Thursday, September 30, 2010

Next Swims: Friday 6AM (& 5:30pm?), Saturday 2PM

Last Swim: Thursday 6AM
Water Temp: 53
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: crystal clear
Crew: Diablo, Beth, Capt'n

Another picture perfect morning for a swim. Clear skies with a bright half moon and a glowing red horizon. The water remains crystal clear and the glowing white sands can still be easily seen in 10ft of water.

Diablo and I will for sure be swimming at 6am Friday. There's also a possibility for a 5:30 swim just prior to the 6pm TriWi open house at Wheel & Sprocket. Please comment if you're interested in swimming at 5:30pm on Friday.

Due to the Lapham Peak Colorama run on Saturday morning we will swim at 2pm Saturday afternoon. A time for Sunday's swim is still at large....Kahuna is rumored to be interested in swimming at 7:30am followed by breakfast at Solly's.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Swim Day Record Rapidly Approaches

Next Swim: Thursday 6AM

Last Swims: Tuesday 5:30PM & Wednesday 6AM
Water Temps: Tuesday 57 & Wednesday 54
Waves: Tuesday - calm / Wednesday - sheet of glass
Water Clarity: crystal clear
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n both swims

The water clarity has suddenly become crystal much so that even without the sun you can see the white sands glowing under the twilight sky. Another pleasant surprise these past few days has been the warming of the water temps. After enduring the recent stretch of low 50 degree temps the water now feels somewhat comfortable.

Mark your calendars....Friday is the day that we'll tie our record number of swimming days of 132. The swim time for Friday is still open for discussion. If you have a preference, please comment. Saturday we will break the record. With the Lapham Peak Colorama run at 10:30am Saturday the probable swim time for Saturday is 2pm. ...of course if you have a preference, please comment.

Monday, September 27, 2010

No Sun Swim

Next Swim: Tuesday 5:30PM

Last Swim: Monday 6AM
Water Temp: 52
Waves: calm
Water Clarity: cloudy?
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n

Except for a few clouds along the southeastern horizon the skies were clear. The air was crisp with a temp inching ever so closely towards the 50 degree mark. The nearly full moon combined with an imminent sun rise to provided the only illumination for this morning's swim. Ahh...the joys of an early fall morning swim in the lake. Definitely a different but very serene experience.

The sun actually didn't rise this morning until Diablo and I had completed our garage and back swim from Klode's south beach. The moon and bright eastern horizon provided plenty of light to log today's swim.

The toughest part of our swim this morning wasn't actually the swim or the water conditions...but rather the cooler air temp that made your toes tingle upon exiting the water and actually make you contemplate re-entering the 52 degree water to warm up.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Captain & The Patriarch a la Plage

Check it out!!! The Patriarch & Capt'ns first video...a little 2010 swim year in review. :)

(This video is brought to you compliments of the creative mind of "Kahuna")

Diablo's Holy Suit

Next Swim: Monday 6AM

Last Swims: Saturday & Sunday @ Noon
Water Temp: 54 both days
Waves: Saturday - frequent 1-3ft / Sunday - slow rolling 2-3ft
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: Saturday - Diablo, Gumdrop, Capt'n / Sunday - Diablo, Capt'n

The big question these days...what will last longer, our consecutive day swim streak or Diablo's Holey wetsuit? It's got a lot of holes but does it have more than Swiss cheese? Where's Blondie when you need her? ...for that matter...where is everyone? Slip-n-slip? Ele? Oh where-o-where is The Patriarch?

Yes, indeed...I've got a lot of questions circulating in my head these days. What I do know for sure is swimming in big waves is fun. So will we see any of the Ginormous waves we saw last year? You know...those 5-8 footers that totally freak you out from shore as they thunder into the rock piles but are so fun to play / swim in that you don't want to leave the water regardless of how cold it is.

The waves the past few days have been fun...I kind of liken them to mini launch pads as you can occasionally launch yourself over them if you're observant enough to watch for them while you swim. Hopefully they'll stick around for a few days...better yet, hopefully they double /triple in size in addition to sticking wouldn't that be cool?

Friday, September 24, 2010

AM Harvest Moon Swim

Next Swims: Saturday & Sunday @ Noon

Last Swim: Friday 9/24 6AM
Water Temp: 56.7
Waves: current pushing from south
Water Clarity: cloudy near shore / clear beyond sandbars
Crew: Diablo, Kahuna, Beth, Capt'n

Despite a big wind with gusts in excess of 30mph overnight the conditions Friday morning were rather pleasant. The bay and surrounding bluff provided a nice retreat from the steady winds which would have surely made for rough seas. Instead we had but a modest current from the south and a chilly water temp of 56 degrees to deal with this morning.

The harvest moon did manage to peak out from behind the clouds in the western sky ever so briefly just before we walked the plank this morning spurring some debate on whether this morning's swim should be considered the official Harvest Moon Swim.

Of notable interest this morning, the Lady of Lake was apparently busy over night doing some house keeping along Klode's south beach. Gone is the 10ft wide stretch of rocks and pebbles that lined the southern shore. Now a sandy and very gradual descent can be made by those walking the plank from south beach.

With the current pushing from the south we decided to change things up a bit this morning. Rather than swim north we journeyed south almost to the south side down spout before returning.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harvest Moon Skin Swim

Next Swim: Friday 9/24 6AM

Last Swim: Thursday 9/23 6:30PM
Water Temp: 60+ (62?)
Waves: slight chop from the south
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: Gumdrop, Crash, Capt'n

Well, the Harvest Moon may have been a no show...but the Lady of the Lake and Mother Nature certainly did their parts to make this evening's swim a very pleasant experience. Arguably this evening's water was more than likely the warmest for the month at Klode. Unfortunately the Patriarch-o-meter was not present to record an official temperature but my unofficial toe test definitely placed this evening's water temp warmer then this morning's 58. An air temp on the plus side of 80 and a very tropical breeze from the south also helped to convince me that a skin swim would be manageable this evening. For Gumdrop though, going skin this evening was never in doubt as he didn't even bring a wetsuit to the beach.

This evening's swim consisted of a vigorous and quick swim north just beyond the sewer pipe. When we realized the water was not nearly as cold as we first thought we decide to take a more leisurely swim back....although, truth be told, a strong current from the south may also have had something to do with the extended duration of our swim back. Regardless, we still spent a considerable amount of time in the water just beyond Klode's southeast rock pile howling at the clouds and hoping the Harvest Moon would grace us with a peak-a-boo or two from behind the clouds. No luck though so we completed our swim journey by continuing our swim down to Klode's south beach before climbing back ashore.

Full Moon Tonight (9/23) at 6:32pm

Next Swim: Thursday 9/23 6:15PM? & Friday 9/24 6AM

Last Swims: Wednesday 9/22 6AM & Thursday 9/23 6AM
Water Temp: 54.5 (Wed) & 57.8 (Thurs)
Waves: occasional 1ft Wed & frequent building 1-3ft Thurs. am
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n

Anyone interested in attempting a full moon swim this evening? With the forecast currently calling for possible storms this evening seeing the moon may actually be a bit iffy....but at least the water temps are on the rise. A balmy 58 degrees this morning and with today's high temps forecasted to be in the mid 80's the water temp may actually rise even more! :)

Please post a comment if you're interested in a full moon swim this evening....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Keeping the streak alive...barely

Next Swim: Wednesday 9/22 6AM

Last Swim: Tuesday 9/21 5:30PM
Water Temp: 55.8
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: clear
Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Capt'n

Of course this blog post pales in comparison to the most excellent news found in the last post...The Patriarch is now a GRAND PAPPY....Congrats to The Patriarch!!!

Well, it may have been a bit too close for comfort but this evening's crew managed to get 'er done. With the rumble of thunder approaching we knew we had little time to dilly dally if we were to keep our streak of 121 consecutive days of swimming alive...although we still found sufficient time to take a precise water temp with our ever trusty Patriarch-o-meter.

The balmy water temps this evening made it very tempting to log a longer fact Gumdrop swam skin and Diablo and I actually had decided to extend this evenings swim beyond our north sewer pipe and back swim until Mother Nature sent a shot across the western sky which sent us rushing for the shore. (...I don't think I've ever seen Diablo swim so fast...)

Our consecutive day swim streak now stands at 122 days and counting....which coincidentally is more than the Killepitsch Shot Counter (120). The record number of swim days for a year currently stands at 132. At our current pace we will tie the record on October 1st and break the record on Saturday October 2nd....

A Swimmer is Born

I am extremely pleased to announce the arrival of my new granddaughter, Ava. Born September 20th, 10:25AM, 7 lbs 4oz, everyone doing well.

Return to Summer Swim Tuesday Evening

Next Swims: Tuesday 9/21 5PM & Wednesday 9/22 6AM

Last Swims: Sunday 9/19 11AM & Monday 9/20 6AM
Water Temp: 51.9 Sunday & 53.2 Monday
Waves: Frequent 1-2ft Rollers
Water Clarity: clear
Crews: Diablo, Capt'n

With the air temps forecasted to climb into the 80s Tuesday we've declared Tuesday evening's 5PM swim to be our "Return to Summer Swim". While it's always difficult to predict the water temps, Monday's east breeze combined with Tuesday's warm air temps make it likely that we'll see at least a moderate warm up of water temps into the mid-to-upper 50's. If there's enough interest, perhaps we can celebrate our Return to Summer Swim at our favorite Pizza Kitchen following the swim? ....Interested? Please comment.

Sunday we logged swim day number 120 for the year. A slight chop both Sunday and Monday made for fun swims...with the roll of the water remaining in your bones even after you returned to shore. Due to time constraints, swims both days went from Klode's southeast beach up to the Garage and back. ...although we did find time to celebrate the swims with a refreshing strip & dip viking swim. :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Getting Acclimated

Next Swims: Sunday 9/19 11AM

Last Swim: Saturday 9/18 1PM
Water Temp: 52.7
Waves: Occasional One Foot Roller
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: Diablo, Capt'n

I remember the first time I swam in 52 degree water. I lasted only a couple of minutes and swore at the time if was the stupidest thing I'd ever attempted as I crawled out of the water with frozen hands, feet and slight case of brain freeze.

Now I don't even contemplate putting on socks when the water temp is 52. The initial shock of the cold water against the hands and face seem now to last for just a few strokes.

Today Diablo and I logged a Cedar Grove and back swim. A mysterious chop to the water could be felt inside the outer most sandbar. To the eye the water appeared to be calm but while swimming you would frequently feel the slap of waves challenging your swim stroke.

Tomorrow is swim day number 120. According to our blog posts from last year we logged 132 swim days. At our current pace we will log swim day number 132 on October 1st...a whole 2 months ahead of last year.

Cooling Off Again

Next Swims: Saturday 9/18 1PM, Sunday 9/19 11AM

Last Swim: Friday 9/17 6AM
Water Temp: 49
Waves: One Foot
Water Clarity: cloudy
Crew: Diablo, Cap'n

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Four Letter Word Morning

Next Swim: 6AM Friday 9/16 Klode

Last Swim: Thursday, 9/15, 6AM
Water Temp: 52
Waves: Two Foot Swellings, building
Water Clarity: lousy, all stirred up
Crew: Diablo, Cap'n, Beth, Patriarch

S**T! I overslept. F**K! I forgot to make the coffee last night. P**S! It's cold and dark outside.

S**T! I'm late. But if I'm lucky maybe those guys are already in the water and I can make up some BS story and get out of climbing into a damp cold wetsuit and even colder water. F**k! They're waiting for me. They say won't swim without me. P**S! Gotta swim.

S**T! F**K! P**S! The water is really really really cold. Man up, weenie. Painful at first, but once the face and hands go numb, what's difference?

Back on shore. Sun coming up. Beautiful morning. Glad I did it. What was I whining about?Great start to the day. Happy to be alive.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Next Swim: Thursday 9/16, 6AM, Klode

Last Swims: Tue 6PM, Wed 6AM
Water Temps: 56 Tuesday evening, 53 Wednesday morning
Waves: Small swells
Water Clarity: a little cloudy
Tuesday Crew: Diablo, Cap'n, Kahuna, Patriarch
Wednesday: Diablo, Cap'n, Lane, Patriarch

The lakeshore is exceptionally beautiful this time of year, especially at sunrise and sunset. The leaves on the lake bluff are beginning to change. Reds, yellows, and greens are reflected in the water, swirled with magentas, pinks, purples, and blues of the sky, the clouds, and rising and setting sun. It pulls me in, seduces me.

But of course, as any man who has been seduced by a beautiful woman knows, there's a price to pay for accepting her embrace. So what. Numb hands and feet are a small price to pay for the love of a beautiful woman.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Warming Trend

Next Swim: Tuesday 9/14, 6:00PM

Last Swims: Sunday 1PM & Monday 5:30PM
Water Temp: low 50's Sunday, 57-59 on Monday
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Good
Sunday - Diablo
Monday: Diablo & Capt'n (with special Guest The Patriarch)

Ahoy mates! It appears our luck has changed a bit since last week. Upon returning from my adventures in Madison I was very pleasantly surprised to find out today that the water temps have climbed into the upper 50's!! After more than a week of upper 40 to low 50 water temps I was about ready to concede that the Lady of the Lake was slowly beginning her slumber into winter hibernation.

In addition to the good news on the water temps I am also happy to report that our consecutive day swim streak is still in tact thanks to Diablo logging a solo rockpile and back swim Sunday. To continue our streak Diablo and I logged a leisurely garage and back swim while The Patriarch double, triple and quadruple checked the water temps to confirm that the water temps have indeed climbed into the upper 50's.

Tomorrow we will return at 6pm to log another swim. Perhaps following tomorrow's swim we can venture out to our traditional pizza place to swap stories about our most excellent weekend adventures? Interested? Please post a comment.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Big Shoulders Report

Next Swim: Today, Sunday 9/12, 1PM

Last Swim: Big Shoulders, Saturday 9/11, Ohio Street Beach, Chicago
Water Temp: 62
Waves: Two Foot, Very Choppy
Crew: Diablo, Patriarch

One always hopes for good conditions on the big day, sunny with warm calm water. But of course those days are rare on the Lake Michigan shore. The conditions for Big Shoulders were more typical: cool, windy, drizzly, the tops of skyscrapers hidden in fog, cold murky water stirred into a very choppy froth. Adding to the gloom, my aching back was making me doubt I should even attempt to swim.

But then I caught something of a break. They announced that the water temperature was only 62 (I believe the coldest ever for a Big Shoulders), and that they would allow swimmers to change to the wetsuit division. As much as we would prefer to swim without wetsuits, Diablo and I quickly switched, as we knew from experience that swimming at 62 for a short time is OK, but after an hour or more we'd be colder than a can of beer in an ice bucket. Also, wearing a wetsuit gave me confidence because I figured that if my back starting acting up during up during the swim, at least the wetsuit would keep me afloat.

We weren't the only ones who switched, many others also did. Typically few swimmers wear wetsuits in Big Shoulders, but they predominated this year. Still, many swam without a wetsuit. The result was predictable, swimmers not finishing the race, dropping out after one loop, some even not even finishing a loop, climbing the ladders on the breakwall that parallels the final leg. On the beach there were many shivering swimmers who needed help to get out of their swimsuits and into warm clothes, and a few ended up in the medical tent.

Even so, I was amazed at the number of "skin" swimmers who completed the whole 5K, and there were even a few who seemed completely unaffected by the cold water, walking around afterwards in their swimsuits like nothing, and remember it was cool, windy and raining. I can't figure out how they do, I find them amazing.

As for me, I managed to complete the race (I was in the 2.5K race), even though my back was constantly complaining. I had to take it easy, but I still enjoyed it. I don't know my time but I'm sure it was very slow. But being as how it was such a tough day, I still felt like just finishing was an accomplishment.

Because of the miserable weather we didn't hang around on the beach, instead we took off our suits, climbed into three or four layers of warm dry clothes, and headed for hot coffee, omelets and hash browns.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Big Weekend Ahead

Next Swim: Thursday 9/9, 5:00PM

Last Swims: Tue & Wed 5:45AM
Water Temp: 50 on Tuesday, 47 on Wednesday
Waves: Small Swells
Water Clarity: Good
Crew: Cap'n & Diablo

Cap'n & Diablo are determined to extend our streak of swim days, which currently stands at 109. However they will swim at 5PM on Thursday, instead of Thursday morning, in the hope that the water will be a bit warmer in the afternoon sun.

The Big Weekend is almost here! Good luck to all Big Shoulders and Iron Man participants and volunteers!

The big difference between the Big Shoulders and Ironman swims is that in Big Shoulders most people don't wear wetsuits (you can wear one, but you don't "count" in the race), whereas in Ironman most people do wear wetsuits. That's why it's so iron(man)ic, that the big worry in Big Shoulders is that Lake Michigan is too cold, so swimmers could be forced into wetsuits if they want to stay warm, whereas in Ironman, Lake Monona could be too warm, forcing triathletes out of their wetsuits if they want to be competitive. Perhaps the two races should trade venues.

Monday, September 6, 2010

President Obama Greets Us On the Beach

Next Swims: Tue & Wed, Sept 7&8, 5:45AM

Last Swims: Sun & Labor Day, Sept 5&6, 1PM
Water Temp: 50
Waves: 1 foot Saturday, 3 ft Monday
Water Clarity: Stirred Up from heavy wave action
Crew: Gumdrop, Diablo, Cap'n, and Blondie & Brad played in the big waves near shore.

I knew the President was coming to town, but I did not expect him to greet us. When we arrived on the beach, Air Force One came in over the lake, performed a broad sweeping turn over the bay, and then flew low directly over us, heading for the airport. We waved and I swear we could see him waving back. And I'll bet I know what he was thinking: he'd much rather grab his boogie board and join us playing in the waves.

Too bad he didn't stop, he missed a fun cookout after the swim. Next time, Pres, you're always welcome. We'll keep the Killepitsch on ice for you.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hard Core

Next Swims: Sunday & Labor Day 1PM

Following Sunday's swim we will toast Capn's birthday (in the previous post I said his birthday was Saturday, but I was mistaken, it is Sunday)

Following the Labor Day swim there will be a cookout at my place (regardless of the weather or the water conditions), all are welcome, bring family and friends.

Last Swim: Saturday 1PM Klode
Water Temp: 50
Waves: One Foot Swells
Water Clarity: Excellent
Crew: Seven came to the beach, but only two braved the cold: Cap'n & Diablo

It's tough out there. Fifty miserable degrees. But Cap'n was determined to keep the streak going, and so he pushed and dragged Diablo into the water.

Padre is apprehensive that the swim season could be over. It's possible, but I'm not convinced. There is still plenty of warm weather, and the water temps could go up as quickly as they went down. But even if the season really is over, it's been a great run, with 105 straight days of swimming. So, let's celebrate a great season, come to my place on Monday after the swim for a cookout. Even if we don't swim we can still celebrate.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Streak Continues!

Next Swims: Friday 9/3 5:45AM
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, 1:00PM
Saturday Cap'n invites all to join him for a post-swim birthday toast
Sunday we will have a cookout after the swim if there is interest

Last Swims: Wed 4PM, Thur 5:45AM
Water Temp: Wed afternoon 55, Thursday morning 52
Waves: Calm
Water Clarity: Excellent
Wednesday Afternoon Crew: Diablo, Gumdrop, Cap'n, Dave
Thursday Morning Crew: Cap'n, Diablo, Beth, Lane

The water's too cold for yours truly, but a few brave swimmers refuse to quit. They say things like, "once you're numb it doesn't matter anymore". And "it's fun.......REALLY". And "my fingers don't work anymore".

The strong offshore winds predicted for the weekend would seem to portend a continuation of cold water on this side of the lake. But of course, nothing is predictable when it comes to the Lady. We'll just have to show up and see what she offers.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Streak In Danger!! Penguins & Polar Bears Needed!

Next Swim: 4PM today 9/1 Klode

Gumdrop! James! And anyone else who is willing to brave cold water. We need your help! Our streak of 101 consecutive days of swimming is in danger. The water temperature has fallen another two degrees to 50. So we decided bag this morning's swim and try again at 4PM.

This was the most depressing morning ever on the beach. Dark, foggy, and rainy, and no Marcella & Crew to inspire us with a 21 bun salute. We were so depressed the discussion turned to whether we'd rather plunge into cold water, or get a prostate exam.