Monday, June 22, 2009

San Francisco Six Hour

I'm back home after my week in San Francisco. It was a great week of training in open ocean water, right about 60 degrees all week. I successfully completed my six hour official qualifying swim without any problems, covering about 12 1/2 miles. The 60 degree water seemed fine. I remember jumping in my pool three months ago at 64 degrees, literally just in and out, and thought it was torture. Now, six hours at 60 degrees was no problem - it's amazing what acclimation can do for you.

That six hour swim was in "the Cove" (above) at the north end of the San Francisco peninsula, just west of Fisherman's Wharf. The Cove is only partially enclosed, and you are still exposed to tide currents and choppy water, which means that it was excellent training for the Channel. While there, I also did a two hour swim in San Francisco Bay proper, with a kayak escort, big swells and serious chop. I nearly swam under the Golden Gate Bridge (below), so that was pretty cool.

I was a little on edge in the water at first. You really can't see more than three feet in front of you, and every once in a while a jellyfish suddenly appears in front you - yikes. They are pretty creepy - brown and about 10-12 inches around with 2-3 foot tentacles. I didn't actually touch one or get stung, but had to rear up and dodge several of them. Then it was hard to relax for a long time, so they are a pain. The thing that made me most uncomfortable in the water was seeing shadowy things below me without knowing what they were. It took me about three hours in the water to realize that the shadowy thing below me shadow. I was being creeped out by my own shadow: classic. After I figured that out, I felt a lot more comfortable, until I dodged the next jellyfish. Anyway...there are jellyfish in the English Channel too, so it was good experience! Here's an article about the jellies in the San Francisco Bay.

I was a guest all week with the Dolphin Swim Club and South End Rowing Club, two clubs right on the Cove. Basically they are open water swimming clubs and these people swim all year round - no wetsuits. The water gets down to 48-49 in February, so they are amazing. Sixty degrees for them in balmy. Thanks to Suzie Dods and Mike Tschantz-Hahn for their great hospitality!

Okay, now some more pictures. Peace, Mike

Me, taking in some calories during the swim (above).

The Dolphin Club (above)

Swimming in the Cove (above)

See, it really was San Francisco! (above)


debbie said...

I continue to be in AWE of you Mike! Keep it up and we'll all pray for good weather on your swim day.

The difference of swimming in a chlorinated pool with a black line on the bottom is huge! I always get spooked with the dark green bottom of a natural body of water. I usually close my eyes and don't look in the water and open them when I turn my head to breath.


Mike Solberg said...

Thanks Debbie. Just keep swimming is right!

And try not be spooked by your own shadow.