Friday, June 8, 2012

GSLOW 8 mile event

Goody, Gilles, myself, Josh, Sabrina, Harrison, Cole,
Cindy, Nicole, Roxy, Derek, and Michele at the Old
Spaghetti Factory for Dinner on Thursday.
I have so much catch-up to do!  With the forecast getting closer to actually occurring, I was getting more panicked.  The forecast showed some serious wind out on the lake, and a westerly wind too with gusts up to 30mph.  Dave Shearer, the harbormaster at GSL Marina was concerned and said we may have to cancel.  I scrambled because this was Thursday morning, and people were already arriving on airplanes, and from long drives.

So it was proposed by someone that we consider doing it on Friday, which was forecasted with more favorable conditions, although less than perfect.  We made some calls, and while we couldn't get everyone to switch to Friday, we got 7 swimmers who could.  That's a much better field of swimmers than zero, with bad weather.

8 Mile swimmers, and their paddlers, with Antelope Island
in the background.
Thursday evening we got together at the Old Spaghetti Factory at Trolley Square and it was so much fun getting to know everyone and to learn about their swimming circles, and swap stories.  I picked up Gilles Chalandon from the airport and took him immediately to the marina.  I was really struggling with the idea of having the 8 mile event cancelled.  Chad and Josh met us at the Marina and we discussed the idea of moving the 8 mile event to Friday.  Chad couldn't move to Friday and mentioned that he felt confident going Saturday anyway.  So I discussed the idea with Dave Shearer and he radioed Antelope Island and they were OK with us going Friday.  So we had a plan!  The out of towners were no longer restricted to doing just the one mile!

Swimming friends, Roxy, Madhuri, and Gilles
On Saturday morning, we met at the Marina at 7am and got everyone loaded up in the two vehicles and the kayaks in Chad's trailer, and headed for Antelope Island.  The bugs this year on the island were much less in number.  The hike from the end of the dirt road down to the waters edge, again was about 100 yards over rocky terrain, and then mud.  Several inches of it.  I was laughing when I heard all the moans and even screams when they felt the mud between their toes.

We took a group picture before starting into the water and then slowly made our way to a point where everyone was at a reasonable depth to start swimming.  We lined everyone up, did a count down and everyone began there swim.  I paddled for Cindy Cortes.  Right from the start Gilles took off, followed by Goody, Kim and Michelle.  The wind was present, but not so bad that it was much of an issue.

Life is muddy, move on!
As the race progressed, the waves also grew.  There were dozens of waves that spilled over inside the kayak I was using.  I used Josh's kayak that is NOT a sit on top kayak.  So water was building up.  So much that the bag that had Cindy's phone and car keys took on water.  I realized it a little too late and her phone had died.  I was ticked off at that!  I will never use a sit inside kayak again.  They suck.  About 90 minutes into the swim, I noticed Jim was right behind us with Madhuri in the front of the kayak.  I guess that the conditions were just too much.  She looked fine and they appeared to not be in a terrible hurry to get out.  I feel bad for anyone who aborts a race for any reason.
Everyone is ready to go!

Cindy was very pleasant to paddle for.  
I realized that I had used plenty of sunscreen on my face, shoulders, neck and arms, but none on my legs and they were getting burned.  Cindy was making decent progress considering the buildup of waves.  She was averaging a little more than a mile every 30 minutes.  By four miles, she slowed down just a little, but not dramatically.  She was still making good progress.  I could make out Black Rock way in the distance even from mile 2.  I knew where on the mountain to look for it, and as we got closer, what I perceived as Black Rock, definitely came into shape.

The thing I loved most about paddling for Cindy, was that she is NOT a whiner.  She didn't complain once about how tired she was, or how bad her shoulders hurt, or how cold it was.  I loved that.  I made sure to time her feedings right so that when it was time to stop, I was right there next to her with a bottle that was already opened for a quick feed.  Near the end of the race, we no longer timed the feeds, but she'd stop for a stretch or to breathe, and I asked her if she wanted a feed since it was only a few minutes away anyway.

When we got to mile 7 she admitted that she had never swam this far before.  Which was a shock to me.  That's quite brave to have your longest swim be in the Great Salt Lake.  (But now that I think about it, my longest swim too is in the GSL).  We then stopped at 7.5 miles, 8 miles, and then finished up at Black Rock.  She was only a couple minutes behind Roxy.

Cindy spent the most time in the salt
water which surely deserves an award
in itself.
My favorite part is reminiscing with the swimmers afterwards.  We gave out the awards.

First Place (Male): Gilles Chalandon
First Place (Female): Kim Patterson
Strongest Saline Stamina: Cindy Cortes (Movie of Redemption)
Most Pickled Tongue: Roxane Phifer

We got everyone back to the Marina, and we packed up for another day tomorrow....

Pickled tongues.  Cindy and Roxy battled it out for the worse
pickled tongue.

More pictures of today's event can be found on the facebook page.

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