blog.  Two great swims today for Cap'n and me.  A fast mile in the morning with Robin, and after work we did the Klode to Big Bay swim we didn't do yesterday.

Waves: a bit choppy
Water:  stirred up murky from all the big waves and current the last couple days
Temp:  Very warm

Tuesday: 6AM Klode

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Surfs up....again!

If you thought the waves on Thursday were ain't seen nothin'! The Patriarch and I showed up at Klode at 3pm this afternoon along with about 20 or so swimmers from a local swim team led by Dave Anderson....most looked high school aged but they all sported the look of finely tuned swimmers.

Today's objective was to traverse the 1.2 mile route from Klode to Big Bay Beach...which as it turns out was the 8th annual of such events for the swim team. You didn't have to actually see the lake this afternoon to know it was there....the thunder of waves pounding the rock piles could be heard easily from the parking lot. Peering down at the beach it was obvious the reported 4-6 foot waves were still going strong.

Surprisingly, none of the kids batted an eye or hesitated a split second as they stormed the beach eager to begin their voyage to Big Bay Beach....not even the one legged / one armed kid appeared to be deterred in the least bit by the rolling seas spotted with occasional white capped serpents.

It didn't take long for a crowd of curious beach goers to the expressions on their faces it was fairly obvious to tell what they were thinking....what would motivate anyone to swim on a day like today....yes the skies were sunny, the beach was clean and the water was warm but still they all looked amazed at what they were seeing.

Never being ones to pass up an opportunity to show off for a crowd the Patriarch and I couldn't resist the opportunity to show off our cunningness. While the lure of the Big Bay Beach adventure was would have to wait for another day. The Patriarch and I decided to entertain the spectators with a little swashbuckling adventure as we dueled the white capped sea serpents as they attacked the Klode bay.

Our adventure lasted for approximately 40 minutes and covered a distance of nearly 3/4 mile between the garage and the beach just south of south beach. While we won every battle as we marked our territory and dared the giant serpents to bring it on....needless to say, when we finally landed back on shore to a hero's welcome the relentless pounding of surf into the Klode bay continued.

Not to be deterred, tomorrow will mark another adventure for the Patriarch and I at 6am. Anyone care to join us...feel free to come aboard!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bonfire on the Beach

After dinner Gelaney and I went to the bonfire put on by the Friends of Atwater Beach.   How nice to see the beach clean again!  It was my favorite when I was a kid, we'd ride our bikes there all the time.  I haven't swum Atwater yet this year, we'll have to fix that.

Anyhow, we ran into Dave Anderson, the Schroeder swim coach, who told me the team was planning a Klode to Big Bay swim at 3PM Sunday.  He was expecting a big group, and all are welcome.

So there are two swim possibilities Sunday: 10AM or 3PM, both at Klode.

When we left the beach at 10PM there was a NE wind creating whitecaps as far out as we could see.  If the wind continues as predicted it could be a very rough but fast ride from Klode to Big Bay.  But maybe not, every time I predict lake conditions I'm wrong.

A Tale of Two Swims

Cap'n and me swam last night, and again this morning.  The two swims couldn't have been any different.

Last night there were still big waves, not as big as the morning, but a much stronger current. So strong that heading south felt like swimming in an endless pool. It took us what seemed like forever to cover the short distance from the north end of Klode beach to the south end.  Then we just floated and drifted for a while, enjoying the view, letting the current take us back.

We probably should be more frightened out there, awesome chaos all around, being rocked, rolled, shaken, and stirred.  Instead, it's exhilarating, and we somehow manage to stay clam, relaxed, and focused on the task at hand.

This morning was the complete opposite, calm and quiet.  Matthew and John joined us as we headed north from Klode, no particular plan in mind, just "swim for a while and see how we feel".  We felt great, and the water was very warm so we just kept going and going, past big landslide, past rockpile, past three piers, past little landslide, finally turning around at second rockpile, more than a mile from where we started.  Another record for non-wetsuit swims for Cap'n and me!  I wish we could convince people to join us in swimming wetsuitless, especially with the water as warm as it is, it's so much more fun that way. 

Tomorrow (Sunday) 10:00 AM at Klode
Conditions permitting, I'd like to swim do a one way swim to Big Bay (a little over a mile)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Surfs up!!

Nahi, The Patriarch and I arrived at the Klode parking lot this morning under sunny skies and very light winds.....ah, a peaceful morning for swim....or at least so it seemed. Upon reaching the beach though it was obvious the lake had a different plan for today. The surf was up....big waves crashed on shore and washed up nearly to the base of the bluff.

As intimidating as these waves may have appeared on shore as they thundered into the piles of rocks along the beach it was evident as you looked out from the beach and noticed that there were no white caps to be seen that these waves were more like gentle and playful giants than they were angry sea serpents. Puzzling in a there was not a strong easterly wind this morning to drive these waves to shore where could these waves be coming from? ...ah, I feel another theory coming. :)

We dashed out into the water anxious to play and were greeted by exceptionally warm water.... and a slap in face as the water crested along the sand bars. Invigorating! Determined to get our swim in it was obvious that swimming along the sand bar was virtually impossible as the waves continued to crest and then crash shortly after the sand bar. So we swam out beyond the Sand bars approximately 50-100 meters from shore and found the rolling waves to be a lot more hospitable for swimming...although certainly a challenge.

As we progressed towards the 200 meter checkpoint also known as the 'garage' the continual ascent and descent with the waves presented a great opportunity to concentrate on your stroke and rhythm...well, perhaps that's if you were Nahi and were buoyed by your wetsuit. For the Patriarch and I though, it was a different story. Without wetsuits, I would liken our experience to more of a duel with the waves as we sliced our way through some waves and then climbed over others. Oh what fun! It didn't take long to lose count of the waves we dropped but rest assured, we won each and every battle! :)

As we were swimming quite a bit offshore this morning and uncertain how long our arms would last as we frolicked in the water we decided to do laps between Klode and the garage rather than forge ahead to the rockpile and back. In total we probably swam the equivalent in distance but in terms of effort we certainly got our monies worth this morning!

This afternoon: TBD
Saturday: Klode - 12pm
Sunday: 10am?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sixties Flashback

The scene on Klode beach this morning was a flashback to my slacker misspent sixties hippie youth: A group of obviously wasted kids, surrounding a hookah, celebrating the sunrise.

I was tempted to join them, but maybe I'm getting old, or maybe I'm just more mature, or maybe it's a measure that swimming in the lake is even more of a high, I decided to swim instead.

It was a another perfect morning, bright and sunny, warm and clear and calm water. It's been a strange year, the water was so cold well into July, but for the last couple weeks it's been unusually warm. It's been unusually calm too, not one single day with the big body-surfing kind of waves.

Anyhow, Cap'n and I were pressed for time, we both had early meetings, so we swam a quick mile with Robin and headed back up the bluff, to be greeted by couple of cops who were about to spoil the kid's fun. I guess I should have told them this was Whitefish Bay in 2008, not 1969 Woodstock. Sigh!

Next swims:
Tonight Thursday 4:30PM at Bradford Beach
Tomorrow morning Friday 6AM Klode

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Beautiful Morning on Bradford Beach

Today five of us (Greg, Ted, Robin, Eric & Tim) met at Klode at 6AM, but there was a beach health warning, so we decided to trek down to Bradford instead which had tested clean.

We took it easy today, thank heaven after the last few days we needed a break. We swam from the buoy on the south end of the beach to the buoy on the north end, and back. I googled it later, it's about 0.4 miles each way. Eric and Tim got out there, but the rest of decided to go a bit more and so we did about a mile.

The water was clear for the most part, not crystal clear like on some previous days, actually more like "normal". Note: the natural state of the lake is to be somewhat cloudy with (unharmful) organisms.

It was a beautiful clear morning, it's always nice to swim as the sun is rising. The water was actually warmer than the air this morning, so Cap'n and I were comfortable without wetsuits in the water, but we chilled a bit after we got out.

The warning at Klode has been lifted so we'll swim there tomorrow at 6AM.

Cap'n has to coach the Tri-Wis track practice tonight so he can't go later, but I would be interested in a sunset swim, say around 7Pm or 7:30, if anyone interested. It would be awesome to start and end the day with a swim.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Carried Away

We arrived at Klode with tired arms and shoulders from all the swimming we've been doing the last few days.  So we planned on an easy mile to the "rockpile" and back.  But the water was so warm and clear and calm, and we felt so good, we just kept going.   

Over an hour and two miles later we finally staggered back onto the beach, exhausted but exhilarated.  What a great swim!  I've never gone so far without a wetsuit.

It's probably a good thing I'm going to Chicago today (go Cubbies!).  If I was here, I'd probably want to go swimming again.  I can't remember when conditions have been so good for so long.  I'd probably keep going until the wheels fell off.

Tomorrow:  Klode 6AM

Monday, August 4, 2008

Klode 4:30pm Monday & 6am Tuesday

Current plans are to swim again from Klode at 4:30pm this evening and again Tuesday morning at 6am.....that's if we don't have a Thunderstorm ripping through that area at those times like we did this morning.

Deprived of our morning 6am swim at Klode the Patriarch and I swam from Bradford Beach over the lunch hour. Once again the water temp was phenomenal! The wind was blowing pretty strong from the south which created a steady roll of 1-2 ft waves moving south to north which provided a nice change of pace.

We swam south from the beach house into the waves to the south end of the beach before turning around The swim south provided a nice opportunity for resistance training as the waves continually tried to break your rhythm. Swimming south was a completely different experience as the waves practically picked up your feet and propelled you forward.

The voyage south and then north was so much fun we ended up doing it three times before remembering that we still had an afternoon of work ahead of us. Drat!

We'll be looking forward to continuing the fun at 4:30 at Klode.

See you then!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Change of Plan 6AM Monday morning

Cap'n has an early meeting so we need to start early.

Downright Balmy

Wow!  In the last week the water temp has gone from wetsuit only, to barely bearable without one, to tolerable for a while, to warm, to downright pleasant today.  It's well above 70.  I know Cap'n and I have a reputation for tolerating cool water better than most, but I gotta believe even the most cold-adverse swimmer would agree with us today.

I'm not sure why exactly, but swimming without a wetsuit is just so much more pleasant than swimming with one.  I guess it's the feel of the water as you glide through.

Linda and I swam at Klode the in morning, a mile and something.  There were gentle rollers, not the big waves I was expecting (I vow to give up forecasting, I've been wrong more often than the weather man).  There was quite a lot of murky sand and silt near shore, but the water was clear and clean out a hundred meters or so.

Ted and Robin were going to swim this afternoon, I did not get their report.

We'll be at Klode again at 6:30 tomorrow (Monday) morning.  I'm sure we'll be swimming every morning this week, check this blog for time and place.  If the water stays as nice as this, we'll also be trying to squeeze in some noontime or after work swims.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Choppy Seas

Today Ted, Robin, Gui and I swam in heavy chop at Bradford beach.  A lot of fun, but a slow go.

We learned that it's not good swimming beyond the buoy at north end of the beach, as it gets shallow and rocky near the point, not good in wavy conditions like today.  The choice is to go way out, which is what Gui did, or turn back, which is what the rest of us did. 

The water is still warm, around 70.  The water was clear at the south end of the beach, but the waves were stirring up the sand and silt at the north end, making the water murky.

After swimming we ate at the snack bar and enjoyed the music, the great weather, and watching all the people.  When we left around noon, the beach was packed, there was nowhere left to park. 

Tip of the day:  Stylish Capri shorts at Old Navy for only nine bucks!  Ask for the Gui collection.

A northeast wind tonight should make for a wavy day again tomorrow, and a pretty good current going south.  I think Klode is the better choice in these conditions.  

Ted and Robin can't swim in the morning as they are doing a triathlon, and I can't swim in the afternoon, so I will be swimming Klode at 10AM, and Ted and Robin will there at 3PM.  Monday morning we'll be swimming at Klode at 6:30AM.   

Friday, August 1, 2008

Change of Plan for Fri night, Sat morning

Klode at 4:30Pm today (Friday)
Bradford Beach 10AM tomorrow (Sat), meet at the parking lot at the south end of the beach

Note: Its almost exactly a half mile from the south end of Bradford to McKinley and another half mile from the south end of Bradford to the north end of Bradford, if conditions permit we'll swim both legs out and back for a total of two miles, but we can bail out at one mile if necessary (for that matter, it's possible to bail out almost anywhere, it's an easy walk back on the beach or the paved path along Lake Drive)

The Patriarch of Bradford Beach

Has a certain ring to it, doesn't it? I went to Bradford for a quick swim and lunch at the beachhouse. As I was swimming the lake parted, the sky opened up, and a voice said to me: "This is where you belong, this is your retirement goal, you are destined to be a beach bum." After all, somebody has to pick up where Dick Bacon left off!

The "new" Bradford beach is an amazing turn-around from the smelly, algae ridden mess that it used to be. It's been groomed and cleaned and renovated, life guards and security and a food stand added, it's just wonderful. And no matter what your tastes in people watching, you are sure to find something to please your eyes. My only quibble is they sell Sprecher soda, but only Miller beer, that's just not right.

P.S. Water temp 70 plus, clear and calm. Many people in the water besides me.

Next swims:
This afternoon at 4:30 at Bradford
Tomorrow 10AM Klode
(But maybe we should go to Bradford instead? - Then we could hang out after and have lunch and a beer or whatever)


Swim! Now!

This is the kind of morning Cap'n and me dream of.  Very clear clean and calm, water temp near or above 70.  We were joined this morning by John and Matthew.  

They wore wetsuits, Cap'n and I didn't.  The original plan was do our usual one mile to the rockpile and back, but we felt so good when we got there, we just kept going to the end of the rock wall, a round trip of a mile and a half.

I wanted to swim all morning, but our arms and shoulders were about to give out, and we had to get to work.  It was so much fun, we got a nice rhythm going, it's so relaxing to feel the glide and watch the sun dance on the sandy bottom.  

If anyone is thinking of coming out, now is the time.  It just doesn't get any better, and it certainly won't last.

Tomorrow, Saturday, we planning a longer swim, conditions permitting, 10AM at Klode. 

Also, Cap'n and I are working out a plan to do a shorter fun swim this noon or after work at Bradford beach.