Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bad Hair Day

Next Swims: Thur 7/1 & Fri 7/2 - 5:45AM Klode

We are starting to think about plans for the holiday weekend. How about ideas for a longer swim or two? Klode to Big Bay, at least.

Last Swims:Tue & Wed 5:45AM
Water Temp: 56 Tue, 63 Wed
Waves: two foot rollers Tue, one foot Wed, but very choppy
Water Clarity: Still a bit murky and stirred up
Tue Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, David, Patriarch
Wed Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Lane, Blondie, Patriarch

I'm not a pretty sight at 5:45AM, but I must have looked a bit rougher than usual this morning because they asked me if I was alright. I'm never alright at that hour, but this morning it was mostly just a bad hair day. Nothing that a cool refreshing plunge couldn't take of. I hate getting up so early, but after the swim, I'm always glad I did.

Let's try a longer swim again this weekend. What's a good time?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Enter the 2010 Ice Queen?

Next Swim: Tuesday 6/29 5:45AM Klode

Last Swim: Monday 6AM Klode
Water Temp: 56 (a tad bit warmer north of the beach)
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: stirred up and cloudy
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, David, Perry, Blondie, Ruth, Capt'n

They say you can't judge a book from its cover. Accordingly, it may be a bit premature to assign a nickname after just one swim. Unfortunately for Ruth though, this morning's sudden drop in water temp already has stirred up rumors that she may be dubbed the 2010 Ice Queen.

Historically speaking, every year there always appears to be an unfortunate soul who's appearances seem to coincide with the arrival of cold water temps. 2007's Iceman Larry the Legend and 2009's Iceman south side Steve most notably come to mind. Sadly, they both haven't come back since being stereotyped as cold water magnets to dispel the myth that the Lady of the Lake for what ever reason has turned a cold shoulder towards them. sure to stay tuned to see if this morning's icy greeting was but a mere coincidence for Ruth.

This morning's swim was a brisk journey up to Cedar Grove for most. Notable stories included:

  • The retraction
  • Sleep Swimming
  • The secret crush
  • Sleuthing the Stories
  • Enter the Ice Queen?
  • Swim fashion by Gumdrop

...and featured celebrities such as: The Patriarch, The Tyrant, Duke...oh, and of course Gumdrop.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Warming Up

Next Swim: Mon 6/28 5:45AM Klode

Last Swims: Sat & Sun 1PM Klode
Water Temp: 64
Waves: Calm Sat, 1-2 rollers Sunday
Water Clarity: Clear Sat, stirred up and cloudy Sunday from the storm
Sat Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Gumdrop, Robin, Alex, Patriarch
Sun Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Kahuna, Robin, Matthew, H2, Kim, Patriarch

The lake is warming into the mid-sixties, which means it's time to think about ditching the wetsuits. Saturday we went without them, Sunday we wore them (except for Gumdrop). It just depends on how far you want to go and how long you can tolerate the cool water.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

1pm Saturday & Sunday Swims

Next Swim: Saturday 6/26, 1pm

Last Swim: Friday 6/25, 6am
Water Temp: 64.6
Waves: none (glass like lake surface)
Water Clarity: clear
Crew: Diablo, Blondie, Capt'n

Rather than bore everyone with details on Friday's swim (...which was a picturesque journey up to the rock wall and back....) I thought I'd spice things up a bit by mentioning a few of today's topics of conversation. They included ( no particular order...):

  • The Jerk
  • The Cheater
  • Nightmares
  • Swimming images you'd prefer not to have in your head
  • Boring Blog entries
  • Yumping Yaks
  • men waving at men

If you're wondering who these stories might have been about here are a few names that were mentioned ( no particular order...) The Patriarch, The Tyrant, The Old Man...oh, and of course Gumdrop. ...ok, perhaps we may like talking about people who aren't present... :)

Hope to see you on the Beach this weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Big Crew enjoys nice swim

Next Swim: Friday 6/25, 5:45am

Last Swim: Thursday 6/24, 6am
Water Temp: 60.8
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: clear the further you swam offshore
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Gumdrop, Kahuna, David, Robin, Beth, Perry, Capt'n

Ahhh, another fine morning for a swim! This morning we had our largest swim crew of the year, which is a bit amazing considering we were starting at 5:45am on a weekday morning. Sunny skies, calm winds and an air temp already inching towards 70 made for an exceptional morning to walk the plank. The water temp of 60 was a bit of a shock at first but if you were the least bit groggy before walking the plank you were certainly alert and ready to go once your face it the water.

This morning's swim journey took us up to the "south" end of the rock wall and back. Ordinarily I just call this land mark the "rock pile" or "rock wall"....but as Gumdrop so observantly pointed out this morning as we were hanging out at the turn around point, the rock pile / wall really has 3 sections to it the spread out over about 1/3 of a mile. How does one really know where we swam too when we just say "rock pile"? An excellent point...for those of you who REALLY are playing along at home and want to know exactly where we turn around at. So for those of you who have been totally confused and perhaps a wee bit frustrated by the lack of detail with my earlier vague references to the "rock pile"...sorry, my bad. :)

This weekend's swim times have been set! They are:
Saturday (6/26): 1pm
Sunday (6/27): 1pm

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dodging Thunderbolts

Next Swim: Thursday 6/24 5:45 AM Klode

Last Swim: Wed 6/23 2:00PM Klode
Water Temp: Anywhere between 61 and 68 depending on where you measured it.
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: A bit churned up by the storm, but still good.
Crew: Julie, Cap'n, Patriarch

Whew! I thought our streak of swim days might be broken by thunderstorms. It was thundering loudly at our usual start time and the radar looked like it might keep up all day. But an early afternoon break in the action permitted us to sneak one in.

The water thermometer measured temperatures all over the place, but we decided to be optimists and believe the high reading of 68, and so in we went without wetsuits. It was OK for the most part, but every so often we swam through pockets of extremely cold water. Believe me, your pace will pick up considerably when you hit one. I felt like I was almost swimming fast enough to dodge thunderbolts.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Four in Twenty Four

Next Swim: Wed 6/23 5:45 AM Klode

Last Swims:
Mon 6/21 6PM Klode
Tue 6/22 5AM Klode
Tue 6/22 5:45AM Klode
Water temp: pockets of warm and cold 63-68
Waves: a small chop last night, otherwise calm
Water Clarity: Amazing
Mon 6PM Crew: Gumdrop, Diablo, Cap'n, Patriarch, Perry
Tue 5AM Crew: Diablo, Cap'n, Patriarch
Tue 5:45 AM Crew: Cap'n, Kahuna, Lane, Chris, Patriarch

You might say that swimming four times in twenty four hours is too much of a good thing, but there is no such thing when it comes to swimming in the lake. We didn't plan it that way, it just sort of happened.

The first swim was our normal morning swim Tuesday morning, reported in the previous post.

It was so nice that we met again at 6PM Tuesday for a "no wetsuit or bust" swim, which turned out great, the water was warmed considerably during the day.

Because Diablo had to be at work early today, Cap'n and I met him at 5AM this morning for a swim to Cedar Grove and back.

When we returned, Kahuna, Lane and Chris were on the beach, so Diablo went to work and Cap'n and me got back in and swam with the other three out to mudslide.

OK, so technically it was four swims in twenty five hours, but four in twenty four sounds better. Besides, interpreting the facts is one of prerogatives of patriarchs.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Double Dip Day?

Next Swims: If the weather is good, 6:00PM, tonight Mon 6/21, Klode "No wetsuit or bust"
Also Tue 6/22 5:45AM Klode

Last Swim: Mon 6/21 Klode 5:45
Water temp: 64
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: Couldn't be better
Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Patriarch

Where was everyone this morning? It was deee-lightful, so nice that we'll do a "no wetsuit or bust" swim this evening at 6PM, if it's not thundering.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Like Yesterday, But Even Better

Next Swim: 5:45 AM Mon 6/20 Klode

Last Swim: Sun 1:00 Klode
Water Temp: 65, but pockets of warmer and cooler
Waves: small rollers
Water Clarity: very very clear
Crew: Cap'n, Gumdrop, Diablo, The Israeli, Julie, Matthew, Patriarch

Wow, I didn't think it could be much better than yesterday, but it was. We swam out to rockpile and back with our wetsuits, but then we decided it was warm enough to take them off and visit the "cannon" on the bottom south of Klode.

So finally, we are starting to add to the Skin Swim count. The Killespitch Shots count, however, is in sad shape, we need to do something about it. Time to get serious.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Swimming? Or Flying?

Next Swim: Sun 6/20 1:00PM Klode

Last Swim: Sat 6/19 1PM Klode
Water temp: not sure, we didn't have the thermometer, maybe 60?
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: Crystal Clear, Hawaii Clear, Clearer Than I've Ever Seen It
Crew: Gumdop, Diablo, Kahuna, David, Patriarch

Amazing day, warm, bright sun, and very clear water. It's fun to watch the sun dance on the bottom. I haven't seen such clear water since Hawaii. It was so clear, if you look at the swimmer next to you, it's as if they were gliding in air. When things line up right, you can see your shadow swimming below you. Very cool.

Our longest swim of the year, to "three piers", about 2 miles round trip. Let's do it again tomorrow!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hangover Cure

Next Swims: Sat 6/19 & Sun 6/20, 1:00PM, Klode
Conditions permitting we will attempt to do some longer swims.

Last Swim: Fri 6/18, 5:45AM Klode
Water Temp: 62
Waves: One Foot Chop, with a very strong current going south to north
Water: Finally cleared up from the storm earlier this week, bottom visible
Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Lane, Patriarch

Swim Coach Dave threw one hell of a party last night. His house is on the Shorewood Criterium course, and so it was the perfect place to enjoy the race and overenjoy the excellent Fixed Gear Beer from LakeFront Brewery. Which made this morning's plunge into the lake particularly harsh. But the swim out to rockpile, and the very challenging battle against the current on the way back, cured my hangover. Harsh medicine, but definitely effective. Now I need a nap.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Weekend Looks Great, Let's Do a Long One

Next Swim: Friday 6/18 5:45 AM Klode

Last Swims: Wed & Thu 5:45AM Klode
Water Temp: 64 Wed, 63 Thu
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: Very Cloudy, stirred up from Tuesday's deluge
Crew: Wed: Cap'n, Diablo, Gumdrop, Patriarch, Eileen, Gary, Julie
Thu: Cap'n, Diablo, Gumdrop, Patriarch, Kahuna, David

Sorry, I've fallen behind again, just so much going on. The swimming continues to be outstanding, especially considering it's still the middle of June. Most years we haven't even started yet.

How about some longer swims this weekend? I propose a Klode to Big Bay Swim, then run back, or perhaps even Klode to Big Bay and back (aprox. 2.25 miles). Let's discuss Friday morning, or leave comments.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Big Dogs and Big Money

Next Swim: Wed, 6/16, 5:45AM, Klode

Last Swim: Tue, 6/15, 5:45 AM Klode
Water Temp: 64
Waves: One - Two Foot Rollers
Water Clarity: A bit gunky right on shore, but clear 10 meters out
Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Gumdrop, Kahuna, Patriarch

Another classic quote from Cap'n. Another one of those What Exactly Is He Thinking moments. Is he kidding? Is he drunk? Is he nuts? I'm not sure, so I present it here without further comment. We're standing in the Klode parking lot, gathering our stuff, preparing to head down the bluff to the beach, when a deer ambles out of the bushes and walks across the parking lot right in front of us, and Cap'n says, "Wow, that's a BIG dog".

In other news, thanks to Robin for clarifying what all the fuss is about regarding the use of the park. Here is an article that explain it:

The line that caught my eye: "There is big money here". It inspires me to create Patriarch's Morning Swim (PMS) Club. Make your $100 tax deductible checks out to "The Patriarch's Health, Welfare, Retirement, and Killepitsch Fund". Join before July 1st and get a FREE Patriarch Foot Washer. BUT THATS NOT ALL. For an additional $25 get your picture taken swimming with Patriarch, and for a mere $10 more, get it autographed.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Next Swim: 5:45AM Tuesday 6/15 Klode

Last Swim: Monday 6/14, 5:45AM, Klode
Water temp: 64
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: clear
Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Patriarch, Kahuna, David, Julie

Apparently we are scofflaws, disturbers of the peace, disrupters of the tranquility of Whitefish Bay. Marcella, who leads the morning yoga class, told us there have been complaints about people in Klode park before it opens at 6AM. It even came up at a village board meeting. This is typical Whitefish Bay, of course. No rowdies, no yoga, no exercise class, no swimmers, no fun, nosiree, not in hoity-toidy Bay.

Well come and get me ye lily-livered landlubbers! I'll be der, at 5:45 morrow mornin, cannons blazin, sword drawn. Who be wit me??? Arggghhhhh!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Swimming, Running, and Beer

Next Swim: 5:45AM Monday 6/14 Klode

Last Swim: Sunday 6/13 noon Klode
Water temp: 62
Waves: 1-2 feet
Water Clarity: a little cloudy
Crew: Gumdrop, Diablo, Patriarch, David, Linda

A swim out to Cedar Grove and back was followed by the Riverwest Beer Run and of course a brew or two. A great Sunday morning.

Gumdrop is our tough guy this year. He was the only one who is swimming without a wetsuit. My cutoff is 65 degrees, we aren't far away.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shipwreck Tour

Next Swim: Sunday 6/13 9AM Klode
Following the swim, some of us will be heading for the Locust Street Festival to participate in the legendary Beer Run:

Last Swim: Saturday 6/12 Atwater Beach noon
Water temp: 63
Waves: 1-2 feet
Water Clarity: cloudy near shore, but clear enough further out to see the shipwreck
Crew: Gumdrop, Diablo, Kahuna, Patriarch, Brad

The cool damp foggy weather didn't stop the fun. We swam out to the shipwreck of the Appomattox :
I'm always amazed at how big it is (supposedly it was the largest wooden ship ever built). Diablo, Kahuna and me swam back to shore, but Gumdrop and Brad continued on to the big buoy further out, well over a mile round trip, maybe a mile and a half.

We topped off the swim with chicken dinners, beer, and sundaes, with a cherry on top, of course, courtesy of the Shorewood Men's Club.

Friday, June 11, 2010

False Prognostications

Next Swim: Saturday 6/12 noon, meet at the top of the bluff at Atwater Beach
Parking may be a problem, you may have to walk a bit.
Special attractions: Appomattox shipwreck tour if the water is clear
Shorewood Men's Club Chicken Barbeque after the swim. Bring money.

Sunday: 9AM at Klode, followed (optionally) by the Beer Run at 11:30 at the Locust Street festival

Last swim: Friday 6/11, 5:45AM, Klode Park
Water temperature: 61
Waves: one foot rollers
Water Clarity: a little stirred up, bottom sometimes visible, sometimes not
Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Patriarch, Kahuna, Lane

It's amazing how many of our predictions turn out to be dead wrong:
I predicted that Cap'n would not be here this morning because of his relay race: wrong.
Cap'n predicted that the temperatures would be in the nineties this weekend: not even close.
Kahuna predicted that water would be very cold this morning: it wasn't.
Diablo predicted we would be greeted by a flock of beautiful women: fantasy.
Gumdrop predicted thunderstorms this morning so he didn't swim: lame excuse.
However he did show up after the swim with chocolate chip cookies, so I guess that makes up for it.

Despite all that, the swimming was great, we made it to rockpile and back. We were joined by a new swimmer, Lane, who seemed to have a good time, hopefully he will be back.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Catching Up

Next Swim: Friday 5:45 AM Klode
Saturday: Atwater beach, time to be determined, maybe noon?
Appomattox shipwreck tour if the water is clear (the buoy marking it is back out there, unlike last year, so it will be much easier to locate)
Note: Shorewood Men's Club Chicken Barbeque begins at noon Saturday

Last Swims: Tue, Wed, Thu, Klode 5:45 AM
Beach: Klode
Water temp: 58 Thu, I can't remember exactly Tue & Wed, but a bit warmer
Waves: Tue small rollers, Wed 2 foot rollers, Thu calm
Water clarity: Tue & Wed, somewhat cloudy and stirred up, Thu clear
Tue & Wed crew: Cap'n, Gumdrop, Diablo, Patriarch
Thu: same plus Kahuna

To those of you that have been harassing me to keep the blog up to date - BUG OFF. I'm a Gentleman of Leisure now, I can't be bothered to adhere to schedules.

Anyhow, our streak of great swimming continues. The water is a bit cooler, more typical for June, but with wetsuits it's not a problem.

We will be Cap'n-less for the next couple days because he would rather spend them in a hot sweaty van with a bunch of guys doing some nutty relay race, rather than in the sweet cool embrace of the Lake.

On Saturday we will change the swim venue to Atwater Beach so that we can pig out on Chicken Barbeque and beer after our swim. If the water is clear we can swim out to the shipwreck of the steamship Appomattox:

Last year we swam to the wrong place, we mistook a NOAA buoy for the one marking the shipwreck, because the shipwreck marker was gone. Unlike last year, the buoy marking the wreck is back. If you look out from the bluff overlooking the beach you will see two buoys, mostly straight out, but slightly left (north). The closer smaller buoy is the Appomattox, or at least the main keel, there are other parts scattered about.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ifs, Ands, and Butts

Next Swim: Tuesday 5:45 AM Klode

Last Swims: Sunday 1PM, Monday 5:45AM
Beach: Klode
Water temp: around 60, but pockets of warmer and colder
Air temps: seventies yesterday, fifties this morning
Waves: Yesterday small rollers, this morning 1-2 footers
Water clarity: Sunday - a little couldy, more cloudy on Monday, lots of stirred up sand
Sunday Crew: Cap'n, Gumdrop, Diablo, Patriarch, Kahuna, Julie, Diamond Dave, Matthew
Monday Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Patriarch, The Israeli
Two more great swimming days, so nice yesterday that we cruised almost to "three piers" and back, which is close to two miles from the south end of the beach where we started.

The excellent swimming so early in the season has us concocting plans for what we might do if the great conditions continue. Cap'n was proposing to "swim the lakefront" in pieces, from McKinley up to Virmond, perhaps even Concordia. Diamond Dave was suggesting he would put his boat a ways out and we could swim out to it (although it makes more sense to me to start from his boat and swim in - that way the boat can follow us - providing an escape route). Kahuna was suggesting that next Saturday we plan a swim around the Shorewood Men's Club Chicken Barbeque at Atwater Beach (perhaps a shipwreck swim, out to the sunken steamship Appomatox? Excellent ideas all! If the water stays warm and the swim gods favor us.

This morning we swam to Cedar Grove as a sparkling sun rose. When we got out of the water, the lady exercise class on the beach were on their backs waving their butts back and forth in our direction, which I can only assume was their way of showing their appreciation of our strokes.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Next swim: Sunday, 6/6 1:oo PM Klode

Last Swim: Sat 6/5 1:00 PM
Beach: Klode
Water temp: 64.6
Air: low 70's mostly cloudy
Waves: very slight current from the south
Water Clarity: clear
Crew: The Patriarch, Diablo, Gumdrop, Nahi, Sandy, Brad, Julie, Capt'n with Special Guest appearance by Robin

Our streak of very pleasant water conditions persisted today for the seasons largest crew to date(8). Upon our arrival today the sun was shinning, the air temp was comfortably in the 70's and the winds were lightly blowing from the south east. By the time we would depart though the skies had clouded over and the air temp would drop a few degrees but it appeared only to matter to those who wore something less than a full wetsuit today.

Indeed, it was a borderline day. The water temp of 64.6 tempted you to ditch your wetsuit but the comfortable air temp and relatively calm seas tempted you even more to maximize your time in the water. Gumdrop didn't bat an eye before walking the plank without a wetsuit. Sandy and Julie both sported sleeveless wetsuits while the rest of us chose to swim in the comfort of full wetsuits.

For all of us, today's journey took us from Klode's south east beach up to the rockwall. Seeking to maximize their adventure today, The Patriarch, Diablo and Sandy continued up nearly to Three Piers before heading back. While our swim distances varied, (1.25 miles to 1.75 miles) remarkably the duration of time in the water for most of us was nearly the same at 50-55 minutes.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Return of the Israeli

Next swim: Saturday, 6/5 1:ooPM Klode

Last Swim: Fri 6/4 5:45 AM
Beach: Klode
Water temp: 59
Air: 60's
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: clear
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n, Gumdrop, Patriarch, Nahi

I'm never quite awake when I arrive at the Klode parking lot, so I was pretty sure I was still dreaming when I saw Nahi there. But he was still there after the awakening jolt of the plunge into the cold lake, so unlikely as it might seem, the Israeli has returned. Good to see you, Nahi!

It was a whole degree warmer than yesterday, which did seem a bit warmer, and we made it a bit further, to the sewer pipe south of Klode, which I think is not quite a mile round trip. We wore wetsuits, although Gumdrop wore only bottoms. I'm not sure how he can do that!

Note: As a diligent reader of this blog may have observed, our little group engages in certain amount of locker room smack talk, which is generally all in fun. But I should warn everyone that you probably don't want to mess too much with The Israeli. He might seem like a nice mild mannered guy, but ....... well, I'm just saying. You've been warned.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Back to Reality

Next Swim: Fri 6/4, 5:45AM, Klode

Last Swims: Wed, Thu, 5:45AM
Beach: Klode
Water Temp: 64 on Wed, 58 on Thu (brrrrr!)
Air Temp: fifties
Waves: calm Wed, 1-2 foot rollers on Thu
Clarity: clear Wed, a little cloudier on Thu, but still pretty good
Crew: Wed, Diablo, Capt'n, Patriarch, Gumdrop - Thu: Diablo, Capt'n, Patriarch - Gumdrop, where were you?

I KNEW it was too good to be true. Our streak of warm water days has ended. Now it's back to the reality of Lake Michigan in June. 58 degree water is swimable with a wetsuit, but it does take some fortitude. The hardest part is the first couple minutes as your body adjusts to the cold. After that it's not too bad, unless you stay in too long, then you'll spend an hour or two of shivering after you get out. You've got to want it, and we do, so we suffer. I read about people who swim in San Francisco Bay without wetsuits in 55 degree water, and I am in awe.
Gumdrop: we missed you.
JJ: let's wait for a better day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Getting Spoiled

Next Swim: Wed 6/2 , 5:45AM, Klode
Today's sunny skies should warm the surface water, I might try a skin swim at 7PM today if I can.

Last Swim: Tuesday 6/1, 5:45
Beach: Klode
Water Temp: 61
Air Temp: seventies
Waves: flat calm
Clarity: perfectly clear
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n, Patriarch, Gumdrop, David

We're being spoiled with these great conditions so early in the year, I hope it keeps up. Today we swam with the rising sun to the rockpile and back, a little more than a mile. Although the water temp was a little cooler than yesterday we were cozy enough in our wetsuits. The water is very clear, sunlight dancing on the bottom as far out as you care to go.